Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers
Tom Cruise and the Flatliners are headlining again! While it does sound like a great, late 80s/early 90s band, it’s actually more like Hollywood playing familiar tunes again.
Cruise returns to theaters in his familiar anti-hero role in Doug Liman’s “American Made,” while Sony, the jack of all retreads and redos, tries to find a reboot pulse, yet again, with “Flatliners.”
Back in summer 1990 when Cruise was racing off with yet another hit—“Days of Thunder”—a pack of hot actors—Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, a Baldwin brother (William)—were fighting off Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in “Ghost” and Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. in “Air America” to debut in the top spot at the box office.
The original “Flatliners” opened with $10M on its way to $61M, which translates to about $129M with inflation—a huge success for a horror/thriller. 27 years later, Sony brings in Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and a host of other actors that don’t usually register with cash registers. Luckily Kiefer is back; however, his role is unfortunately limited.
Whereas the first film was sold on star power, this new version is trying to sell tickets by way of concept. Concept?!? Only problem with that is…it’s not an original concept! That, and Joel Shoemaker’s version is still infinitely better, despite nearly three decades of VFX enhancements.
When will Sony learn that it’s CONCEPT that’s king these days? “Robocop,” “Total Recall,” “Ghostbusters”—haven’t they shot themselves in the foot enough? Sure, you don’t need stars, but if you can’t put a fresh spin on the OG, and make a decisively better film, then why bother?
Luckily Sony only spent $20M on this cash grab; however, the fact that it’s only in 2,200+ theaters tells you all you need to know—“Flatliners” will be lucky to resurrect the debut of the 1990 original: $10M. That likely means $8M to you and me.
Cruise has teamed up with director Liman before with “Edge of Tomorrow,” which is probably Cruise’s best film over the last couple decades. WB’s sci-fi flick grossed $361M worldwide, but it also carried a huge budget north of $175M.
Despite being “American Made,” the nearly 2-hour, R-rated comedy/action/drama/thriller (it’s everything, don’t you know?) has already been released in most foreign territories, sacking away $58M. With a price tag of $80M, Universal isn’t going to make a bundle on this one unless North American audiences really embrace it.
Universal and Cruise have already experienced a inconvenient summer, as their collaboration, “The Mummy,” nearly derailed the studio’s Dark Universe plans. Even though the horror flick ended up grossing $407M worldwide, it topped out at just $80M domestic, much lower than any of Brendan Fraser’s trilogy, and cost anywhere from $125M-$200M, depending on what ledger you believe.
Just know that Universal bet the farm on their ill-conceived monster mash-up, and that will keep “The Mummy” under wraps for a long, long time.
Still, “American Made” has solid reviews and looks pretty harmless, so hopefully it tops low-end expectations which have it banking about $12M this weekend in 3,000+ theaters. Expect closer to $15M, maybe a bit more.
Meanwhile Pure Flix tries to enlighten faith-based audiences with “A Question of Faith” in 661 theaters (should have added 5 more), while a new distribution company, Novus, courts African-American audiences with their PG-13 thriller, “Til Death Do Us Part.”
Expanding into wide release in 1,200+ venues is the tennis biopic, “Battle of the Sexes,” which saw good results in 21 theaters last weekend—$515k, $24k per.
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $18M
- American Made – $17M
- It – $16M
- LEGO Ninjago Movie – $12M
- Flatliners – $7M
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Paramount’s “Annihilation” (March 23, 2018)
You know what’s great? When you watch a trailer and you have more questions than answers afterwards. Alex Garland’s (EX MACHINA) latest looks sensational, and has him queued up as part of the new wave of extremely innovative helmers that are helping crack the sci-fi code, bringing some of the most interesting work to the multiplex masses in some time.
CHOICE SLICE OF THE WEEK: Fox Searchlight’s “Isle of Dogs” (March 23, 2018)
Sure, Wes Anderson’s first foray into animation, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” wasn’t a box office smash, and was slightly uneven in terms of pacing, but his latest looks spot-on. I mean, besides the fact that it’s Japanese dogs speaking English in Japan. Somehow though, it works, and seems like Wes has found his footing. Let’s hope audiences don’t lift their collective leg on it.