Movie Scares And Dares – Gasp At This Weekend’s Chokes, Experience Our Hot Summer List Of Head-Rolling Horror Flicks

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Summer movie-going is about to get seriously scary. Wanna know why? Of course you do…everyone loves a good spine-tingler.

Sony’s film, “Money Monster,” opens this weekend, but the title is a red herring of sorts, as there are no actual two-headed creatures dragging chains of gold behind them and sneaking up on people while they slumber. Too bad…the film could’ve used some cheap-o scare tactics to garner a little more attention.

No, director Jodie Foster’s latest flick, featuring fading box office stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts, is about as far away from a monster movie as you can get–it’s a political thriller.  The studio will surely be chilled to the core when they see the grosses roll in however; they’re likely to pop off at just over $10M. That is, if reviews are solid (insert low-key whistle and thumb-twiddle here).

The $30M R-rated flick is Foster’s first since 2011’s disaster, “The Beaver,” starring Mel Gibson, which earned less than $1M. Truth is, “Money Monster” looks like a story that was way in the back of Sony’s film freezer, stashed there somewhere behind “8MM” and “Arlington Road” from late last century. Probably should have just stayed in cold storage.

The horror show doesn’t stop there,  as it is Friday the 13th this weekend.  And, since there isn’t a hockey masked vigilante running  amok in theaters, another Blumhouse chill pill will have to suffice, as their latest, “The Darkness,” featuring Kevin Bacon, descends upon 1,754 unsuspecting theaters.

Why unsuspecting? Well, High Top Releasing (a division of Universal), hasn’t really spent much on marketing, so it’s likely audiences have no clue the PG-13 flick is even being released. It’ll be lucky if it scares up $3M bones this weekend.  No wonder, the trailer certainly doesn’t do much to lift this above standard genre fare.

High Top’s most successful film to date is Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno,” which debuted last September with $3.5M, $7.1M overall.

In limited release, the poor man’s Woody Allen, Whit Stillman (only because he’s not nearly as prolific as the Woodman), drops his latest break-out-the-thesaurus talkie, “Love & Friendship.”

The Jane Austen adaptation,  from Roadside Attractions, marks only Stillman’s fifth flick since his breakout indie hit “Metropolitan” in 1990…twenty-six years ago. While Allen averages a film a year, Stillman showcases just once every few years.

Long before Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Eddie the Eagle, and David Beckham came one of the first truly international sports superstars: Brazil’s Pele. In exclusive release, IFC Films’ long overdue bio-pic, “Pele,” kicks off in New York and Los Angeles.



  4. MOTHER’S DAY – $6.5M



Zoinks! “The Darkness” marks the first horror flick of the summer, but 2016 is quite literally a hotbed of head-rolling horror. Usually multiplexes  see one or two chill pills in wide release from May to Labor Day.  However, this year we get a full blown spooky summer with no less than a half dozen of these creature features stalking cinemas.

Here’s a rundown of the terrible things that will keep you on your toes and staring helplessly out the window… late into the night:

High Top’s “The Darkness” (May 13)

Say what you will, but the pedigree is there as this hails from Aussie horror director, Greg McLean of “Wolf Creek” fame.  And, c’mon, Kevin Bacon. Get your Bacon fix.

Warner’s  “The Conjuring 2” (June 10)

The original cost just $20M and opened with $41M, eventually going on to dominate all dark corners of the world, grossing $318M. Director James Wan (“Furious 7”) returns for the sequel as do Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, whose acting really elevates these films to a higher plateau.

Unless something else unexpectedly grabs hold, “The Conjuring 2” will loop a noose around the title of highest-grossing horror flick of the summer.

Sony’s  “The Shallows” (June 29)

Every few years we get a new take on “Jaws.” While this isn’t a big budget rip-off like “Deep Blue Sea” was (it was glorious, don’t get me wrong), the Blake Lively starrer may surprise as it comes from talented Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra.

He’s certainly no stranger to the genre, having helmed “House of Wax” and “Orphan” before getting on the Liam Neeson express with “Unknown,” “Non-Stop” and “Run All Night.” Could surprise this summer.

Universal’s  “The Purge: Election Year” (July 1)

Writer/director James DeMonaco has made a mint with his quasi-political horror show. Now a trilogy, the original two flicks grossed $200M worldwide on a combined budget of $12M–that’s a pretty incredible return on investment.

No wonder this will probably have ten installments.  Hopefully Donald Trump won’t be president and he can star, and then be knocked off, in the next one. Coming soon: “The Purge: Running Man”

Warner’s  “Lights Out” (July 22)

Director David Sandberg makes his feature length debut with a creepy caper that seems the most likely to spawn sequels. Warner’s must be wowed with his work as they already have him helming “The Conjuring” spin-off sequel, “Annabelle 2,” for the studio.

Sony’s  “Don’t Breathe” (August 26)

Still no trailer for Fede Alvarez’s latest. Remember he directed the “Evil Dead” remake for Sony which did nearly $100M worldwide with a price tag of $17M. Horror: still the best bang for the buck in Hollywood. Always has been, always will be.


Lead-In Poster Image (Money Monster) Courtesy of Sony Pictures; Poster Design by Ignition


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