ht2feature

Our Pumpkin-Spiced Movie Picks of the Week

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Since you’ve likely already overdosed on pumpkin-spiced everything (Oreos, Twinkies, Dunkin’ Donuts, kale chips, almonds, tortilla chips, chewing gum, yogurt, butter, bagels, but oddly enough, no pumpkin-spiced pumpkins), your olfactory senses must be informing you that it’s officially the fall season, and more specifically, Halloween.

As a friend recently pointed out, the nutmeg/cinnamon/allspice lobbyists are an extremely powerful coalition and seem decisively hell-bent on supermarket domination this year. Such is the same approach for Hollywood when getting into the spirit of the haunting season.

And just like stores, studios can’t wait until October anymore to start marketing the macabre, as cinemas brace for two pumpkin-spliced flicks—Adam Sandler vamping it up in “Hotel Transylvania 2” and Eli Roth returning to theaters after an 8-year hiatus, with the long-delayed “The Green Inferno.”

The other release is Nancy Meyer’s “The Intern” which is about another scary thing entirely—senior citizens returning to the workplace…as interns.

Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania 2” is expected to go “boo ya” all the way to the top of the box office just like its predecessor did three years ago when it scared up $42M in its debut and went on to check out with $358M worldwide–all on a modest $85M budget.

While Adam Sandler’s star continues to fade in the flesh, his wacky, animated alter-ego is perfect for kids and fully acceptable for adults, too, as I think many of us have seen one too many Sandler flicks where he wears sweatpants and looks like he just woke up from a full-tilt bender in Atlantic City.

Haunting over 3,700+ theaters, and again safely secured in the inventive web of director Genndy Tartakovsky (“Samurai Jack,” “Dexter’s Laboratory”), Sony Animation should see around $40M this weekend and their third #1 film of September.

Sure, the beleaguered studio might have taken summer off, but they’re off to a rousing start this fall. In fact, the studio has carved out a nice little niche for thrillers and animated fare in the traditionally “down” months of September as both “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and its sequel each ate up over $100M+.

It’s all about scheduling, and Sony knows it, locking down late September over the next couple years for as-of-yet untitled toons.

Nancy Meyers is sort of the modern-day Nora Ephron in my opinion—a director who writes and directs funny, heartfelt dramedies that ever-so-expertly dive into warm, gushy territory, yet are extremely polished, and somehow never feel like cookie-cutter rom-com fodder.

Her latest comedy, “The Intern,” stars Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, who always lights up the screen when tuning his funny bone. While reviews don’t necessarily rate it as one of her best, audiences, especially seniors, will likely make this a moderate hit, as it will have steady legs throughout the fall.

In 3,300+ theaters, “The Intern” should flirt with the underbelly of $20M, but, again, a slow start won’t mean much, especially with its tidy $35M budget.

Meyers’ previous films “It’s Complicated” and “Something’s Gotta Give” both ended up with over $100M+ domestically and over $200M+ worldwide–which “The Holiday” did, too–so she obviously has a global audience, which will likely help “The Intern” as well.

Believe it or not, Eli Roth hasn’t directed a film in theaters since 2007’s “Hostel: Part II.” With “The Green Inferno” stuck in release limbo for a couple years, it finally sees the light of day courtesy of High Top Releasing, a subdivision of Focus Features.

Blumhouse is also on board producing, and even though it probably won’t rock the box office like the original “Hostel” did when it debuted with $19M and helped establish the sub-genre of “torture porn,” his latest cost just $6M to produce.

In 1,570 theaters, “The Green Inferno” likely won’t track down $5M, but we still should see it bleed a profit when all is said and done. Horror just gorges money…that’s what it does.

After debuting exclusively in IMAX last weekend and grossing $7M, “Everest” is set to climb to the top of the charts as it widens into over 3,000+ theaters. Expect upwards of $20M.

Our own review of “Everest” can be found here.

***

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Hotel Transylvania 2 – $40M
  2. Everest – $22M
  3. The Intern – $19M
  4. Maze Runner: Scorch Trials – $14M
  5. Black Mass – $13M

***

PRIME CUT OF THE WEEK: Paramount’s “The Big Short” (Dec. 11, 2015 excl, Dec. 23 wide)

Director Adam McKay is known more for comedies like “Talladega Nights,” “Anchorman,” and “The Other Guys” but swims into dramatic territory here breaking down the banking system’s housing collapse in the mid-2000’s.

This looks good, really good. And that cast?!? Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Selena Gomez, Marisa Tomei and Melissa Leo. Yeah, I’m in.  In fact, I’ll bet the house on it.

***

CHINTZY CUT OF THE WEEK: Sony’s “The Angry Birds Movie” (May 20, 2016)

The problem with chasing pop culture, is that once you catch it…it’s already moved on. This was a bad idea from the get-go, and seeing this preview reinforces how forced this is.

Now, if you were to tell me a Minecraft movie was ready to roll, I would tell you that would do block-party business. Does anybody even play this anymore?  Played out, folks. I think Sony’s got another “Pixels” on their hands next summer… hope they didn’t spend too much on this.

***

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 Sony Pictures; Poster Design by MIDNIGHT OIL