20th Century Fox / MGM
Black Panther (Marvel/Disney)
Red Sparrow (20th Century Fox)
Death Wish (MGM)
Game Night (New Line/WB)
Peter Rabbit (Sony)
(*Apologies, but I forgot to increase this number before going out for the day.)
This weekend can no longer be considered just “the first week of March” as much as it’s “the third week of Black Panther.” Just like last weekend, the latest Marvel movie should remain dominant with another moderate drop of around 45% or so. It should be good for a third weekend in the $60 million range (or a little more), which would give Black Panther the third-biggest third weekend of all time, as it edges closer to $500 million domestically. Also like last weekend, there are two new R-rated movies trying to find business against the overwhelming blockbuster hit.
20th Century Fox
First up is Red Sparrow, 20th Century Fox’s spy thriller based on the book by CIA agent Jason Matthews, which reunites director Francis Lawrence with his Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence. It’s a different kind of espionage film from the normal Bourne and Bond films, and it looks a little like what a hard-R Black Widow might look like, as Lawrence plays a ballet dancer recruited by the Russian government as a spy.
Last September, Lawrence starred in Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, a movie that premiered during festival season, received mixed reviews (and that’s putting it nicely) and bombed, grossing just $17 million domestically with an awful “F” reaction from audiences via CinemaScore. J-Law’s previous film Passengers with Chris Pratt did better, grossing $300 globally despite equally bad reviews, but that’s been her only non-Hunger Games non-X-Men hit so far.
Fox screened Red Sparrow unusually early for critics, and reviews so far have generally been okay, as Lawrence does the talk show circuit to promote the movie. This is a fairly difficult movie that involves a lot of sex, nudity and gut-wrenching violence that might not necessarily appeal to Lawrence’s core fanbase from The Hunger Games. Even so, Lawrence has made her nudity in the film a talking point and who knows? Maybe that’ll be enough to get people into theaters.
Regardless, the best Red Sparrow can do is settle for #2 with somewhere in the $20 million range or slightly lower, but it’s hard to imagine that Jennifer Lawrence’s college-age and older fans won’t be interested in seeing her in a different role than Katniss Everdeen.
|Opening Weekend||Current Gross||Total Facebook Likes||Twitter Activity (Past Week)|
|Death Wish||N/A||N /A||92,316||2,808|
Offered as counterprogramming that will likely fare better among older guys is MGM’s Death Wish remake directed by Hostel’s Eli Roth and starring Bruce Willis as surgeon Paul Kersey, whose wife and daughter are severely injured in a home invasion, so he takes matters into his own hand
The original 1974 Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson, was an early example of the violent revenge thriller, leading to four sequels between 1974 and 1994, all starring Bronson. The Death Wish remake is the first new release by MGM in quite some time, as the studio tries to make its third or fourth comeback in the past two decades. The last time MGM tried remaking one of its films, the last one being the Antoine Fuqua-directed The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, which grossed $93.4 million in 2016. That movie was distributed and marketed by MGM’s long-time collaborative partner Sony, and it fared better than the 2012 Red Dawn remake starring Chris Hemsworth, which was produced by MGM but wasn’t released until years later by the now-defunct Film District, grossing just $45 million on a $65 million budget.
Death Wish is MGM’s return to distribution, and MGM will be distributing a number of remakes this year…. although the Valley Girl remake was just removed from the release schedule. The upcoming Overboard is being distributed via Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films imprint, and Tomb Raider via Warner Bros. (Note: This paragraph was changed to reflect a correction that was made to the distribution of this film and others.)
It’s been quite a long time since Roth directed a theatrically-released studio film, as he’s mainly been making independent films down in Chile, but he follows this with the thriller The House With a Clock in Its Walls, starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett later this year. In fact, it’s also been a couple years since Bruce Willis has had a movie getting a significant U.S. theatrical release but Barry Levinson’s Rock the Kasbah with Bill Murray was an outright bomb.
MGM hasn’t screened the movie much for critics, and reviews will probably only be showing up some time today. Without confirmation that the movie is any good, Death Wish might be a tough sell for those who are skeptical of remakes, but might not be so crazy about what they’ve seen so far. (The movie is actually quite a bit of fun, and it’s great seeing Bruce Willis in this type of role and seeing Roth flex his muscles into a new genre.)
Update: Critics HATED the movie with reviews at 14% on RottenTomatoes.
Despite his absence from cinemas, Willis still has a enough of a name and rep among action movie fans (mainly from his Die Hard series) that Willis taking on a vigilante role like this one should be of interest to his older male fans who have already seen Black Panther. I don’t expect Death Wish to make a ton of money but an opening in the $14 to 16 million range should be doable.
Otherwise, Game Night and Peter Rabbit should comfortably take fourth and fifth place with around $9 to 10 million each.
Dark Sky Films
Let’s get to the limited releases, and I have to start with the historic action-thriller Mohawk from Dark Sky Films and director Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still Here). For the sake of transparency, Ted is one of my good friends (as is the film’s co-writer Grady Hendrix), so I’ve had a chance to see the movie a couple times now, the first time at its premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. The movie is so different from everything else out there, that I can’t help but love the movie. It stars Kanehtilo Horn as Oak, a young Mohawk warrior who seeks revenge against the soldiers responsible for the murder of her family, as she and British companion Joshua (Eamon Farren) are chased through the forest by the despicable Colonely Holt (Ezra Buzzington) and his men. It will screen in select theaters and on iTunes Friday, and you can find out if it’s playing near you on the Official Site.
Also worth checking out is the Israeli film Foxtrot from filmmaker Samuel Maoz (Jerusalem) which Sony Pictures Classics releases in New York and L.A. on Friday. It’s about parents dealing with the death of their son on the warfront, although as we learn, his death doesn’t happen as some seem to think. This was robbed of an Oscar nomination, though I’m not sure it would win if it was nominated… then again, In the Fade also wasn’t nominated and that probably would have won.
After playing Sundance last year, Oscar-winning filmmaker Shawn (Curfew) Christensen’s The Vanishing of Sydney Hall will open at the Village East in New York through A24 (and it has been playing on DirecTV for the past few weeks). It stars Logan Lerman as the title character, who wrote a bestselling novel in high school that made him famous, though his relationship with his girlfriend (Elle Fanning) is falling apart, so he decides to vanish.
IFC Midnight releases The Walking Dead director Julius Ramsay’s appropriately-titled Midnighters, written by his brother Alston Ramsay, about a couple who have to cover up a terrible crime as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. It stars Alex Essoe, Perla Haney-Jardine, Dylan McTee and Ward Horton and will be available in select theaters, On Demand and Digital HD.
Paladin releases two films this weekend, first is Submission, co-released with Green Point Media, which stars Stanley Tucci as Ted Swenson, a college professor unhappy with his marriage to wife Sherrie (Kyra Sedgwick) who finds respite in the arrival of a new student (Addison Timlin) who shows promise. Based on Francine Prose’s novel Blue Angel, which itself was based on the Marlene Dietrich film from 1930, it opens in New York on Friday at the Landmark on 57th and then in L.A. and other cities on March 9.
The second film from Paladin is Philip Gelatt’s debut feature They Remain based on Laird Barron’s short story “-30-,“ and starring William Jackson Harper and Rebecca Henderson as two scientists hired by a corporation to investigate a horrible situation that took place at the camp of a mysterious cult. It opens in New York at the Village East Cinemas Friday and then in L.A. (at the Laemmle Music Hall) on Friday, March 9.
Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert’s new film Souvenir will open at the Quad Cinema Friday after premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016. Written and directed by Bavo Defurne, the film stars Huppert as a retired singer working at a paté factory but is pushed into making a comeback by a young co-worker.
Switching gears, fledgling distributor Entertainment Studios releases Greg Campbell’s doc Hondros (exec. produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Lee Curtis) about conflict photographer Chris Hondros, who was killed in 2011.
Film Movement releases the Indie Spirit award-nominated Japanese film Oh Lucy! starring Shinobu Terajima (who received that nomination) as a lonely single woman who is convinced to take an unorthodox English class for which she needs to take on an American alter ego, “Lucy.” Also, Uncork’d Entertainment is releasing Darrell James Roodt’s The Lullaby in select cities and On Demand. It’s a movie about a new mother trying to deal with the birth of her first baby.
Lastly, Netflix is streaming Robin Aubert’s French-Canadian horror film Ravenous (Les Affamés), which won the award for Best Canadian Feature at TIFF last year, beginning tomorrow.
That’s it for this week. Check back on Saturday for an update on how well the movies are doing.
That’s it for now. Check back on Saturday morning for an update on how the movies above are faring and then I’ll have the full weekend box office report on Monday.
(Sources: boxofficemojo.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb.com, metacritic.com. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may have changed. Tracking Board does not report Rotten Tomatoes user ratings for movies that have not yet seen wide release.)
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor