Will Audiences Surrender To Winter’s War?

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” performed the impossible feat: it drummed up over $100M+ in its domestic debut, firmly solidifying the Mouse House’s live-action fairy tale adaptations as another jewel in their ever-expanding crown.

Universal will feel the bang of Disney’s drum this weekend, as they launch their prequel that nobody really asked for, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” into theatres, where it will likely be snared and strung-up by Mowgli and Co.

Universal’s $115M production arrives in 3,700+ theaters four years after the original rounded up nearly $400M worldwide–the minimum magic number for a big-budget tentpole to qualify for a sequel these days–and even though it’s the only wide release this weekend, most analysts expect it to flame out with $25M or less.

The original debuted with $56M, so this would be quite a step back for the studio. However, when you don’t bring back your title character–aka Snow White–you’ve got issues, especially since outside the Mighty Thor, Chris Hemsworth has serious leading man issues.

Sure, Charlize Theron is back, too, and Emily Blunt joins in the fun  fight, but atrocious reviews (currently just 15% on Rotten Tomatoes) will keep folks away by the droves. Spring is in full bloom, but winter is coming for “Winter’s War,” as it may have a tough time snowballing audiences for even $20M.

In a limited roll out, Tom Hanks stars in the adaptation of Dave Eggers’ “A Hologram for the King.” In 399 theaters, it’s one of the very few times in Hanks’ illustrious career that a film featuring him front and center won’t debut in wide release.

The ho-hum reviews won’t keep this in theaters for long, so check it out this weekend if you have a huge hankering for Hanks.

Also in moderate release is Bleecker Street’s “Elvis & Nixon” which gives life to one of the strangest meetings in history: when the King of Rock N Roll entered Tricky Dick’s oval office. Seems more like an HBO movie, but Kevin Spacey is always endlessly entertaining. Should have some fans despite middling reviews.

One film worth seeking out this weekend is Sony Classics’ “The Meddler,” starring Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne and JK Simmons. The PG-13 film is written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, who penned the wonderfully underrated “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.”



  1. The Jungle Book – $55M
  2. The Huntsman: Winter’s War – $23M
  3. Barbershop: The Next Cut – $11M
  4. Zootopia – $5.5M
  5. The Boss – $5M


CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Sony’s “The Magnificent Seven” (Sept. 23, 2016)

Sure, nothing beats Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, and Charles Bronsan in John Sturges’ original from 1960, but I suppose 56 years later is an appropriate time for a reboot.

Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke round out the cast, and with Antoine Fuqua at the helm, expect non-stop action and disposable entertainment of the highest caliber.


SUB-SUB-PRIME CUT OF THE WEEK: Universal’s “Warcraft” (June 10, 2016)

Um. Why exactly did Universal and Legendary pay someone to edit another trailer?!? Yep, this is Trailer #2. #2 is right. This sure wants to be “Lord of the Rings” and/or “Game of Thrones,” but what it looks like is a cross between “Dragonheart,” “John Carter,” and “Battlefield Earth”–and that’s a mash-up you NEVER, EVER want to be mixed up with .


Lead-In Poster Image (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) Courtesy of Universal; Poster Design by LA


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