With the massive amount of cinematic misfires Hollywood stoked in 2013, it’s only fitting that we should only have to wait a couple weeks into the new year before we have 2014’s first box office bomb.
Yes, the only thing legendary about Lionsgate’s “The Legend of Hercules” will be how quickly its marched out of theaters, as the 3D action pic likely won’t even debut in the Top 5. Opening in 2,100+ arenas, it will be lucky to strong-arm $6M. From hero to absolute zero…like temps in most of Canada and the Midwest.
Director Renny Harlin (“Deep Blue Sea,” “Die Hard 2”) surely made a deal with the devil as he somehow bamboozled investors out of $70M to make the PG-13 film with “Twilight” star Kellan Lutz as the buffed lead. Doubtful Harlin will ever sniff a budget that high again after “The Legend of Hercules” whiffs, especially considering he hasn’t had a box office hit in over a decade.
I mean, does anyone do a background check anymore before they hire someone? “Driven,” “Cutthroat Island,” “Mindhunters,” “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane”–all his, plus most of his recent films aren’t even making it into theaters.
Not to worry though, there is strength in numbers, and no less than four films that have been in exclusive/limited release, and shown a flair for multiplex might, will finally see the light of wide release as “Lone Survivor,” “Her,” “August: Osage County,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” all expand.
Looking to capture the flag is Universal’s real-life war thriller, the R-rated “Lone Survivor,” starring Mark Wahlberg. Just like “Act of Valor” and “Black Hawk Down,” Peter Berg’s film looks to capitalize on jingoism and heroism of recent wars, playing directly to the heartland.
The trailer is actually a pretty impressive piece of propaganda–instead of a straightforward preview of the film, it’s a mix of Berg and the author telling the story behind the making of the film, which seems to have worked well, as this movie arrives with some pretty decent buzz.
“Lone Survivor” debuted exclusively in NY/LA two weeks ago and has been averaging weekend grosses of $40k+ per theater, and while it may not receive any awards heat, it will surely win the battle where it really matters–at the box office. Expect upwards of $24M, maybe a bit more.
Hey, fella, is your tweed pressed? Is your ‘stache trimmed and waxed? One has to be prepared for the hipster uprising as Spike Jonze’s wonderfully weird romantic dramedy, “Her,” finally connects with a wide audience in 1,700+ theaters after scoring $3M in about a month of limited release.
“Her” is a welcome return for the director who brought us “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich,” with his latest being even a bit more commercial. I mean, who doesn’t have a serious relationship with their cell phone these days? I’ve been going steady with mine for over a year now…although I have been a bit restless lately, and am pondering an upgrade soon. Appreciate if you’d keep that on the DL for now, though…
Look for both Weinstein’s “August: Osage County” and CBS Films’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” to perform solidly as they expand, however crossing over to the multiplex masses is going to be a challenge for both films, as they’re tailor made for arthouse success (i.e. Debbie downers), and as far as I know, neither of them has a cross promotion with Zoloft, Prozac or St. John’s wart.
1. Lone Survivor – $24M
2. Frozen – $12.5M
3. The Hobbit 2 – $9M
4. The Wolf of Wall Street – $8.5M
5. Her – $8M
SPLICE OF LIFE: BLURBS, BLIPS, CUTS & CLIPS
KEVIN JAMES BACK ON DUTY AS PAUL BLART IN “MALL COP 2”
It’s not enough that Kevin James has to torture us in Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups 2,” but now he’s continuing his passion for sequels and people-movers, as ” Mall Cop 2: Electric Poopaloo” (not the official title) is nearing a greenlight.
Not surprising, considering Sony’s comedy grossed $183M globally on a budget of $26M back in 2009. My only question is–what the flip took them so long? I thought this would have been a trilogy by now, with a possibility of rebooting the franchise in 2015 with Josh Gad taking the reins.
This we know: Paul Blart will be back on patrol, and that can only mean one thing: A “Wild Hogs” sequel will also be riding into town soon. And maybe, if Jason Statham and Justin Bieber are free, they can hitch a ride with Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and John Travolta this go-round. We can dream, can’t we?
If you’ve already forgotten all the ‘funny’ bits, they’re assembled here for your re-enjoyment.
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Warner’s “The Lego Movie” (February 7, 2014)
I don’t know if this qualifies as a Justice League movie, but it is the first film to feature Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, so I’m pretty sure it does. I also don’t know if I can watch 90 minutes of Lego figures running around, but damnit, I’m willing to give it a shot. Could be the spring’s biggest movie if this…connects…with audiences. Sorry. Had to.
“The Legend of Hercules” Poster Courtesy of Lionsgate