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What Movie Is All Downhill From Here?

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

I always find it oddly disturbing when you see a trailer for the first time and you just cock your head to the side and say “WTF?!?!” Yes, I’m talking about Lionsgate’s “Gods of Egypt,” the $140M production that looks like it’s destined to be the first bona fide box office bomb of 2016.

While everyone at the studio will spin a yarn about “foreign sales” and “our cost is really just $10M,” it’s much more than that for Lionsgate/Summit, the mini-major studio that is struggling to find a foothold in a post “Hunger Games” world, as they need tentpoles in a most desperate way.

Aside from the fact that they spend upwards of $30M marketing this “Immortals”/”300”/”Clash of the Titans” knock-off, the film also carries a lot of negative press regarding the hiring of Caucasian actors for Egyptian roles.

That aside, there’s no doubt “Gods of Egypt” was pegged as a franchise at one time; you don’t spend $100M+ on a production these days and not expect at least a trilogy. But the real reason this will cast a dark shadow over Lionsgate is the fact that it may turn out to be the biggest flop of 2016. That’s something you don’t want–the negative stigma hanging over you, especially when your cupboards are bare.

Alex Proyas is an insanely talented director; “Dark City” and “The Crow” are proof of his macabre genius, and “I, Robot,” riding the coattails of Will Smith in his prime, was a huge worldwide hit back in 2009. But even he can’t wrangle in this project, which seems a bit outside his wheelhouse.

The main problem with “Gods of Egypt” is that it feels like a strange amalgamation of everything we’ve already seen in the mystical sword-and-sandals genre, and when that happens, the results are usually catastrophic.

For star Gerard Butler, the glory days of “300” are long gone, which is his biggest live-action hit. That hasn’t deterred Hollywood, who is still selling him as an action star with “London Has Fallen” and “Geostorm” headed for theaters over the course of the next year; however, those prospects likely won’t keep him headlining films much longer.

In 3,000+ theaters this weekend, don’t expect much more than $15M, which would be a disastrous debut and the beginning and end for this series. Internationally, it might perform better, as IMAX and 3D still sell tickets by the boatload.

Two other films roll into theaters this weekend, Fox’s sports dramedy, “Eddie the Eagle,” and Open Road’s “Triple 9.” Neither have the reviews necessary to sustain much buzz; however, Hugh Jackman, who costars as Eddie’s fictional coach is always fun to watch, and hey, Christopher Walken is in it. Boom. Ticket punched.

In 2,000+ theaters, a debut of $10M is likely for the $23M PG-13 feel-good flick, based on the 1988 ski jumping “phenom,” Eddie Edwards, who became the first British ski jumper to compete in the Olympics. His claim to fame: he survived the jump.

Director John Hillcoat knows dark, probing drama, having previously helmed Weinstein films, “The Road” and “Lawless.” He stays in the confines of the dark and dreary for “Triple 9,” a $20M R-rated crime thriller that pulls together an impressive ensemble cast including Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Anthony Mackie, Norman Reedus, and Woody Harrelson, yet will likely unload with just $8M as it descends upon 2,100+ theaters.

That means “Deadpool” will take the box office crown again, completing the trifecta. Fox’s runaway hit has already grossed more than any other X-Men film domestically, and has amassed over $250M in North America, $500M worldwide.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Deadpool – $28M
  2. Gods of Egypt – $15M
  3. Eddie the Eagle – $10M
  4. Triple 9 – $8M
  5. Risen – $8M

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CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: A24’s “EQUALS” (July 1, 2016)

A24 has a huge hit (for an indie distributor) with “The Witch” right now, and has already scored in the lo-fi sci-fi genre last year with Alex Garland’s brilliant “Ex Machina.” “Equals,” starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult, delves into similar territory and looks pretty wonderful, especially as summer blockbuster escapism. Long live counter programming!

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WTF OF THE WEEK: Universal’s Kindergarten Cop 2 (May 17, 2016)

Thankfully, this won’t be in theaters; however, Universal actually made this film. Like for reals. Like…it’s not a fake Funny or Die trailer…even though we all know it should be. I’m not sure how the filmmakers will elaborate on the most important learning lesson from the original–“boys have a penis, girls have a vagina”–but I’m sure they’ll try.

Dolph Lundgren may not be a genius when it comes to picking film roles…but he’s got a pretty wonderful story to tell on Ted Talks.

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“Eddie The Eagle” Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox; Poster Design by Empire Design

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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.