loftfeature

Box Office Brasserie:
Movie News For Movie Lovers

With the Super Bowl taking over public consciousness, a bit of counter-programming is in effect in movie theaters this weekend, however outside of Paramount’s teen time-travel tale, “Project Almanac,” it’s doubtful any studio execs will be partaking in victory dances. Beastmode at the box office it certainly isn’t, as one of the biggest sports events of the year takes center stage.

Paramount is hoping you think “Project Almanac” is a sequel to “Project X.” The low-budget teen party flick from 2012 (shot in similar found-footage style) opened with $21M and went on to gross $102M worldwide. Doubtful this PG-13 sci-fi flick will match it, but it should score a decent opening of $17M or so–placing it second to “American Sniper” which goes for the three-peat.  Good thing they only spent $12M on it, which should have it in the black in no time.

The interesting thing about movie exhibition–and box office prognostication–is the fact that unless you can book a film in over 2,000+ theaters you don’t usually have a chance in hell to make a sizable mark at cash registers.

Case in point: both Open Road’s “The Loft” and Relativity’s “Black or White” open in less than 2,000 theaters and both look like creative misfires and box office busts.

“The Loft” is actually a remake of a Belgian film of the same title, with the same director, Erik Van Looy. Remember the film, “The Vanishing?” Same thing happened with that remake as the results were not good for the Kiefer Sutherland flick; it opened with $5M on its way to $14M.

Universal scrubbed “The Loft” from its release calendar, as it was previously scheduled for late August last year, and was picked up by Open Road, who has a rocky history of releases. And while it cost just $14M to produce, the R-rated drama that desperately wants you to believe it’s a Hitchcock film, will be lucky to debut with half that amount, and in all honesty will likely flirt with $3M-$4M tops.

While “The Loft’s” Karl Urban and James Marsden aren’t really draws, Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer can at least back up their racial drama, “Black or White,” with acting cred. Problem is, this one seems like a Lifetime Movie, and folks will likely wait to see it when it premieres on that channel…in about a year.

The budget for “Black or White” was a tidy $9M, but it will probably struggle to make that back, especially when you throw in a modest P/A campaign. Hey, I’m a huge Costner fan and even I can’t bring myself to see this…but maybe I’m just saving my Costner crush for “McFarland, USA” next month. Costner…drinking coffee…coaching young boys…and acting gruff in a Disney sports movie. Classic. Not to be missed. I’m serious.

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And with that: Go, HAWKS! Nothing I love more than a sequel!  Seahawks for the repeat, “American Sniper” for the three-peat!

SUPER BOWL ESTIMATE

Seahawks – 34, Patriots – 26

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. American Sniper – $37M
  2. Project Almanac – $17M
  3. Boy Next Door – $7.5M
  4. Paddington $7M
  5. Wedding Ringer – $6M

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GHOSTBUSTERS REBOOT A GO-GO

Who ya gonna call? Call: girls. Yes, it’s Ghostbusts this time around as Sony is finally getting back in the busting business with an all female troop, and that should mean big business for the studio as they’ve set July 22, 2016 as the release date for the redo.

After countless starts and stops with former Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd championing his latest “Ghostbusters 3” script, director Paul Feig brings in his “Bridesmaids” crew–Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy–to headline the new action-comedy that will likely feature cameos from the original crew.

Fun fact: It will have been 32 years since the original came out when the new “Ghostbusters” drops. And while bustin’ makes me feel good…this really just makes me feel old. I only hope Ray Parker Jr. has a remix in him. Or maybe tap Huey Lewis for a duet, since he sued and won copyright issues that were settled out of court as “I Want a New Drug” was basically the same song. Hmmm. “I Want a New Ghostbuster.” Folks, we got it.

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CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Fox’s “Fantastic Four” Reboot (Aug. 7, 2015)

Why so serious? “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is going for the serious stuff…and from the looks of it so is “Fantastic Four.” There’s a reason they’re called comics, folks. Nuff said.

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PRIME CUT OF THE WEEK: Disney’s “Ant-Man” (July 17, 2015)

Finally…a laugh or two. Don’t count this one out. Sure, it won’t do “Guardians of the Galaxy” biz, but it will be a nice Marvel companion piece to “Avengers: Age of Ultron” this summer.

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CHOICE COSTNER CUT OF THE WEEK: Disney’s “McFarland, USA” (Feb. 20, 2015)

Quite simply, if this doesn’t move you to tears, you’ve obviously never been part of a minority cross-country running team or never sipped coffee at the break of dawn imagining what it’s like to be as awesome as Kevin Costner.

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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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“The Loft” Image Courtesy of Open Road; Poster Design  by BLT Communications