maleficent

Box Office Brasserie:
Movie News For Movie Lovers

We’re already a month into the hot summer  season and each weekend we’ve had a new flick melt multiplexes with a #1 debut. Now, an optimist might discuss the hotly anticipated titles we’ve had hitting theaters week-in and week-out, while the pessimist would snark about the fact that there simply isn’t any staying power in the motion picture industry. In a way, they’re both right.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Neighbors” and “Godzilla” have all brought the box office heat opening weekend, and have all substantially cooled off  in their sophomore campaigns dropping  -61%, -49% and -66% respectively.

If “X-Men: Days of Future Past” behaves like previous incarnations of the franchise, we’re looking at a drop of around 60-65%, which would have the latest X-Men film come in somewhere around $35M. That all but assures “Maleficent” or even “A Million Ways to Die in the West” snagging the top spot, unless both are somehow epic failures. Don’t see that happening.

“Maleficent” probably has the best chance of keeping the summer streak alive, considering Disney knows how to market fairy tales better than anyone in the business. And while it may not be getting the love and hype a Pixar film arrives with, don’t bet against the Magic Kingdom or Angelina Jolie in beast mode! Whips, horns and tight leather…oh my!

Families alone should propel Disney’s $180M Sleeping Beauty adaptation to upwards of $60M+ which would see it fall somewhere between “Snow White & the Huntsman” ($56M) and “Oz: The Great and Powerful” ( $79M), but nowhere near “Alice in Wonderland,” which landed with $116M back in 2010.

How can you call a guy who regularly performs all the voices on “The Family Guy,” vain? Well, when he dares studios to say no to casting himself in the lead opposite Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson. Seth MacFarlane has jumped the Sharknado with “A Million Days to Die in the West,” but his legions of fans should be enough  to leverage a decent debut before it leaves theaters in a pine box next weekend.

Anything over $25M+ would be a success in the dusty frontierlands of wild west comedy, which has a spotty track record at best.  Saddles won’t be blazing, but a good fart joke can go a long way to appease everyone’s inner twelve-year-old.  Truth is, I haven’t been this excited to see a big, dumb movie since “BASEketball.”

While Universal certainly won’t see another “Ted” this go-round, they only spent $40M, which is a solid bet.  Hey, there’s  a reason this was greenlit and, soon after, “Ted 2” was on the release calendar. Yes, folks, a well-placed payola is still part of Hollywood’s charm…and that’s not lost on MacFarlane.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1. MALEFICENT – $67M

2. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST – $34M

3. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST – $28M

4. GODZILLA – $15M

5. BLENDED – $8M

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SPLICE OF LIFE: BLURBS, BLIPS, CUTS & CLIPS

STAR WARS UNIVERSE EXPANDS AGAIN

J.J. Abrams has just started shooting “Episode VII” but Disney couldn’t wait to announce their next film, “Untitled Star Wars,” which is now set for December 16, 2016, and will be the first stand-alone episode within the franchise.

The only detail locked down is that  “Godzilla” director, Gareth Edwards, will be at the helm. No further plot machinations have been divulged at this time, but rumors have persisted for months that this will be a Han Solo origin story, or a Boba Fett one-off. Snore-ing!

It would be great if all these whispers were red herrings and the real film was something way more out of left field and much more subversive like following  a group of bounty hunters or anything that propels Star Wars into the future instead of mucking up the past. Look, we all know it happened a long, long time ago…doesn’t mean we have to keep revisiting it.  Didn’t George Lucas make that same mistake?!?!

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EVERYTHING IS STILL SUPER AWESOME

“The Lego Movie” has connected with over $460M worldwide, so Warner’s announcing a sequel was no surprise to anyone. No, the big reveal is the fact that the studio is planning multiple offshoots, with “Ninjago” slipping into theaters September 23, 2016, eight months before the actual LEGO sequel is set to drop.

With the number of product lines LEGO has, once 2016 rolls around, expect WB to issue a new brick-buster every year from here to eternity.  Sadly, the minute you love any movie these days, it not only sequel-izes before your very eyes, it spins-off and offshoots too. Oh well, everything is awesome, right? Right? Tell me it’s all going to be awesome…

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NOTHING SAYS SUMMER LIKE ‘SAUSAGE PARTY’

At least that’s what Seth Rogen and Sony are hoping for as they plan to whip out a whole new animated franchise on June 3, 2106 with the arrival of “Sausage Party.” As the title indicates, this is a raunchy “adult” cartoon that follows a wayward wiener as he searches through the supermarket to get back to his aisle before the 4th of July sale.

No, this isn’t a FunnyorDie skit, this is real folks.  Rogen, writing partner Evan Goldberg and Jonah Hill came up with the story, likely while letting it all hang out at their own sausage party one night, and will feature the vocal stylings of Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Michael Cera, James Franco, Hill, Craig Robinson, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd and Danny McBride. Get your buns ready for serious action!

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CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” (July 25, 2014)

Like clockwork for over thirty years, there’s always another Woody Allen film, and in the wake of what will surely be massive blockbuster fatigue over the dog days of summer, Sony Classics drops this darling little dandy just in the nick of time. Ah, sweet relief.

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CHOICE BLIP OF THE WEEK: Disney’s “Big Hero 6” (Nov. 7, 2014)

Disney’s take on Japanimation. Finally. Looks like a big, big win.

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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 Disney; Poster Design by Cold Open