dracula

Box Office Brasserie:
Movie News For Movie Lovers

With four new, very diverse wide releases in theaters this Friday, it’s going to be difficult for any film to topple David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” which along with Warner’s “Annabelle” both over-performed with $37M last weekend.

Will it be Universal’s return to their cabinet of classic monster movies with “Dracula Untold?” Or can Disney capitalize on the family affair that is “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?”

We also have Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall flexing their acting chops in “The Judge” and Lionsgate offers up an adult’s only, erotic-thriller with “Addicted.”

“Dracula Untold” may just be the right film at the right time, and Universal better hope so, as the PG-13 film cost upwards of $70M. That’s a far cry from last week’s “Annabelle” which carried a pricetag of just $6.5M.

Universal is basically resetting the ultimate vampire saga, much like they have done in the past, most recently with “The Wolfman” and “The Mummy” trilogy.  Ultimately this is an attempt to reboot Universal Monsters franchise as this is based on Bram Stoker’s original tome, however with that price tag they need more bite than a $20M opening. Could happen though, as audiences don’t get to see big-budget horror much any more,  especially on IMAX.

On the flip side of horror, Disney dials up some laughs with Steve Carell in the modestly budgeted $28M adaptation of the children’s book by Judith Viorst.  “Alexander” definitely has its moments and is worthy entertainment for families, but that being said, $18M is probably tops for this kind of mild diversion.

And while “The Judge” has seemingly 30 different trailers to try to snare you with, although it’s doubtful it will attract much adult attention as “Gone Girl” has all the momentum in that department right now. The dramedy also runs over two hours which likely won’t help. Looking to land in the middle somewhere with upwards of $15M.

When you’re releasing an adaptation based on the writings of Zane (not her real name), you know you’re hiding something. Lionsgate’s urban-themed, R-rated sexual odyssey is only in 748 theaters, so anything more than $6M would be pretty impressive. Still, there is definitely an audience for this type of material…however it’s probably just waiting for “Fifty Shades of Grey” this Valentine’s Day.

In limited release, Focus Features drops their dramatic thriller “Kill the Messenger” with a host of interesting actors including Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Just sitting in a theater for a couple hours with that cast alone should be interesting enough–definitely worth seeking out as it has a 69% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The one to catch this weekend though is Sony Classic’s “Whiplash,” starring the immensely talented Miles Teller and the always on-point, J.K. Simmons. Made for just $3.3M, the music drama about a talented young jazz drummer was a huge hit at Sundance and may be up for some serious awards this fall.

The R-rated drama, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who arrived on the scene in 2009 with his indie flick “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,” debuts exclusively in six theaters this weekend.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1. Gone Girl – $22M

2. Dracula Untold – $21M

3. Alexander – $17M

4. Annabelle – $16M

5. The Judge – $14M

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CHOICE BLIP OF THE WEEK: Disney’s “Tomorrowland” (May 22, 2015)

Looks pretty cool. Brad Bird directs…should be solid. Yes, there are actual working jet-packs in the future! Sold!

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CHOICE SLIP OF THE WEEK: Universal’s “Stretch” (VOD)

Director Joe Carnahan (“Smokin’ Aces,” “The Grey”) has taken to Twitter and told anyone who tweets that he will personally refund their money if they don’t like his new film, “Stretch.” Problem is, if it’s so good, why isn’t going to theaters?

It used to be on Universal’s release calendar, but now it’s available through Amazon Instant for $14.99 starting now. I’m sure it’s good, his films always are, but if I’ve waited this long, l can probably wait 30 more days and rent it for $1.20, thank you.

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Universal’s “Dracula Untold” 

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Lionsgate’s “Addicted” 

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Disney’s “Alexander” 

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Warner’s “The Judge” 

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Focus Feature’s “Kill the Messenger” 

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Sony Classics’ “Whiplash” 

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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Image Courtesy of  Universal; Poster Design by Empire Design