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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Buscemi2 » January 8th, 2018, 7:01 pm

Christmas and New Year’s are all but a distant memory as 2018 gets swinging. And what’s this, another holiday weekend? Sounds good to me. Last year, Hidden Figures continued to kick box office hinder as with the exception of a post-Golden Globes bump of La La Land and the one-and-done The Bye Bye Man, pretty much all of the wide openers disappointed or in the case of Live by Night, did so poorly that it was dropped from more theatres in its third week than any other movie ever (disappointing the seven fans of Meet Dave that could claim the movie had a distinction). Let’s hope this year will be better.

Last Week

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle just keeps on going, dropping only 26% in its third week to take in $37.2 million. The total gross now stands at $245.6 million. Second was another sequel, Insidious: The Last Key, opening to an impressive $29.6 million. This is the second best opening for the franchise and barring an enormous drop, should be the second most popular in the series (behind Chapter 2). Third was, you guessed it, another sequel as Star Wars: The Last Jedi shed 55% from last week to take in $23.7 million. It has now taken in $572.7 million. Fourth was the very leggy The Greatest Showman, which only went down 11% to $13.8 million. It has now grossed $76.9 million. And rounding out the top five was Pitch Perfect 3, losing 39% to make $10.3 million for the weekend. Its take is currently at $86 million. The only other wide release was an expansion of Molly’s Game, which made $6.9 million after a strong semi-wide debut on Christmas Day. Its gross is currently at $14.1 million and barring some Oscar miracle, seems to have peaked.

In the limited release front, The Post had the highest PTA with $47,167 per in an expansion to 36 theatres. It aims to continue its momentum as it expands wide on Friday. Second was Phantom Thread, continuing its (mostly) 70mm exclusive run with a $40,040 clip in six theatres. More theatres (a few getting 70mm prints) will get it on Friday. Third was Jumanji while fourth was the well-marketed I, Tonya, taking in $9,554 in over 200 theatres. It looks to be going wide also on Friday, especially with Allison Janney’s Golden Globe win (speaking of which, what did they see in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri that we didn’t?). Fifth was Insidious.

This Week

“Commuter” Route

Starting off this Holiday weekend is the 2,800 theatre opener The Commuter (Lionsgate), another teaming between director Jaume Collet-Serra and star Liam Neeson. Since 2011, Collet-Serra has directed four films with Neeson as his leading man, Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night, and this film. The films are often simple formula plots that can be described in a paragraph or less but they are usually entertaining and with the exception of the darker Run All Night, often make a decent amount of change for their producers.

After taking on taxi cabs, planes, and foot chases, Collet-Serra and Neeson decide to go for a new form of transportation: trains (hmm, maybe we’ll get a remake of David Koepp’s Premium Rush in a few years where Liam’s a bike messenger two days from retirement). The premise focuses on an insurance salesman (Neeson) taking his daily commute home. While on the train, a mysterious passenger (Vera Farmiga) takes a seat next to him and offers him $100,000 to identify another passenger before the last stop. However, things quickly become complicated as a conspiracy is uncovered and deadly consequences must be faced if the mystery isn’t solved in time. Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern, Sam Neill, and Florence Pugh also star.

Early word has been mixed, with critics panning its unoriginality but praising its pace and strive for entertaining the audience. So this one seems to be definitely at home for Neeson’s fans. But will it translate to box office? The first three Neeson/Collet-Serra teamings have ranged between $26 million (Run All Night) and $92 million (Non-Stop). The PG-13 rating and holiday weekend should allow it to play better than Run All Night did but could audiences be tiring of their formula? It’s a tricky proposition.

Box Office Potential: the averages would suggest a $20.6 million opening and a $60.8 million finish but I’m thinking it does a little less. I’m going to say $16 million opening ($18 million four-day) and a $45 million finish. A serviceable pick but there might be gold left to seek in later weeks.

“Paddington” Station

Our second release is opening in 3,600 theatres. Paddington 2 (Warner Bros.), a sequel to the 2014 worldwide hit that got a late start in the US but still charmed audiences to the tune of $76 million. The film was a late addition to the Warner Bros. schedule after the Weinstein scandal led financier Studiocanal and producer David Heyman (the Harry Potter guy) to attempt to seize the production, believing that a family film being distributed by a company formerly led by a man responsible for so many misdeeds was inappropriate. Not surprisingly, this announcement led to a bidding war for the US rights. Lionsgate, Sony, and Annapurna (via MGM) wanted the film but in the end, Warner Bros. used their relationship with Heyman to their advantage and snatched up the rights and the project is now in good hands.

The plot of this recent international hit focuses on the bear in the duffle coat with a crippling marmalade addiction and his continued relationship with the Brown family as well as Paddington working a series of odd jobs to raise enough money to buy his aunt in Darkest Peru a birthday present. However, the present is stolen shortly after he is able to buy the gift and now, Paddington must get the present back. The plot might sound like a series of vignettes but the first was somewhat built this way and that worked. Paul King (who pulled out of Wonder to direct the sequel) returns as director and much of the original cast (led by Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, and Hugh Bonneville) returns as well, with Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson joining the cast this time around.

Early reviews have been extremely positive but European productions tend to have a mixed result at the box office. Some (the first Paddington, the Taken series) make money while others (much of the Aardman canon) are well-reviewed but struggle to find an audience or in the case of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, simply get ignored. But with a major studio backing this one and opening on a weekend traditionally kind to family-friendly fare, it should be one of the more successful imports of the year.

Box Office Potential: audiences loved the first film and I expect they’ll adore this one as well. However, there is the issue of a still-hot Jumanji along with the late start of the ad campaign. The first film opened to $25.5 million around the same time three years ago before finishing at just over $76 million. I’m going to say this will open to $18 million ($23.5 million four-day) and top out at $80 million. One of the better mid-priced picks in the game.

“Proud Mary”, Keep on Burning

We keep going with Proud Mary (Sony/Screen Gems), opening in 2,200 theatres, a thriller with a leading lady that’s fast looking like the queen of January. Taraji P. Henson scored last year with a wide expansion of Hidden Figures and this, along with next January’s What Men Want (a gender-reversed remake of 2000’s What Women Want), is the hope that she can bring in an audience on her own. She’s got a strong resume but will it happen? After the synopsis.

Proud Mary focuses on a hired killer who works for an organized crime family in Boston (it seems like a good fourth of Hollywood movies are set in Boston nowadays). One day, a job goes wrong when the wrong person gets whacked and a child orphaned. Now, it’s up to the hitwoman to protect the child before things get worse. Also in the cast are Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, Xander Berkeley, Margaret Avery, and Rade Serbedzija.

Now if you’re thinking “where have I heard this before?”, I’m not surprised. The premise sounds a lot like John Cassavetes’ Gloria, which has been remade twice (once officially in 1999 from Sidney Lumet and again unofficially with a sci-fi twist as 2006’s Ultraviolet) as well as a gender-reversed version of Luc Besson’s Leon. The choice of director also doesn’t show much promise, as his last film was London Has Fallen. However, this might not matter. Henson’s shown she can carry a film and the director’s last film made money. As long as it delivers on the action (as well as its 70’s-style ad campaign, which suggests a throwback to Pam Grier vehicles), that will make the difference.

Box Office Potential: though this won’t have the appeal of Henson’s Hidden Figures (mainly due to the R rating), the choice of this weekend is perfect timing and should have no problem breaking out. However, I also expect a fast drop (albeit not on the level of last year’s The Bye Bye Man). I’m going to say this opens to $19 million ($23 million five-day) and finishes out at $48 million, though both could go higher with similar legs.

Arthouse Class 101

This week, there are two movies to take care of.

Condorito: The Movie (Lionsgate/Pantelion) - this is yet another independently-made animated sci-fi film focusing on a condor (at least it’s not monkeys for some unexplained reason) who is tasked to save the world and his family from an evil alien. From what I can gather, much of the humor from the comic book is derived from Condorito being a simpleton, often lazy but kind (kind of like an animal Homer Simpson), and often being adult-aimed and possibly misogynistic in nature. So who decided this needed to be a family-friendly movie? There must be some cultural thing I don’t understand (I found that movie with the talking Easter eggs bizarre but it was a hit in Mexico).

The film was a major flop in Mexico, which isn’t too surprising since this isn’t a character native to Mexico. In Chile, the film played a lot better but that’s more of a minor market in terms of box office. The character is even less known in the US and coming while Coco is still playing, will anyone care about this one? My Little Pony: The Movie had more of an audience than this.

Opening in 150 theatres (changed from a wide release), I expect no PTA points and a gross under a million for its entire run.

Vazante (Music Box) – this is a historical film from Brazil (with some financing from Portugal) focusing on slavery in 1821. The story is about a rich cattle herder whose wife dies in childbirth. Now left with his property and his slaves, he enters another marriage with the niece of his deceased wife. When the rancher leaves his child bride alone with the slaves, she discovers the harsh world that inhibits the land.

Made with parallels to modern Brazil, the black and white-shot film was screened at Berlin last year and seems to have gotten mixed to positive early word, praising first-time director Daniela Thomas’ subtle but shattering pacing of the subject matter. With this mainly being the only game in town for this week’s limited releases, it should be good for 4-6 PTA points.

Other Notables: not in the game but of interest include Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game (Gravitas Ventures), the final film of Martin Landau’s long career, Freak Show (IFC), Trudie Styler’s anti-bullying drama with a stellar cast, Humor Me (Shout! Factory), a father-son comedy with Jemaine Clement and Elliott Gould (also the second retirement-themed film this weekend featuring Maria Dizzia in the cast, the mentioned above Abe & Phil is the other), The Insult (Cohen), an Israeli-Palestinian conflict-themed drama, and Lover for a Day (Mubi), a well-reviewed French drama about love in Paris.

Top 5
-Box Office: Proud Mary, Jumanji, Paddington 2, The Commuter, The Post
-PTA: Phantom Thread, Proud Mary, Vazante, Act 2, Yankees 1

Next Week: Six will cover three wide releases, 12 Strong: The Declassified Yadda Yadda, Etc., Biscuit Pants Shindig (Warner Bros.), Den of Thieves (STX), and Forever My Girl (Roadside Attractions/LD Entertainment).

Brooks was here.

Box Office Memories

2008: The Bucket List had a very strong expansion to wide release, topping the weekend with a $19.4 million take. Second was the Ice Cube/Tracy Morgan heist comedy First Sunday with a $17.7 million opening. Third was Juno, continuing to mesmerize audiences with its incomprehensible dialogue, with $13.6 million in its third weekend of wide release (sixth total). Dropping from first to fourth in its fourth weekend was National Treasure: Book of Secrets with $11.3 million and in fifth was Alvin and the Chipmunks with $9.3 million. Also opening were The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, taking ninth with $4.3 million and more or less killing the VeggieTales franchise outside of a brief Netflix revival, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, bombing at fourteenth with a $3 million weekend (fun fact: this was already at the cheap theatres by its third week).

On the limited scene, the PTA weekend was won by a low-budget horror called Baby Blues, making $17,234 in a single theatre (remember, this was during a time when any indie horror film could make money with a good review from a shill site and claiming it was like the 80’s slashers). Second and third were taken by more prestigious titles There Will Be Blood and Persepolis, fourth was the pregnancy documentary The Business of Being Born and First Sunday took fifth.

1998: Titanic continued its reign at the top with a $28.7 million weekend. Awards fare continued to be the name of the game with the next three spots with wide expansions of Good Will Hunting and Wag the Dog taking second and fourth, respectively, with $10.3 million and $7.8 million weekends. The continuing As Good as it Gets was third was $9 million while Tomorrow Never Dies rounded out the top five with $7.5 million. The only new wide release, the Howie Long vehicle Firestorm, failed to ignite with a $3.8 million take.

As for PTA, Martin Scorsese’s Kundun was the big winner with a $19,296 cume in two theatres. Second was a documentary, Arguing the World, making $14,545 in one theatre. Titanic, Good Will Hunting, and As Good as it Gets were 3-4-5.

1988: A big weekend for openers and expansions (especially expansions) as Good Morning, Vietnam dethroned the powerful Three Men and a Baby with an $11.8 million weekend in just 785 theatres. Three Men and a Baby was second with $8 million (it also passed $100 million on this weekend). Taking third was a wide expansion of Moonstruck with $5.1 million. Fourth and fifth were a pair of openers, For Keeps? ($4.8 million) and Return of the Living Dead Part 2 ($3.6 million). The week’s other wide opener, The Couch Trip, got lost in the shuffle with $3.4 million.

On the PTA front, Good Morning, Vietnam ($14,971) and Moonstruck ($7,983) stayed in first and second despite expanding wide. Third was The Last Emperor, still holding strong in 91 theatres, with a near $7,500 clip, For Keeps? was fourth, and still hanging on in fifth was Broadcast News.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Shrykespeare » January 9th, 2018, 8:10 am

I LOVE your columns, Boosh. I laughed out loud at least four times reading that.

Hmm... wonder if I should quietly slip Vazante onto my roster...


Celebrity birthdays:

William B. Davis turns 80 on 1/13 (fans of X-Files will know who this is)
Carl Weathers turns 70 on 1/14 (Apollo Creed! Action Jackson! The guy who got his arm sliced off by the Predator!)
LL Cool J turns 50 on 1/14 (does he even make music anymore?)
Happy 40th birthday Anthony Mackie! (9/23/18)
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby numbersix » January 9th, 2018, 8:23 am

Great analysis, Boosch.

I think Paddington will surprise. The first came out of nowhere, at least for a US audience, and it was adored. I think this could do even better, and think it'll top the box office, though you're right in that Jumanji will have an impact on how high it can go.

Proud Mary doesn't seem to be gaining any traction, but because of the weekend it could do fine. I'm less convinced about The Commuter.

Also not sure about those limited releases. Maybe a point for Vazante?

My Top 5 Predictions

1. Paddington 2 - 21m (26m 4-day)
2. Jumanji 2 - 20m (25m 4-day)
3. The Post - 17m (20m 4-day)
4. Proud Mary 16m (20m 4-day)
5. The Commuter - 10m (13m 4-day)

PTA: Phantom thread, Paddington, Jumanji, Proud Mary, Vazante
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Buscemi2 » January 9th, 2018, 8:58 am

I haven't seen much for Proud Mary outside of a trailer and those great posters (if Solo's teaser poster is the year's worst so far, both Proud Mary posters are among the year's best) but I think that there is a market for an escapist action film for at least one weekend until word-of-mouth sets in (its 88 minute runtime and the fact that it was still being worked on last month isn't the best sign of quality). The Commuter will get some IMAX screens this weekend so that will help it (also, it seems to resemble Non-Stop and that did very well).

Meanwhile, I can't see The Post sustaining its positive momentum. It got shut out at the Globes (though in recent years, the Critics' Choice Awards have become a stronger indicator of Oscar glory and it's expected that The Shape of Water will thrive) and it won't play in markets that ignore the fact that the First Amendment covers freedom of the press and choose to openly support censorship. The $100 million number Box Office has thrown around is simply wishful thinking.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Shrykespeare » January 12th, 2018, 7:27 pm

Theater Counts:

Paddington 2 - 3,702
The Commuter - 2,892
The Post (expansion) - 2,819
Proud Mary - 2,125
Condorito - 153



Next week:

12 Strong - 2,900+
Den of Thieves - 2,400+
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Shrykespeare » January 13th, 2018, 2:07 pm

Friday Estimates:

Jumanji, $6.1M
The Post, $5.9M
The Commuter, $4.6M
Insidious 4, $3.4M
Proud Mary, $3.2M
Greatest Showman, $3.0M
Star Wars, $2.7M
Paddington 2, $2.4M
Pitch Perfect 3, $1.4M
Darkest Hour, $1.2M
Molly's Game, $1.1M
I Tonya, $1.0M




Weekend Projections (4-day):

Jumanji, $32M
The Post, $20M
The Commuter, $14.5M
Star Wars, $14M
Greatest Showman, $13.7M
Paddington 2, $12.2M
Proud Mary, $12.1M
Insidious 4, $12M
Darkest Hour, $5.6M
Coco, $4.7M
Molly's Game, $4.6M


PTA:
It's going to be a tight race between Jumanji, The Post, I Tonya, and Hostiles based on these projected numbers.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby numbersix » January 13th, 2018, 6:21 pm

Boy was I wrong on Paddington 2.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Buscemi2 » January 13th, 2018, 7:26 pm

I was wrong about Proud Mary. And after seeing the film, I'm not surprised.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Shrykespeare » January 14th, 2018, 12:52 pm

Weekend Estimates

Top 10:
5 points - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, $27.0M
4 points - The Post, $18.6M
3 points - The Commuter, $13.4M
2 points - Insidious: The Last Key, $12.1M
1 point - The Greatest Showman, $11.8M
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, $11.3M
Paddington 2, $10.6M
Proud Mary, $10.0M
Pitch Perfect 3, $5.7M
Darkest Hour, $4.5M



PTA:
5 points - Phantom Thread
4 points - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
3 points - The Post
2 points - Hostiles
1 point - I, Tonya

Neither Condorito nor Vazante even came close.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Chienfantome » January 14th, 2018, 3:24 pm

The power of Jumanji has no end.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Shrykespeare » January 15th, 2018, 7:24 pm

Weekend Estimates (Fri-Sun):

Top 10:
5 points - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, $28.1M
4 points - The Post, $19.3M
3 points - The Commuter, $13.7M
2 points - The Greatest Showman, $12.5M
1 point - Insidious: The Last Key, $12.4M
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, $12.1M
Paddington 2, $10.9M
Proud Mary, $9.9M
Pitch Perfect 3, $6.0M
Darkest Hour, $4.5M

Still just estimates, but more solid now. Final numbers will be posted Tuesday.



PTA:
5 points - Phantom Thread, $18.4K
4 points - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, $7.3K
3 points - The Post, $6.8K
2 points - Hostiles, $6.7K
1 point - I, Tonya, $6.5K
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Walleye413 » January 15th, 2018, 8:20 pm

The Greatest Showman is still in the Top 5, and Star Wars is not. Crazy.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Buscemi2 » January 15th, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Greatest Showman got a boost due to the sing-a-long version. Rather they tried to reissue good musicals.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Shrykespeare » January 16th, 2018, 9:05 pm

]Weekend Actuals (Fri-Sun):

Top 10:
5 points - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, $28.1M (18)
4 points - The Post, $19.4M (4)
3 points - The Commuter, $13.7M (3)
2 points - The Greatest Showman, $12.5M (8)
1 point - Insidious: The Last Key, $12.4M (5)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, $11.9M
Paddington 2, $11.0M
Proud Mary, $10.0M
Pitch Perfect 3, $6.0M
Darkest Hour, $4.5M



PTA:
5 points - Phantom Thread, $18,513 (13)
4 points - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, $7,301 (12)
3 points - The Post, $6,868 (18)
2 points - Hostiles, $6,506 (2)
1 point - I, Tonya, $6,504 (17)

Wow. Only $2 between 4th and 5th place. Good to see Hostiles avoid the PTA goose egg.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 12th-14th

Postby Buscemi2 » January 16th, 2018, 9:46 pm

In a couple weekend, Hostiles expands to 3,000 theatres. Possibly no more PTA points but it could snag a Top 5 point.
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