Krampus, Anyone?

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

I’m a big leftovers fan. No, not the HBO series everyone is sort of watching while they twiddle their collective thumbs waiting for the epic return of “Game of Thrones.”

No, I’m talking about mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, the works—all the good stuff that’s in all those plastic containers jammed sideways into the fridge…two, three, seven days after Thanksgiving weekend.

I mean, I’d even heat up mashed potatoes a week later. Put a few droplets of gravy on there…good as gold.

Hollywood feels the same way, as they figure you’ll be happy picking at leftovers for…oh…a couple weeks. A couple weeks?!? Yep. As is traditional, the weekend after Thanksgiving is a virtual void of variety and instead filled with flotsam and jetsam of the jettison variety.

Case in point: Universal’s “Krampus.” The PG-13 horror comedy is the only new studio release in theaters this weekend, and for most audiences, it’s about as desirable as fruitcake. Hey, some people like a loaf of bread stuffed with candied cherries, old nuts, and everything else in the spice cabinet…just like some people like to take their families to horror comedies around Xmas. What? You didn’t you want a evil demonic spawn for Xmas?

To be fair, at least they’re trying. Directed by cult favorite, Michael Dougherty, who almost brought the Halloween anthology cult classic “Trick ‘r Treat” to theaters, and starring always-up-for-anything Adam Scott and Academy Award-nominated Toni Collette.

That’s actually pretty decent caliber for a film of this nature; however, even the family-friendly rating won’t help the $15M film escape its likely fate: the discount DVD bin at Wal-Mart. That’s a horror show unto itself, but they do make great white elephant gifts.

Don’t believe me? Hey, last year I found Friday the 13th 3-D in there…with foldable 3-D glasses included! Yeah, it pays to dig around in there.  I mean, I wouldn’t go all the way to the shoulder, but elbow-deep, definitely.

In 2,800+ theaters expect stocking stuffer-type grosses with around $6.66M, maybe less.

Universal recently announced they’re going into the vault to attempt to resurrect their classic horror monsters ala the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That would include, presumably, the Wolf Man, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Van Helsing, and if the film surprises, maybe even Krampus could make a cameo.

That said, if the utterly poor performance of the latest interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic—Fox’s “Victor Frankenstein”—is any indication, they may have to sell their souls to the devil to make that work.

“Victor Frankenstein” was DOA with an embarrassing debut of $2.4M—the biggest turkey Thanksgiving weekend has seen in wide release in over 20+ years. That’s a stake in the heart for classic movie monsters; not the death knell certainly, but it’s a sure sign Frankenstein, in any form, should not be brought back to life. Ever.

Audiences just aren’t interested…just ask Kenneth Branagh or Aaron Eckhart or Tim Burton. The only person who seemed to have a handle on him was Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. Simply put: they need a lot of creative firepower to make this pop….and even then it still might not.

Which is why its no surprise they’re trying to lure Tom Cruise to star in the studio’s “Mummy” reboot. He already played a vampire, and may just be one, so this isn’t a bad choice if you’re looking for longevity. And by longevity, I mean an assload of sequels and spinoffs. Although, with “Mission: Impossible” and now “Jack Reacher,” how many franchises can Cruise possibly carry these days?

Jesus is the reason for the season, as they say, so it’s no surprise to see Freestyle try to capitalize on the capitalism of Christ as they release the Mother Teresa’s bio-pic, “The Letters” into 1,000+ theaters.

Faith-based flicks are hit and miss, but if successful, they can deliver surprising windfalls. The PG-rated drama may gross upwards of $3M. It really all depends on the grass-roots marketing. Scratch that: It’s really in God’s hands, folks.

In exclusive release, Fox Searchlight releases Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth” in four theaters. You might recall that Sorrentino’s film, “The Great Beauty,” won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars two years ago.

His latest R-rated drama boasts an impressive cast featuring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Paul Dano. Should do well as it expands throughout the holidays.

In fact, arthouses are the place to be this weekend as Weinstein’s “Macbeth,” starring Michael Fassbender, Cinedigm’s James Dean biopic, “Life,” and Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” all open in a handful of theaters.


God knows there are WAAAAAAAAAAY too many awards given out this time of year for films. So much so, that it’s hard to keep track of who won what. Let’s be honest, it usually doesn’t match public opinion anyway, so what’s the point, right?

Usually. This year, the only award that matters has already been given out. The National Board of Review selected “Mad Max: Fury Road” as their best picture winner.

Mad Max, folks. A hyper-violent, R-rated film that is the fourth film of the franchise.

Strange people doing apocalyptically weird shit in the desert. That’s your best picture.

And you know what: they’re right. It’s the action movie that all others afterwards should be compared to. It’s a genre perfected. That rarely happens, so it’s nice to see recognition.

Pretty amazing, although NBR did pick J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year,”–a film almost nobody saw last year–and has made interesting choices as their top pick in the past, like “Hugo” and “Her.”

In fact, the last time it picked the same Best Picture as the Academy Awards was 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire.”



  1. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2 – $24M
  2. The Good Dinosaur- $22M
  3. Creed – $21M
  4. Spectre – $8.5M
  5. Krampus – $6M


CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Warner’s “Midnight Special” (March 18, 2016)

This comes from director Jeff Nichols (“Mud,” “Take Shelter”) who honed his craft in the indie world and now joins forces with the studio system to release his sci-fi/drama hybrid.

Looks like a lo-fi X-men film and very reminiscent to the tone of “Chronicle.”  Not sure Nichols’ arthouse fans will follow him, although, I think the point is to expand his audience.

Seems WB doesn’t quite know what to do with this film, as they’ve shuffled its release multiple times.  It gets better: the studio is opening it limited release just a week before their biggest film of the year, “Batman V Superman,” so you know the studio has very little faith in it. That’s the equivalent of launching a bottle rocket into the heart of a Fourth-of-July fireworks finale.


PRIME WHAAAAAAT? OF THE WEEK: Warner’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” (March 25, 2016)

The full-length trailer has finally arrived, and we’ll let it speak for itself.

Ok, maybe just a couple thoughts.

It will make tons of case. That we know.

I’ll just say this: Michael Keaton and Christian Bale are superb actors…I think everyone will pretty much agree with that. George Clooney, Val Kilmer and Ben Affleck are serviceable. Batman cannot be serviceable. It’s that simple.

Oh, and Zack Snyder needs to stop with the golden-hue lighting scheme–it’s as bad as J.J. Abrams’ lens flares. Suckerpunch’d again.

Wonder Woman is where it’s at. Nuff said.

WTF CUT OF THE WEEK: Open Road’s “Fifty Shades of Black” (January 29, 2016)

This is a real film, not just an unfunny trailer. Imagine sitting through at least 1 1/2 hours of this and having to pay, on average, $8.34 to see this. Like, your own money. Like, they would take it out of your bank account.

Plus, then you would have to admit you saw it, and if you get any of the references, then you would have to admit to seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It’s really a lose-lose.


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


“Krampus” Poster Image Courtesy of Universal; Poster Design by LA