spongefeature

Box Office Brasserie:
Movie News For Movie Lovers

You’d think it was a huge summer holiday weekend when you hear that three movies that cost upwards (and beyond) $100M were debuting in theaters. Sadly, as the groundhog recently confirmed, winter is still here and only one of the new flicks is expected to topple the reign of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

Yes, box office domination arrives courtesy of a cute yellow sponge and a pink starfish as the SpongeBob sequel, “SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water,” will likely soak up around $35M this weekend. This time around Paramount chucks traditional animation and goes with standard 3D CGI…and that will make all the difference, especially overseas.

For those keeping track, the original opened with $32M a decade ago and absorbed $140M worldwide. And while it’s a bit odd that Nickelodeon waited this long to churn out a sequel the franchise is still one of the top programs on Nick, and honestly still one of the funniest cartoons on the boob tube. If this hits big, expect another big screen adventure sooner than later.

Let’s face it everyone loves a good disaster story. Legendary Pictures—the production company behind both “Seventh Son” and The Wachowski’s “Jupiter Ascending”—is bracing for a double-whammy this weekend as both big-budget 3D adventures look to misfire in glorious style.

How did this happen? Well, both flicks have been pushed around the release calendar multiple times and finally landed on the exact same date. Call it Hollywood gamesmanship. Or leggo my ego. Legendary Pictures has been housed by Warner Bros. for quite some time, until it recently set up shop at Universal and with it came the beleaguered “Seventh Son.”

Jeff Bridges stars, but is in “full-on Nicolas Cage mode” as one of my studio friends recently pointed out. Not only has Bridges been in a string of really questionable flicks, but all his characters recently seem to be classifiable as Mystical Homeless Man. Even in recent commercials, this is his go-to shtick.

I can watch Bridges riff on The Dude all the time, but just make “The Big Lebowski” a Netflix series already. Or maybe just follow around Bridges as he shops at Ralphs and goes bowling. I’d definitely tune in for that.

“Seventh Son” looks like the big loser of the bunch, as it’ll probably be lucky to snag $10M this weekend. For a film that cost, at minimum, $90M, that’s pretty disastrous. The upside? It’s already made $82M overseas. Don’t hold your breathe for “Eighth Son,” though.

International grosses will have to step up to save The Wachowski Starship’s latest, too, as “Jupiter Ascending” will likely fly off with just under $20M. That’s typical for sci-fi misfires, however the Channing Tatum/Mila Kunis starrer will have to score really, really big in foreign markets as this arrives with a $175M pricetag.

So how do the Wachowskis keep getting big-budget sci-fi flicks made? Simple, “The Matrix” and its sequels have grossed $1.6B worldwide. So even though “Speed Racer” and “Cloud Atlas” were both box office busts, there is always that chance of reclaiming the red pill and opening up new universes. Just not this time. Would love to see what they could do with a Star Wars one-off, though. Their visual genius would do wonders for the Mouse House’s universe.

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water – $37M
  2. American Sniper – $18M
  3. Jupiter Ascending – $16M
  4. Seventh Son – $7M
  5. Paddington – $6M

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GRADE A PRIME BEEFCAKE CUT OF THE WEEK: WB’s “Magic Mike XXL” (July 1, 2015)

Uh. Yeah. So, apparently it’s already time to break those banana hammocks out of winter storage. Warner’s isn’t being very coy about what they’re selling this time around. Thankfully, Matthew McConaughey had the good senses to bow out this go-round, Channing Tatum, on the other hand, is just hoping you forget “Jupiter Ascending.” I’ve only seen his abs and his hip thrusts, but early indication is: he succeeds. Let’s just call the next one XXX, shall we?

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CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Fox’s “Poltergeist” (July 24, 2015)

Yes, the original still holds up. Yes, the dead always rise up when you commit sacrilege. But with Sam Rockwell starring and Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) at the helm… I’m holding out that this does at least justice to the original. Truth is, Zelda Rubinstein was so creepy, no amount of VFX can match her performance.

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CHINCY CUT OF THE WEEK: Sony’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” (April 17, 2015)

Seriously, where is North Korea when you really need them?!?

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CLASSIC CUT OF THE WEEK: “Rocky IV”

As a 12-year old, I hated and feared the Russians, not because I watched Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, but because…Drago. Such a commie bastard! This is propaganda at its best!

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ROCKY RETURNS TO THE RING THIS THANKSGIVING

Turn your hearing aids up. “Rocky 7” is happening. Like right now. Ding. Ding. Warner’s just added “Creed” to the release calendar which follows Rocky Balboa as a trainer for the grandson of his arch-nemesis from the first two films, Apollo Creed. The film hits theaters November 22, 2015 and is directed by wunderkind, Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”).

Don’t call it a comeback, cuz this is Sly Stallone’s career as he approaches 70.  He also has “Expendables 4” and “Rambo: Last Blood” in the works. Really? Last? Ha. With Viagra and Depends…this man can never be stopped!

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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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SpongeBob Courtesy of Paramount Pictures; Poster Design by BLT Communications