Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

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With the holidays over, here come the doldrums of January, where nothing really seems to happen even when there is a big success. It’s like the old conundrum of the tree falling: did it really happen? This week: two long-delayed wide releases and a long-delayed limited release.

Last Week

Star Wars led a weekend of holdovers while 1917 won the PTA title again. The only wide opener, The Grudge, opened to $11.4 million but will fall quickly thanks to its F Cinemascore. That’s all, basically.

This Week

You’re Not the “Boss” of Me Now

First on the docket is Like a Boss (Paramount), a holdover from last summer back when it was called Limited Partners. This comedy from the once-consistent indie talent Miguel Arteta stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as a pair of cosmetic entrepreneurs who after running up a near-half million debt, decide to sell to a well-off Mary Kay-like figure (Salma Hayek). When they learn that she intends to take the credit for the duo’s work, our heroines decide to take revenge and ruin their new rival. Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter co-star.

Despite being shot in 2018, the film looks and feels much more dated. It seems to be more like some forgettable 2000’s comedy written and directed by men who are afraid of women and think that they are single-minded and obsessed with two or three things. The situations also feel like they are lifted from the kind of chick flick that killed the sub-genre completely in the past decade. For a high-concept spec this was pitched as, it makes you wonder what Paramount saw it this. In addition, what has happened to Haddish’s career? It’s as if she stopped trying after Girls Trip became a hit. 2019 was not her year and I could see this being another strike against her overexposure.

Box Office Potential: Paramount had a decent-sized hit last year with its gender-swapped remake of What Women Want, What Men Want. But that film had a better marketing campaign and opened on a prime February date. This just seems to be a film Paramount wants to rid of. In addition, the short run time of 83 minutes suggest the film is terrible. $7 million opening, $20 million finish.

Going “Under”

The other title being covered is Underwater (Disney/Fox), a long-on-the-shelf sci-fi film (shot three years ago!) which is basically a modern-day update of the 1989 “Aliens under the sea” thriller Leviathan. Kristen Stewart, who’s been in a number of films since this one, leads the cast as an underwater researcher who with her team is stationed seven miles under the ocean. After an earthquake damages their rig, the team decides to leave the station to get help. Unfortunately, a being is waiting to take them out one by one (it’s PG-13 so you won’t get to see anything too messy). Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, and John Gallagher Jr. co-star.

The film was completed way before the Disney/Fox merger and had been in test screenings two years earlier, which leaves the question as to why Fox has been so hesitant to release it. One possibility is Stewart’s lack of box office success outside of Twilight, some of it by choice. Another one is the industry cutting ties with Miller after his very public meltdown a few years back which led to his Silicon Valley character being written out. But the most likely reason is that this $80 million film just isn’t very good. Opening in January and saddling a PG-13 rating on it feels like a last-ditch move to make some money back. Ignore its Alien-esque trailer. There’s a strong possibility that this film is a dog.

Box Office Potential: with a much more thrilling option in 1917 and many notable action still running, is there anyone clamoring for a sanitized and dated monster movie with nothing marketable in sight? $5 million opening, $11 million finish.

Arthouse Class 101

Three Christs (IFC) – I didn’t think I’d have to cover this one but IFC chose to push this one back a week. Shot four years ago and having been shown at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival before awaiting distribution for an eternity, this medical drama has a stacked cast (Richard Gere, Julianna Marguiles, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins, Bradley Whitford) and a director who’s made some major films in the past. So why is this getting such a low profile release?

The premise is based on the 1964 non-fiction book The Three Christs of Ypsilanti and focuses on three mental patients studied by a doctor (Gere) as their paranoid schizophrenic delusions have led them to believe they are Jesus Christ.

The subject matter sounds weighty but seems easy to screw up, which suggests that is the reason why IFC is dumping this film in favor of more fruitful post-theatrical markets. Much like the other films covered, it’s the kind of item that opens in January: hard to market and past its best by date. I can’t muster much else to say.

Zero PTA points and a three to four figure gross.

Box Office: 1917, Just Mercy, Star Wars, Jumanji, Little Women
PTA: 1917, Just Mercy, Star Wars, Jumanji, Little Women

Next week, Shryke will take on two wide releases, Dolittle (Universal) and Bad Boys for Life (Sony/Columbia).
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

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With a much bigger budget, I don't see why Underwater wouldn't do similar numbers to the 47 Meters films?
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

Post by Shrykespeare »

Celebrity birthdays:

Erin Gray turns 70 on 1/7
Sarah Shahi turns 40 on 1/10
Oliver Platt turns 60 on 1/12
Happy 50th birthday Christopher Nolan! (7/30/20)

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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

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The Globes win will certainly boost 1917 box-office prospects. It couldn't come at a better time. Opening weekend numbers will surely be stronger than expected, and its long term chances are better than ever.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

Post by Shrykespeare »

Friday Estimates

1917, $14.0M
Star Wars, $3.9M
Like a Boss, $3.9M
Just Mercy, $3.6M
Jumanji, $3.3M
Underwater, $2.5M
Little Women, $2.2M
Knives Out, $1.7M
Frozen II, $1.2M
The Grudge, $1.0M




Weekend Projections:

1917, $37M
Star Wars, $14.8M
Jumanji, $12.9M
Like a Boss, $10.2M
Just Mercy, $10M
Little Women, $7.8M
Frozen II, $6.9M
Underwater, $6.5M
Spies in Disguise, $6.2M
Knives Out, $5.8M
Uncut Gems, $3.5M
The Grudge, $3.3M
Happy 50th birthday Christopher Nolan! (7/30/20)

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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

Post by Shrykespeare »

Weekend Estimates

Top 10:
5 points - 1917, $36.5M
4 points - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, $15.1M
3 points - Jumanji: The Next Level, $14.0M
2 points - Just Mercy, $10.0M
1 point - Like a Boss, $10.0M
Little Women, $7.6M
Underwater, $7.0M
Frozen II, $5.8M
Knives Out, $5.7M
Spies in Disguise, $5.1M



PTA:
5 points - 1917, $10.6K
4 points - Just Mercy, $4.2K
3 points - Jumanji: The Next Level, $3.6K
2 points - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, $3.5K
1 point - Like a Boss, $3.2K
Happy 50th birthday Christopher Nolan! (7/30/20)

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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: January 10th-12th

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Well that expanded opening weekend number of 1917 tends to think now that the film should easily reach $115M, and depending on the award season and WOM, could go end up between 130M and 140M...
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