Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers
“The Martian” has a legitimate shot at landing the three-peat this weekend at the box office, as Ridley Scott’s $100M sci-fi hit has already amassed over $250M worldwide without showing any signs of hitting the air brakes.
And while Fox’s film confirmed there are no (SPOILER ALERT) little green men on Mars, since it is the haunting season, it’s no surprise to see two new spooky tales creeping into theaters using good, old-fashioned scare tactics: Sony’s “Goosebumps” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak.”
Also is the mix is the master of modern cinema, Steven Spielberg, with his latest team-up with Tom Hanks (they joined forces before in “The Terminal” and “Saving Private Ryan”), “Bridge of Spies,” as well as the umpteenth faith-based football flick, “Woodlawn.”
So with all these new flicks vying for theatergoers’ attention, which will come out on top?
While “Pan” didn’t have parents’ seal of approval, bombing dismally, debuting with just $15M last weekend, Jack Black front and center in “Goosebumps” should delight families and may just find itself at the top of the heap with upwards of $25M.
Reviews have been surprisingly solid—yes, they are drinking the ghoul-aid—for the PG-rated pic, and Black has proven before with “School of Rock,” “Nacho Libre,” and “Kung Fu Panda” that he is a true friend of the family cinema crusade.
Doesn’t hurt that R.L. Stine’s book series is still popular among the pre-teen crowd, and that if successful, the $85M film could launch a new franchise for Sony, which desperately craves tentpoles.
Comparable titles include “Jumanji” and “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”; the later debuted with $30M on its way to over $200M+ worldwide. That’s pretty decent, although Paramount spent $140M to make it, which is probably why we never saw a sequel. Those in the know realize Sony has already rolled the dice with a “Jumanji” reboot slated for next Christmas.
Del Toro hasn’t hit the big screen since the disappointment that was “Pacific Rim,” but he retreats to what he knows best: scaring the crap out of people. He hasn’t done that since 2006’s “Pan’s Labyrith,” so this is a welcomed return.
Universal, which more often than not works with Blumhouse to produce micro-budget horror hits, could have made a dozen or so films with the “Crimson Peak” budget, which is estimated to be $55M.
With Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston leading the way, the R-rated horror flick should see decent business through Halloween, even if the creepshow doesn’t slay them opening weekend, starting with under $20M.
Universal’s year-to-remember just keeps getting better, as they saw their Oscar-contender, “Steve Jobs,” work it in exclusive release in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, debuting with $521k in 4 theaters—over $130k per, and one of the top 15 limited releases of all-time.
That ranks just behind Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” Wes’ film went on to gross $45M, while P.T.’s sputtered out with $16M.
Considering America’s fascination with Jobs and the mythos of Apple, “Steve Jobs” will likely gross more than both combined, but we’ll have a better idea this weekend as Universal expands the film before a wide release over Halloween weekend.
“Bridge of Spies,” Spielberg’s first film since 2012’s “Lincoln,” is not surprisingly amassing spectacular reviews — but is a cold-war drama really relevant right now? I suppose, but, like “The Walk,” I don’t see this generating much buzz amongst the multiplex marauders.
Could be a slow-burner, especially if it gains Oscar momentum, but then why open it in October? Interesting move for Disney and DreamWorks. Let’s be honest here, DreamWorks can’t stay at Disney much longer…it just seems more and more out of place with Disney’s big ticket dreams, where Spielbergian ideals just don’t seem to work anymore.
In 2800+ theaters, expect a debut under $20M. Remember, three of Spielberg’s lowest grossing films were also based on historical events: “Empire of the Sun,” “Amistad” and “Munich.” Those topped out at $22M, $44M and $47M, respectively.
Racial tensions and football are front and center in the PG-rated, “Woodlawn,” which stars Jon Voight and Sean Astin.
Debuting in 1,500+ theaters, Pure Flix’s pic is set in the 1970s and follows the trials and tribulations of a team that gives their lives over to Jesus Christ and the path of good Christian living and hard-knocks hitting—which apparently God loves, as so many NFL stars routinely give a shout out to the man upstairs after winning or even scoring six points.
Let’s be honest…and this goes for atheists and god-fearing people alike; If God exists and really does care about a high school football game on Earth…and spends his time watching every one…we’re all totally screwed. Can you imagine him watching every Friday via his Redzone Channel? I, for one, sure hope he’s watching NASA’s asteroid channel, instead.
The $25M “Woodlawn” should see a solid kickoff with $5M or so, and could have lots of box office stamina, as faith-based films tend to have support beyond the initial opening weekend flash-and-burn that most studio films adhere to.
Limited release sees some highly regarded arthouse entries, as A24’s “Room” opens the doors, Sony Classics uncovers “Truth” and Netflix works backwards, delivering their first film, Cary Fukanaga’s “Beasts of No Nation,” simultaneously online and into theaters.
Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the novel, wrote“Room” for the screen. The R-rated drama delves into some harrowing emotional territory that has many critics talking about star Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”) reaping some serious awards when laurels start dropping. It’s slated to go nationwide Nov. 6, which is rare for the indie distributor.
“Truth” is based on Mary Mapes’ memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, The President and the Privilege of Power, which recounts her attempt as a 60 Minutes producer to expose then-President George W. Bush and his obscured military history. What? Bush may have ducked out on some responsibilities?!? This IS news!
Cate Blanchett stars as Mapes, while Robert Redford slips into Dan Rather mode.
Meanwhile, Netflix tries something new: going theatrical. While many have bemoaned the online streamer for taking business away from theaters, here, they attempt to give back. Will be a very, very interesting experiment.
Writer/director Fukanaga has been heralded for his work on “True Detective: Season 1” as well as his previous films, “Sin Nombre” and “Jane Eyre.” Here he delivers a relatively inexpensive $6M African war drama starring Idris Elba that has reviewers believing, as it currently sits at 91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Goosebumps – $24M
- The Martian – $23M
- Crimson Peak – $20M
- Bridge of Spies – $18M
- Hotel Transylvania 2 – $13M
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Universal’s “Hail, Caesar!” (Feb. 5, 2016)
The Coen Brothers latest is classic Coen–George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Frances McDormand…check!
Making fun of Hollywood. Check.
Period piece. Check.
Nuff said. Check it out.
CHILL PILL OF THE WEEK: Sony’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (Feb. 5, 2016)
If you liked “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” then you’ll like this one, which also from the twisted mind of author Seth Grahame-Smith.
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.