Box Office Brasserie: Weekend Movie Edition

Even though Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger teaming up is a scary prospect, with this being 2013 and all, “Escape Plan” doesn’t exactly have the fright stuff that Sony’s “Carrie” remake boasts. It’s the haunting season after all, and Stephen King’s adaptation arrives at a time where horror flicks are surprisingly vacant in theaters.

That alone should push the R-rated chill pill towards the top of the box office heap, however flying past “Gravity” is going to be a tall order, even for a girl with tremendous telekinetic powers.

The Sandra Bullock/George Clooney starrer defied the odds last weekend, dropping just -22%—a number unheard of for a non-holiday—and looks to perform another box office magic trick, one that hasn’t been done at all this year: the threepeat.

With $139M domestic, and over $200+M worldwide so far, WB’s sci-fi flick is destined to fly past $200M US and become one of the biggest hits the Oscars have ever seen, as it will more than likely snag a Best Picture nod. This weekend, expect a slightly more precipitous drop than the week previous, however “Gravity” could still land another $27M in its payload.

“Carrie” is not only King’s first published novel, but the first story of his to ever be remade in a theatrical release capacity (some of his works have been redone for TV) with the original arriving in 1976 and a sequel, “The Rage: Carrie 2” back in 1999, that sputtered, debuting with just $7M.

Look for a rousing opening of $20+M for “Carrie,” and then watch it quickly fade into obscurity. Believe it or not, only one King adaptation has ever surpassed $100M, “The Green Mile.” And don’t expect Academy Award nominations either for the new leads Julianne Moore and Chloe Moretz, something both Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek achieved with Brian De Palma’s original.

There is one thing Sly and Arnie never seem to lose the knack for: finding awful scripts. “Escape Plan” is the first time they’ve shared equal billing in a film, which would have been noteworthy were it the late 80’s/early 90’s. In this day and age, with “The Expendables” already covering the aging-action hero market, this looks like a testosterone fueled implosion.

Stallone’s last solo outing, “Bullet to the Head,” was DOA with $4.5M, while Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand” didn’t perform much better rolling out to $6.2M. Combine those two and you get just over $10M…which is about what “Escape Plan” will lock down opening weekend.

Disney would revel in a number like that as it drops the R-rated drama “The Fifth Estate” into just 1,769 theaters with absolutely the worst kind of press you can have. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, vehemently opposes the film and is badmouthing it every chance he gets. And, the truth is, audiences in America really couldn’t care less about this story or this film. It’ll be lucky to uncover $5M this weekend.

The story that could overshadow everything though, is the limited release of Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years a Slave,” which many Oscar pundits are predicting will ultimately win Best Picture this year. In 19 theaters, expect huge numbers to the tune of $1.5M.

Opening in exclusive release is Roadside Attraction’s “All is Lost,” which has Robert Redford channeling his best Gorton’s Fisherman as he sets sail in 6 theaters.



  1. GRAVITY – $27M
  2. CARRIE – $23M
  4. ESCAPE PLAN – $11M



CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Hipsters rejoice! Wes Anderson’s latest escape into cinematic wanderlust is “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which Fox Searchlight has dated for March 7, 2014. The oddball dramedy stars his familiar troupe of thespians, including Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, and this time, with Ralph Fiennes in the lead.



It’s bad enough that we, as a society, have to endure rabid Christmas consumerism this early in the year, but all those early Wal*Mart sales were trumped this week when Open Road Films announced they will stuff a new Justin Bieber documentary, “Beileve 3D,” down our chimneys on Christmas Day.

Yes, just what you wanted in your local multiplex for the holidays…another 3D doc that will really, really, dig deep into the mind of the nineteen-year-old Canadian and maybe, just maybe, he’ll finally open up about  the significance of his tattoos and how he truly feels about losing his monkey.  OMG!  It really makes one wonder just how naughty we’ve all been this year.

And to make things worse, he is releasing a new song every week leading up  to the release of  “Believe 3D,” which will become his fourth studio album. Somebody alert the CIA, and let’s get INS on this too, cuz I believe this constitutes torture! We’ve already had to endure Bieber’s Christmas album, ‘Under the Mistletoe,’ now this? Is it too late to cancel Christmas this year?


Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at


Lead-in Art Credits

Image Courtesy of Roadside Attractions; Poster design by Bemis Balkind