Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers
It was a truly bummer summer by Hollywood standards in 2016, as the North American box office sold 518M tickets—the second lowest on record in the last 24 years. No matter how the media spins this, it’s an issue that needs serious attention, as the lowest on record was 2014, meaning we’re thick in the decline still.
There’s a reason sequels are sputtering and streaming cinema is the talk of the town, folks.
But before we get into a full-on fall funk, let’s embrace the positive and let go of the negative. Pop this pill—there are no sequels opening this weekend. That’s certainly something to celebrate, right?
Especially after the sequel slump that not only wiped out franchises like “Alice in Wonderland,” “Ghostbusters,” “Independence Day,” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” but led to a full tilt popcorn push-back by audiences…who finally seemed to have their fill of hastily-made continuing sagas.
Enter: Tom Hanks. While he might not be the savior of cinema, he is Hollywood royalty (aka, a box office titan), and when showcased in the right role, like a real-life airline pilot hero Chesley Sullenberger in Warner’s “Sully,” he still commands attention.
Clint Eastwood is at the helm of Hanks’ latest, who returns to the bio-drama hot off the heels of the biggest hit of his directing career with “American Sniper.” Might as well call “Sully” “American Hero” as the media push is directing the campaign in that direction.
That said, the $60M, PG-13 film is facing stiff competition—no, not the other three films debuting in wide release—but the beginning of the NFL football season and NCAA football now in full swing.
Landing in 3,350+ theaters, “Sully” should float to the top of the box office heap with around $25M, as similarly themed films like Robert Zemekis’ “Flight” and Hanks’ own “Captain Phillips” bowed with $24M and $25M respectively.
Even though “Sully” is supported by a great cast, featuring Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney, take a look at the poster and you’ll see Hanks is the captain of this ship. Star power certainly isn’t what it used to be, but even a silver fox like Hanks is worthy of being poster-ized.
So, do any of the other flicks have a fighting chance this weekend? Actually, Sony’s “When the Bough Breaks” could lead the box office charge if “Sully” flies off course a bit, and if history is any indication, especially when you consider the under-served female African American audience.
The last couple years have been kind to Screen Gem’s urban thrillers—2014’s “No Good Deed” and last year’s “The Perfect Guy” both debuted in early September with $24M and $25M.
In 2,200+ theaters, expect around $20M, even though the studios themselves are predicting just $10M-$12M—easily a hit no matter what, as it cost just $10M to produce.
Get used to disappointment. Relatively Media returns after their scandalous bankruptcy with “The Disappointments Room” starring Kate Beckinsale and directed by DJ Caruso.
While horror has been hot this summer, the long-delayed, $15M flick arrives with hardly any marketing support and will almost certainly will land outside the Top 5 as it scared up a release of only 1,500+ theaters. $5M if they’re lucky, but probably more like $3M.
Lionsgate rounds out the foursome of fall flavors with “The Wild Life,” an animated take on the adventures of Christopher Columbus. Not to worry parents, this isn’t another “Sausage Party” take on traditional toons; this is squarely a cookie-cutter PG adventure with talking animals.
In 2,200+ theaters and without much support, expect numbers like Lionsgate got back in January with “Norm of the North,” which delivered a lowly debut of $6.8M and $17M total.
#1 Sully – $24M
#2 When the Bough Breaks – $20M
#3 Don’t Breathe – $9M
#4 Suicide Squad – $6M
#5 The Wild Life – $5M
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: HBO’S “Westworld” (Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016)
This reboot was made for walkin’, folks. This is how you do a remake. Great cast including Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, and with Ed Harris taking over Yul Brynner’s gunslinger role. Perfection.
INDIE SLICE OF THE WEEK: IFC’S “Certain Women” (Oct. 14, 2016)
Kelly Reichardt (“Old Joy,” “Wendy & Lucy”) directs Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, and Laura Dern in her latest drama of poetic proportions.