New Line / Universal
Rampage (New Line/WB)
A Quiet Place (Paramount)
Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (Universal)
Ready Player One (Warner Bros.)
It’s the second weekend of April, and hopefully, it will be another strong weekend continuing the last few decent weekends at the box office. Friday is the 13th, which means that horror films like last week’s A Quiet Place should receive added business as the kids want to be scared
New Line / WB
Hands-down, the strongest release of the weekend is New Line’s Rampage, based on the ‘80s arcade game, and reuniting San Andreas star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with director Brad Peyton. Besides starring the Rock, the movie also features giant monsters that have been the bread and butter for Legendary Pictures with Pacific Rim and its sequel, the Godzilla remake and last year’s Kong: Skull Island. The kids just LOVE those giant monsters. (And by kids, I mean, me.)
Johnson is coming off the biggest hit of his career with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle topping $400 million domestic after opening with just $36 million before Christmas against Star Wars: The Last Jedi but then outlasting it in the #1 spot for most of January. Johnson and Peyton’s San Andreas was a huge hit, as well, opening in the summer of 2015 with $54.6 million opening and $155.4 million domestic. It made twice that amount overseas. And then you look at Johnson’s contribution to the Fast and Furious franchise, joining with Fast Five and already in development on a Vin Diesel-less spin-off series with Jason Statham.
Jumanji benefitted from it being marketed as a family film even though it was PG-13, and Rampage is more in the vein of what Johnson’s 17 to 34-year-old male demographic might be into. It’s also opening against much stronger returning movies than San Andreas did, yet it’s probably going to get equally mixed-to-negative reviews.
In normal circumstances, Rampage would be an easy $40 million plus opening, and maybe it will still come close, but it just doesn’t seem like it has nearly as much buzz as some of his other movies, and it might be hard to get those waiting for Avengers: Infinity War to bother going out to the movies a few weeks earlier.
Paramount’s A Quiet Place should have a stronger second weekend than horror movies normally get, as we’re definitely into M. Night Shyamalan territory (at least his bigger hits like Signs), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the John Krasinski does around $30 million this weekend, give or take, with a nice Friday the 13th bump.
|Opening Weekend||Current Gross||Total Facebook Likes|
|A Quiet Place||$50.2m||$59.7m||248,819|
|Truth or Dare||N/A||N/A||57,477|
|Ready Player One||$41.8m||$100.5m||263,974|
Universal / Blumhouse
Offering more scares for the younger set is Blumhouse and Universal Pictures’ high concept PG-13 horror film Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare – yup, they’ve gotten to the point where they need to let people know it’s Blumnouse in the title, but couldn’t they have started that with a better movie? For this one, which involves a popular party game that plays those who refuse to play, Blumhouse is hoping the Friday the 13th horror bump plus the PG-13 rating will help this do decently among the teen crowd.
The movie is directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) and stars Lucy Hale (never heard of her), Tyler Posey (from the Scream: The TV Series and Jane the Virgin) and a bunch of young actors who have nothing better to do and are too young to know better.
No surprise that reviews for this party game-inspired horror movie are probably gonna be horrid, partially because critics generally don’t like teen-targeted horror, but also because it’s very, VERY bad movie. Truth or Dare will probably be the best test yet to see if young moviegoers care about reviews and quality horror or they’ll just take whatever they get.
Like Rampage above, this might have done better in any other weekend despite the Friday the 13th bump, and this movie bringing in $15 or 16 million would be considered… better than what the movie would have done if released by BH Tilt?
Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which just became the fourth movie of the year to cross the $100 million mark, will drop to fourth place with around $14 to 15 million, followed by the Universal comedy Blockers with $11 million, both doing decently due to word-of-mouth despite the strong new releases.
Expanding nationwide into roughly 1,750 theaters by Fox Searchlight, Wes Anderson’s animated Isle of Dogs is already doing better than the auteur’s last animated movie The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which tapped out at $21 million despite a holiday release and an Oscar nomination. Isle of Dogs seems to be receiving similar rave reviews and with $12.8 million grossed so far, I can see this making as much as $6 million or more this weekend, especially if deprived family audiences think it will be good for older kids.
Getting a surprise nationwide release this weekend is the political thriller Beirut, which Bleecker Street released into around 754 theaters on Wednesday. Written by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) and directed by Brad Anderson (Session 9), the movie stars Jon Hamm as a negotiator called back to Lebanon in the early ‘80s to try to rescue a hostage CIA agent. Rosamund Pike from the recent Focus Features release 7 Days in Entebbe plays his handler. This is a decent political thriller, which I first saw at Sundance and really enjoyed. I even spoke with Gilroy and Anderson and learned quite a bit about the film’s 27-year-journey from script to screen, which could be a record? Anyway, I wouldn’t expect this to make more than $2 million this weekend, even though reviews are generally good so far, which is very important for an adult-targetted drama.
The next wide release is something called Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, an animated movie about a dog, which will try to compete with Isle of Dogs but doesn’t have nearly the marketing budget to really get it out there. Opening in around 1,000 theaters, I wouldn’t expect this to make more than $2 million, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up with closer to $1.4 million or even less.
At one point, Neon was going to release Borg vs McEnroe, their Sundance pick-up starring Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf, nationwide, and there’s still some question on how many theaters will play the movie this weekend. It could be in anywhere from 200 to 800, but it could also be somewhere in between and even with 500 theaters, it seems like this will be hard to top a million against much stronger films.
|A Quiet Place||96%||87%||8.2||82||B+|
|Truth or Dare||24%||N/A||N/A||37||N/A|
|Ready Player One||74%||80%||7.9||64||A-|
Let’s get into a few specialty releases and there’s some good stuff this week, just like last week.
Sony Pictures Classics
The best of the lot is probably Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, a drama being released in New York and L.A. by Sony Pictures Classics after running the festival gauntlet with critical acclaim and audience awards. Zhao also received the first-ever Bonnie Award at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards where The Rider received four nominations. The movie also received an award at the Cannes Film Festival, where it first premiered. The Rider stars actual rodeo rider and horse-whisperer Brady Jandrea as Brady Blackburn, who tries to come to terms with not being able to ride again after a potentially life-threatening injury when thrown from a horse. It’s a great companion film to Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete released last week, though they’re very different movies. (Look for my interview with Ms. Zhao very soon.)
Next up is three more horror films… seriously, did the marketing people from all these companies go to the same marketing course?… But these are smaller releases that aren’t getting nearly as much attention.
Having just premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, Fritz Böhm’s Wildling stars Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) as Anna, a young girl who has been living for years in a cabin with her “Daddy” (Brad Dourif) before being rescued and taken in by a small-town sherrif (Liv Tyler) as Anna tries to come to terms with her new life and dark past. (I’ll also have an interview with Böhm coming soon, as well.)
Also this weekend, Magnolia Pictures’ genre imprint Magnet releases Marrowbone, the directorial debut by Sergio Sanchez, writer of The Orphanage and The Impossible, which stars George MacKay (Captain Fantastic), Anya Taylor-Joy (Split) and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton as three of four siblings who look for refuge in an old home after the death of their mother, only to discover something more sinister within. It opens in select cities but not New York or L.A. so those outside its select cities will have to watch On Demand or on Amazon or iTunes.
From India comes Karthik Subbaraj’s Mercury, a silent horror movie that has the misfortune of opening in 87 theaters (via PrimeMedia) against the near-silent horror movie A Quiet Place. Indian films do well in the States in select cities, and it will be interesting if the horror genre will drive business to this on Friday the 13th in the same way it does the wider-released horror films. The film itself is kind of awkward, as it tries to be a film in the vein of I Know What You Did Last Summer, but the decision to make the five young protagonists deaf and using sign language (with no sub-titles) is it going to make it a tough film to crossover
Believe it or not, German auteur Wim Wenders has a new movie this weekend called Submergence, starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander, and it will be released day-and-date in select theaters and On Demand via Samuel Goldwyn films. Written by Erin Dignam, it’s a love story involving a chance encounter in Normandy between two people each on dangerous missions, he for the British Secret Service and her working on a deep-sea diving project to discover the origins of life.
Saban Films offers An Ordinary Man, the new film from Brad (Moonlight Mile, Casper) Silberling starring Sir Ben Kingsley as a war criminal on the run from the authorities, who develops a relationship with the maid (Hera Hilmer) that looks after him, not realizing she’s an agent sent to protect him.
Great Point Media and Paladin offer a couple new indie films from the festival circuit:
Aardvark, Brian Shoaf’s directorial debut, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and it stars Zachary Quinto as Josh, a troubled man with mental issues who has not seen his famous actor brother Craig (Hamm) in many years, though he keeps imagining him in various people he meets on the street, much to the chagrin of his therapist Emily (played by Jenny Slate). Oh, and Jenny Slate plays another character who sleeps with the first man who comes along, or rather the second, as she begins a relationship with Craig.
William H. Macy goes back behind the camera to direct Krystal, an ensemble dramedy starring Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, Love, Simon) as Taylor Ogburn, as a young man with a heart condition that doesn’t allow him to enjoy his youth until he meets a troubled ex-alcoholic woman (played by Rosario Dawson) with a disabled 16-year-old son who he tries to win over by pretending to be in AA. Written by Will Aldis, it opens in select cities and On Demand.
Other films out this weekend include Vertical Entertainment’s 10X10 starring Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly; Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel’s Zama from Strand Releasing; and Gregory Caruso’s period coming-of-age film Flock of Four from Abramorama.
And of course, the new Lost in Space series debuts on Netflix Friday, so I totally understand anyone who wants to stay inside this weekend and watch that instead of going outside.
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