rings feature

Movie News – One “Rings” To Rule Them All?

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Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers

Going For The Win

With all eyes on the big prize—the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy—Hollywood usually opts for counterprogramming on Super Bowl weekend, and that’s no different this year with Paramount’s trilogy capper, “Rings,” and STX’s long-delayed sci-fi teen romance “The Space Between Us.”

The Big Game won’t be the only competition for the new releases, as M. Night Shyamalan has solidified his marquee brand of macabre with “Split,” swiping #1 two weeks in a row with $77M and over $100M worldwide.

That feat hasn’t happened since Shyamalan’s  “The Sixth Sense” back in 1999. Yes, he’s baaaaack. In a big, big way.  Self-financing his films for less than $10M will keep him in the black for as long as he wants. Let’s just hope he’s done with fantasy yarns like “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth.”

“Rings” returns to the fright-fold 12 years after the sequel, which did respectable business, debuting with $35M on its way to $161M worldwide; however, the buzz is nearly non-existent. The original, directed by Gore Verbinski, crawled under people’s skin, and became an instant sensation, grossing $129M domestic and nearly $250M worldwide.

It also paved the way for creepy contortionist girls crawling out of things, up walls, and into the psyche of pop culture.

With $410M globally, “Rings” is a no-brainer–I’m just surprised it took over a decade to bring it to the screen. There’s a good chance the PG-13 chill pill could take the top spot with as little as $15M. I mean, if “The Bye Bye Man” can debut with $13.5M, I don’t see why this creaky old franchise can’t reach that threshold.   The trailer makes it look exactly like the first film, so call it a reboot for millennials.

STX has had a spotty track record so far as a distribution company, and that will likely continue with “The Space Between Us.” The PG-13 film was supposed to be released on the same weekend as “Rogue One,” where it would have gotten blasted into deep, deep space. So, good move pushing it back.

Even so, the two hour film—about ½ hour too long—can’t quite decide whether it’s a serious National Geographic commentary on Martial travel or your typical CW romance, complete with an endless stream of video montages featuring teeny-bopper hits.

That kind of split personality film is usually the product of too many cooks in the kitchen, and in this case it actually sabotages the space drama, which is very compelling at times. It’s almost like two separate movies, and when that happens…as Porky Pig used to say: “That’s All Folks.”

In 2,800+ theaters, expect single digits, possibly around $6M, as it’s difficult to comprehend just who the audience is for this film.  Heart’s in the right place, but the execution is typical of most Martian landings, which is to say: Kablooey.

In limited release, Sony Classics offers up “The Comedian,” starring Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, and the always-effervescent Leslie Mann.  Even Billy Crystal, Charles Grodin, and Jimmie Walker show up in the R-rated dramedy about the fading days of an insult comic.

Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “Against All Odds”) directs, so the pedigree is there; however, critics are literally throwing nightshades at it, as it’s just 25% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also, there’s a sequel you’ve probably never heard of which Sony rolls out in limited release.  The kung foolery flick kicked up over $85M in two days of release in China: “Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back.”

2013’s original, directed by Stephen Chow (“Kung Fu Hustle”), did nearly nothing domestically, but scored $215M worldwide, becoming of one of China’s highest grossing releases.

Two other Chinese-funded flicks, “Buddies in India” and Jackie Chan’s “Kung Fu Yoga,” raked in $44M and $40M respectively overseas this past weekend, making it clearer and clearer to everyone that China is a big time player in the movie biz these days.

In coordination with the beginning of Black History month, Magnolia releases “I Am Not Your Negro,” which has been nominated for Best Documentary by the Academy. Powerful stuff here, folks…not to be missed.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Rings – $16M
  2. Split -$15M
  3. A Dog’s Purpose – $11M
  4. Hidden Figures – $9M
  5. La La Land – $8M

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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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Poster Image (Rings) Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Poster Design by BLT Communications LLC