featurehp

Hot On The Avengers’ Heels?
Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Marvel’s box office ballers are back for another round of audience annihilation as only one film dares enter wide release seven days after “Avengers: Age of Ultron” kicked off the summer season, dropping the second-best opening weekend of all time with a massive $191M.

That film is Warner’s female buddy flick, “Hot Pursuit,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. And while it may not KO the BO, it certainly kicks off what is a major trend this summer, one that sees females front and center in a variety of comedic offerings.

Bigger in scale, and with more estimated box office bounty than the boys this summer, the huge success of films like “Sex and the City,” “Bridesmaids,” “The Other Woman” and every Melissa McCarthy flick ever, has proven to Hollywood that there is certainly a very hungry audience out there for funny females.

In a couple weeks the ladies of “Pitch Perfect 2” take center stage, while June offers up the latest McCarthy vehicle, “Spy,” and July attempts to launch the big screen career of Amy Schumer in Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck.”

While Witherspoon has shown she can shuffle between drama and comedy with ease, the real star here is Columbian actress Vergara (TV’s “Modern Family”) who could really break out big time with this role.

In 3,000+ theaters, expect “Hot Pursuit” to chase down $22M this weekend, and quite possibly a bit more, if women flock to this, as expected.  Wherever this ultimately ends up, it will likely be a solid success as it cost just $35M.

So what exactly will “Avengers 2” pull in this weekend? Well, the original dropped just 50%, becoming the first flick to ever lock in $100M+ in its second weekend. Doubtful the sequel will follow the same trajectory as the novelty of a multi-pack of spandex clad superheroes has diminished ever so slightly as weekday grosses have been down upwards of 30%.

Disney is low-balling earth’s mightiest multiplex marauders a bit, estimating around $80M for weekend #2, although many industry folks believe the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight turned into a Super Bowl-type event, keeping families away on Saturday night. While that may be true, you can’t argue that weekday grosses are a bit on the soft side, although any other studio in town would sacrifice their summer slate for those type of numbers.

I’m playing it close to the vest, too, estimating a 55% drop, with $86M.

In moderate wide release, IFC Films launches their biggest debut in company history with Jack Black’s high school reunion dramedy, “The D Train.” The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and could arrive with $2M or so in 1000+ theaters as multiplexes are looking awfully top-heavy right about now.

Hey, remember when a new Schwarzenegger film was front-page news. Or even first paragraph news. Alas, me either. Still, I can’t wait to see Roadside Attractions’ “Maggie.”  You know, when it’s available at Redbox next week.

The zombie drama  walks the earth in limited release this weekend.

Also in limited release is Focus’ “5 Flights Up,” starring Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton. Um, how do I explain this. Well, it’s sorta like “*Batteries Not Included,” you know, without the cute, flying robots.

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron – $86M
  2. Hot Pursuit – $22M
  3. Age of Adaline – $4.5M
  4. Furious 7 -$4M
  5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – $3.5M

***

PARAMOUNT’S “BEVERLY HILLS COP” REBOOT GETS THE BOOT

And people are complaining like this is a BAD thing?!? Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy teaming up was always just a bad idea, and the release date–March 25, 2016–had them going up against “Batman v Superman.” Now it’s listed merely as: TBA.

Holy rain checks, Batman. Gotta feeling “BHC: Kicked to the Curb” will never see the light of day, at least not as an Eddie Murphy vehicle. Luckily for all of us, the first two (sorry, but even Harold Faltermeyer felt guilty about picking up his check for Part III) are still readily available for viewing.

Let’s keep that soundtrack of summer rollin’, folks!

***

CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Warner’s “Vacation” (July 28, 2015)

If you’re righteously awesome, you love the vacation trilogy (Sorry “Vegas Vacation,” you don’t count) as much as I do.  While I often frown at remakes or reboots of 80’s classics, this one has my seal of approval…for whatever that’s worth–$8.12, I suppose. Also, for what it’s worth, this trailer brought the house down at CinemaCon—the annual theater owners’ convention—a couple weeks ago.

***

PRIME CUT OF THE WEEK: Sony’s “Ricki and the Flash” (Aug. 7, 2016)

You can never go wrong with Meryl Streep, just ask the Academy Awards. This arrives from the fingertips of Diablo Cody and looks pretty good.

***

SOLID SLICE OF THE WEEK: Netflix’s & The Wachowski’s “Sense8” (June 5, 2016)

Hmmm…looks a bit like everything they’ve ever done. Perfect.

***

FLASHBACK FILET OF THE WEEK: Warner’s “Battlefield Earth”

Fifteen years ago on this very weekend, John Travolta’s folly, “Battlefield Earth,” bombed big-time in theaters, debuting with $11M and clocking out with $29M worldwide…all on a budget of $73M. L. Ron Hubbard would have been so proud.

I’m not proud of it (well, sorta I am), but I still have my ticket stub and an exclusive holographic image. No, I’m not a Scientologist, but I have partied late at night on Hollywood Boulevard and yes, the Scientology building and bars are the only places still open in the wee hours of the night. That in itself is…s-k-e-t-c-h-y.

***

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.

***

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.; Poster Design by cold open