Game on! Wanna hear something really scary? There was a time, a few years back, when Universal and Hasbro were prepping “Ouija” as a $100M film. Yes, you read that correctly—up to $100M to make a horror flick. No wonder that project was put into turn around, and it’s also no surprise that the film of the same name that arrives this weekend fell into the hands of monster micro-budget producer, Jason Blum.
With “Ouija” expected to take conjure up a #1 debut this weekend, Blumhouse Productions brought the PG-13 film in for just $5M (a typical budget for the horror hitmakers). With a lull in the fall schedule before “Big Hero 6” and “Intersteller” ramp up the holiday spending spree in theaters in a couple weeks, the chill pill is on track to gross upwards of $20M through Sunday.
A board-game adaptation at #1? Suck on that “Battleship!” And sorry, “Clue,” even though Paramount’s film has achieved cult status, it debuted a lowly #6 back in 1985 with $2M. And no, “Jumanji,” while featuring a board game, was actually based on a children’s book.
“I’m thinkin’ I’m back.” Okay, Keanu, I bet you know karate too. Sound-bites aside, Lionsgate’s “John Wick” looks like gonzo fun for action junkies (or more realistically, Keanu Fan Club Members), but the truth is, outside of “The Matrix” and “Speed” Reeves hasn’t really had that much box office success or experience as an action star lately.
Remember “Johnny Mnemonic” and “Chain Reaction?” Even his last major studio release, “47 Ronin,” managed just $38M on a budget of $175M. Luckily it grossed $100M+ overseas–a contingency that has kept Reeves’ star shining for some time.
One thing “John Wick” has going for it: critics are lit up all over. The R-rated action flick currently has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, that’s a little skewed consider the folks who reviewed it early were pretty much handpicked according to their movie tastes.
Still, it should hit upwards of $10M, which isn’t saying much, but hopefully that’s enough for someone to greenlight what everyone is really waiting for: “Bill & Ted’s Totally Radical 3D Reboot ” That’s “Bill & Ted 3” to you and me.
In limited release, A24 drops the $15M indie romantic comedy “Laggies” in just a few theaters, despite once considering a wide opening. The R-rated coming-of-age comedy stars Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell and is definitely worth checking out.
With “Laggies” and this summer’s “Begin Again,” Knightley has delivered some of the best work in her career—a far cry from her role in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” juggernaut, which despite catapulting her into a new tax bracket, failed to show much of her range or really get her on Hollywood’s A-list.
Expanding into wide release after a fairly successful limited splash is Bill Murray in “St. Vincent.” Weinstein’s lo-fi comedy will jump from 68 theaters to over 2,000 and should land somewhere around $6M-7M.
Also moving into multiplex territory is Roadside Attractions’ “Dear White People.” Can’t say enough about the marketing campaign behind this film, which is spinning off blip after blip on YouTube and other social media sites to attract its hipper than thou audience. Paid off last weekend with nearly $350k in 11 theaters.
In 384 theaters this weekend, the R-rated dramedy might hit up to $2.5M.
1. Ouija – $17M
2. Fury – $13M
3. Book of Life – $12M
4. Gone Girl – $11M
5. John Wick – $10M
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Disney’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (May 1, 2015)
Remember how much fun “The Avengers” was? It was arguably the perfect comic-book movie, one that combined action and humor and didn’t take itself too seriously. Take a gander at the first trailer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Whoops.
The teaser for the sequel apparently didn’t get the memo that audiences liked that merry mix of mirth and mayhem, monopolizing $1.5B worldwide. This one looks much, much darker, and gloomier, and honestly, looks like it takes itself very, very serious. Fans of “Dark Knight” will certainly appreciate it, but my gut says it’s not going to top $623M domestic after seeing this.
Hopefully the next trailer will forego the ominous doom and gloom and give us a little levity…and maybe a couple laughs. That said, it has over 9 million hits in under 24 hours online. Might just do ok. Might just be the #1 movie next summer. Might just open with $200M+ again. Might do well enough to justify a threequel.
CHOICE CLIP OF THE WEEK: Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns w/ Brad Pitt”
Besides that silly haricut in “Fury,” Bradley Pitts can do no wrong!
CHOICE BLIP OF THE WEEK: Roadside Attractions’ “Dear White People”– Racism Insurance
Not to give you the hard sell, but you should probably think about Racism Insurance to go along with your Home and Auto policies.
Lionsgate’s “John Wick”