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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Buscemi2 » May 29th, 2018, 7:38 pm

“It was his hat, Mr. Krabs! HE WAS NUMBER ONE!” – SpongeBob SquarePants

Sadly, we are not talking about Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen. Instead, we will be going over three wide releases and one limited release.

Last Week

To the surprise of no one, Solo: A Star Wars Story won the weekend with an impressive but disappointing $84.4 million weekend ($103 million four-day). Second and third were taken by Marvel superheroes, Deadpool 2 with $43.5 million ($53.8 million four-day, 65% drop) and Avengers: Infinity War with $17.3 million ($22.5 million four-day). Fourth and fifth were taken by the ladies, as Book Club made $10.1 million ($13.1 million four-day, 26% drop) and Life of the Party did $5.4 million ($6.9 million four-day).

On the PTA scene, not much to say other than First Reformed took four more PTA points.

This Week

Lights, Camera, “Action”

First on the release docket is Action Point (Paramount). The film is loosely based on events that took place at a Vernon, New Jersey theme park called Action Park, where during its near-two decade history, the park gained infamy for its numerous accidents and incidents and a number of deaths. So what did Johnny Knoxville, his team of screenwriters, and director Tim Kirkby (TV’s Brockmire) have in mind for this house of horrors? Why, they decided to make a wacky comedy out of it!

The premise, told from the viewpoint of an older version of Knoxville’s character (in old age makeup again), focuses on a struggling theme park owner who in an attempt to get a leg up on the competition, decides to sell danger and death-defying stunts to a hungry populace to beat the system. Many dick jokes and hits to the testicles and penises (including Knoxville’s own broken one) occur.

I have to wonder how much longer Knoxville can continue to punish his body the way he has all these years. When he did it on Jackass, he was young and stupid and I guess that made it okay. But he’s not getting any younger and he’s been worse for wear in recent years (notice that the film is being sold around the actors doing their own stunts). In addition, making a comedy based around a theme park where people died just screams “poor taste”. But of course, audiences just want to be entertained and the consensus of 80’s children who grew up with Action Park basically say “people died but I loved it and only my opinion matters, BEST DECADE EVER!OMG!”

Box Office Potential: a few weeks back, I would have said this would have been one of the summer’s biggest surprises. However, Paramount scaling back on its release plans, opening in only 2,000 theatres and not even having Thursday night screenings, suggests that the film might not be so good (the final run time of 85 minutes doesn’t help matters). But this is a film skewing a bit older than your typical raunchfest and we were kind of surprised by Super Troopers 2 back in April. Maybe those 80’s kids will put their money where their mouth is after all.

$10 million opening weekend, $25 million finish.

“Adrift” Away

Next to set sail this weekend is Adrift (STX), the new film from Icelandic director Balthasar Kormakur. Also based on actual events that took place in the 80’s (and I’m also assuming very loosely), the film stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin as a young couple who plan an oceanic voyage only to run into a deadly hurricane. With one of them severely injured and the boat destroyed beyond repair, the other must find their way home solely on her strength and drive.

Kormakur is a talented filmmaker, having made well-received films in both his native Iceland and in the US. However, he has never had that breakout film that would put him in the lexicon of filmmakers with international crossover appeal. It looked like 2 Guns and Everest would be those films but both underperformed at the box office. In addition, his previous film, The Oath, never got a US release. Meanwhile, Woodley never lived up to the hype that she generated from The Descendants and Divergent and the film has not been that well marketed, especially when there have been so many films coming out lately aimed towards women. Might STX been smart to push this to the fall, even though it would have faced another aquatic-themed suspense film in Serenity?

Box Office Potential: STX must see a lot in this one, as it’s getting 2,900 theatres. However, I don’t. $9 million opening, $25 million finish.

80 “Upgrade”

The last wide release, opening in 1,400 theatres, is the SXSW festival hit Upgrade (Focus/BH Tilt). Winner of the Audience Award in the Midnight category, this sci-fi film from Saw/Insidious co-creator Leigh Whannell focuses on a man who is in an accident that kills his wife and leaves him paralyzed. However, he is implanted with an experimental microchip that not only allows him to regain his strength but turns him into a superhuman force of vengeance. Much dark humor and violence ensue.

From what I can gather in the marketing, this is quite similar to another festival hit from a few years back, Hardcore Henry. That film, which parlayed a massive amount of buzz at Toronto into a $10 million domestic deal with STX, ended up bombing at the box office. So despite some decent reviews (which seeing how it’s SXSW, should be taken with a grain of salt), I really cannot see this doing any better with less theatres, a not-as-strong distribution deal (Blumhouse is covering prints and advertising), and no name actors (leading man Logan Marshall-Green never lived up to the hype he got before Prometheus opened).

Box Office Potential: audiences didn’t come for Henry so why will they for his Australian knockoff? $3 million opening, $6 million finish.


Arthouse Class 101

In this week’s lesson, we will look at one limited release.

American Animals (The Orchard) – this Sundance hit was the basis for a big buy co-authored by MoviePass, the somewhat controversial subscription ticket service. Despite their recent issues, they seem to believe that this and the June 15th release of Gotti (distributed through Vertical) will rescue the company from financial ruin.

Based on a true story, this focuses on a 2004 case in Lexington, Kentucky (but actually filmed in Charlotte) where two suburban teenagers, hoping to rebel against the lives they’ve been raised in and live life as if they are in a movie, plan a heist involving priceless artifacts at a local university. Along with two other accomplices, they attempt to do things like in Ocean’s Eleven but soon realize that life is not like the movies. The cast features Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan (the creepy teenager from The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Blake Jenner (the lead in Everybody Wants Some!!), Udo Kier, and Ann Dowd.

Reviews have been quite positive and The Orchard had plans to release the film wide at one point but it seems these plans have been canceled due to MoviePass’s low money reserves. Though The Orchard have done a few semi-wide releases (and this one is planned to expand throughout June), that lost extra promotion revenue hampers could have been a reasonable success for a small company. In addition, the month of June is simply too crowded for a major indie breakout.

In the end, these animals should give you 7-9 PTA points and about a million in gross receipts.

Box Office: Solo, Deadpool 2, Avengers, Action Point, Adrift
Ultimates: American Animals, Solo, First Reformed, Action Point, Adrift

Next week, Walleye will cover two wide releases, Ocean’s 8 (Warner Bros.) and Hereditary (A24), and one limited release, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus). It’s a trip, it’s got a funky beat, and I can bug out to it.

Box Office Memories:

2008: Sex and the City, the overstuffed film version (why was this two and a half hours?) of the popular HBO sitcom, showed that you didn’t need to have fancy special effects or superheroes to have a massive opening. The film took in $57 million and dethroned Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from the top spot. Indy took second, dropping 55% (I’m sure it would have been more had that South Park episode aired sooner) to $44.8 million. Third was the long-delayed The Strangers, surprising box office trackers with a $21 million opening weekend (did the sequel even make that much?). Fourth was Iron Man with $13.5 million ($276.2 million total) and fifth was Prince Caspian (or Gaspian, as his actor couldn’t say his c’s) with $12.7 million ($115.4 million total).

On the PTA side of things, Sex and the City also won the crown with a $17,363 average. Second was the instantly-forgotten Julianne Moore/Eddie Redmayne crime drama Savage Grace, grossing $11,156 per in two theatres. Indiana Jones was third while fourth was the John Cusack gunrunning comedy War, Inc., making a near $10,000 clip in its second weekend in two theatres. Fifth was the Danny McBride vehicle The Foot Fist Way, making a disappointing $9,098 per theatre after a large amount of pre-release hype. This film was a major factor in the closing of Paramount Vantage (it was revived again in 2009 and closed again in 2013).

1998: Godzilla remained the big ticket, despite poor word-of-mouth causing the film to shed 59% in its second weekend. The film made $18 million in its second frame. Second was Hope Floats, serving as strong counterprogramming, especially among women and certainly in the South, taking in $14.2 million. Third was Deep Impact with $10.1 million ($112 million total). Fourth was Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer with a $7.4 million take ($43.4 million total) and fifth was Warren Beatty’s political satire Bulworth with a $4.8 million weekend (42% drop). The weekend’s other wide openers, I Got the Hook-Up! and Almost Heroes took sixth and seventh with $3.3 million ($4.9 million over five days) and $2.8 million, respectively while the other Memorial Day opener, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, dropped 47% to $1.8 million (it ended up finding an audience on home video).

In Parent Teacher Associations, Everest was still at the top with a $18,372 average in its thirteenth week. Second was Whit Stillman’s return to the 80’s, The Last Days of Disco (starring Selene from Underworld and Chloe “Original Greta Gerwig” Sevigny), opening with a $12,618 average in 22 locations. Third was Don Roos’ dark comedy The Opposite of Sex, making $11,169 per while expanding to 13 theatres. Fourth was another IMAX film, Africa’s Elephant Kingdom, average $10,830 in two theatres while fifth was the original Insomnia (more famously remade by Christopher Nolan in 2002), making $10,183 in a single theatre.

1988: This Memorial Day weekend, must like the 1985 and 1986 weekends, was all out war. On one corner, Crocodile Dundee II and the widest opening weekend up to that point (2,837 theatres). On the other corner, Rambo III and the biggest budget up to that point ($63 million, $134.6 million today). In the end, audiences proved they wanted laughs more than violence as the Croc won the game of knifey-spoony, $24.5 million to $16.8 million. Third was Willow, dropping 9% to $7.6 million. Fourth and fifth were a pair of long runners, Colors beating Beetlejuice by only $11,000 (both making $2.4 million).

PTA was Crocodile Dundee II, Willow, Rambo III, The Milagro Beanfield War, and Colors (these 80’s numbers are so incomplete, I wish Variety still had their old box office totals up).
Last edited by Buscemi2 on May 29th, 2018, 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby BanksIsDaFuture » May 29th, 2018, 8:09 pm

Adrift has had exactly zero marketing for some reason. I can see it doing worse than Upgrade, which I've seen trailers for in front of Deadpool and Avengers.

1. Solo - $40M
2. Deadpool 2 - $20M
3. Avengers: Infinity War - $10M
4. Action Point - $9M
5. Upgrade - $8M
-Adrift - $5M
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Buscemi2 » May 29th, 2018, 8:24 pm

That's my issue with the film, as mentioned above. However, the trailer was shown with I Feel Pretty and that's still in theatres. Also, Sam Claflin seems to have appeal with the ladies.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Walleye413 » May 30th, 2018, 1:32 am

That trip to memory lane may be your best yet, Boosh. I remember the Croc Rambo battle vividly. Funny how they were both terrible when all was said and done :)

I've seen more ads for Adrift than either of the other two. Makes me wonder why I'm getting targeted, or what I watch that you guys don't. I still don't think it will do very well. It seems like they're going with the girl in peril idea from Summers past but those had sharks - not a Hurricane. Sharks win.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby numbersix » May 30th, 2018, 4:16 am

Action Point is such an odd idea. But Jackass has proven to be popular time and time again. We'll see how this fares. With people not interested in Solo maybe Action Point will benefit. The other two films certian won't.

1. Solo - $42M
2. Deadpool 2 - $21M
3. Action Point - $12M
4. Avengers: Infinity War - $9M
5. Adrift - $6M

PTA: American Animals, Solo, First Reformed, Deadpool 2, Action Point
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Buscemi2 » May 30th, 2018, 3:42 pm

It looks like that wide expansion for American Animals is still on. It will hit 600 theatres later in the month (June 22nd is my best guess, as it's set to play near me by then).
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby W » May 30th, 2018, 3:54 pm

Buscemi2 wrote:It looks like that wide expansion for American Animals is still on. It will hit 600 theatres later in the month (June 22nd is my best guess, as it's set to play near me by then).


As a Moviepass backed film, I wonder if AMC will allow it to be played in their hallowed walls. I don't think I've ever seen a company accept so much money from another in sales while criticizing them and doing everything they can for them to purposely make them fail.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Buscemi2 » May 30th, 2018, 4:10 pm

Apparently, AMC will run American Animals as there is a placeholder on their site. In addition, I saw a trailer for Gotti, MoviePass's other movie they are backing, at an AMC.

Seeing that MoviePass is only covering prints and advertising and not distributing the film, there shouldn't be a problem.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby transformers2 » May 30th, 2018, 4:11 pm

I'd honestly say that anything between high single digits and high teen's is in play for Adrift. Sappy romantic dramas, especially ones aimed at younger audiences like this, are usually good for $40-60 mil runs at the BO, but STX hasn't had a ton of success as a distributor thus far and I have no idea if the marketing campaign has been strong or interesting enough to get butts in the seats.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Shrykespeare » May 31st, 2018, 10:10 pm

Theater counts:

Adrift - 3,015
Action Point - 2,032
Upgrade - 1,457
American Animals - n/a



Next week:

Ocean's 8 - 4,000+
Hotel Artemis - 2,000
Hereditary - Wide
Won't You Be My Neighbor? - 29




Celebrity birthdays:

Kylie Minogue turned 50 on 5/28
Annette Bening turned 60 on 5/29
Jerry Mathers turns 70 on 6/2
Dominic Cooper turns 40 on 6/2
Justin Long turns 40 on 6/2
Happy 40th birthday Michelle Rodriguez! (7/12/18)
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Spectre » June 1st, 2018, 10:18 pm

I’m honestly stunned by how bad Action Point is tracking right now... holy cow. Might not even make $10M total.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Buscemi2 » June 1st, 2018, 10:36 pm

Someone at Paramount must have really hated the film. That or they dumped it as Knoxville was part of the previous regime (a regime Paramount wants to disassociate from due to recent allegations against Brad Grey).

I wouldn't be surprised to see Netflix get any future project from Knoxville as it's obvious that's where his fans are.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby BanksIsDaFuture » June 1st, 2018, 11:58 pm

I'd be surprised if Knoxville continues to do this kind of stunt-stuff. He was an actual actor for a while there, but he's been doing straight to VOD for years now. I guess the Jackass stuff was the only way to get him into theaters, but that seems over now...

$3M opening weekend :shock:
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Buscemi2 » June 2nd, 2018, 12:41 am

I think the biggest issue is that this film, among other films, shows that 80's nostalgia just doesn't sell anymore outside of Stranger Things. Hollywood is still insistent that 80's kids drive everything but this has not been the case the past few years. For every Ready Player One (of which I'm sure that's still in the red once marketing is factored in), there's 3-5 of theses.

Just send these films to streaming and reissue the things that actually were made in the 80's. Because I've found this audience would rather watch Top Gun or Ghostbusters for the fortieth time than watch the latest new release that attempts to claim nothing bad happened in the decade of excess.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: June 1st-3rd

Postby Aquamann2001 » June 2nd, 2018, 10:09 am

Action Point wasn't marketed and I really think not putting the Jackass presents brand name on it cost it. In the draft I think I estimated at least 25 mil but seems like it may be double that.
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