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Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 13th, 2023, 6:17 pm
by transformers2
After being forced to sit out last year on account of Salem's Lot's reshoots not being completed in time to make its original date, Warner Brothers has returned to their signature second weekend of September horror movie slot with a bang.

Following in the footsteps of its 2018 predecessor, The Nun II eviscerated the competition with a $32.6 mil debut. While that is over $20 mil less than the first film made in its OW, it had a better OW than the previous 3 Conjuring Universe films (The Curse of La Llorona, Annabelle Comes House, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) and posted third best horror debut of 2023 behind Scream VI and Insidious: The Red Door. That's plenty good enough for a sequel to a spin-off that not very many people seemed to like all that much and will probably ensure that this isn't the last time Valak wreaks havoc on an Eastern European monastery.

The weekend's other new wide release My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 had a bit of an odd run as it exceeded expectations with a $10 mil opening, but still didn't do nearly enough to be considered a hit or come close to sniffing the $17.9 mil opening of 2016's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Given the franchise-low reviews and exit polling, its days of slightly overperforming are numbered as it appears to be heading towards a 60%+ tumble this weekend.

Speaking of 60+% tumbles, The Equalizer 3 really fell on its face in weekend #2 huh? The Denzel Washington vigilante flick dropped an astounding 65% from its Labor Day weekend opening, earning just over $12 mil. The second installment had a similarly steep drop (61%), so it should level off this weekend and have a chance of reaching the $100 mil mark that by the end of its run, but it's still an incredibly jarring thing to see from the final installment of a well-liked franchise that's led by one of the biggest stars on the planet.

Finally, I'll take a minute to commend the performance of Indian action epic Jawan-which wasn't a part of our game. The Hindi-language project pulled in a pretty impressive $6.1 mil from only 813 theaters in its domestic opening-which was good enough for it to earn the #4 spot at the weekend box office.. As the ongoing strikes imperil the upcoming slate of films, theaters will have to look elsewhere to fill the voids on the calendar and based on what we've over the past year or so, action movies from all over India will be one of their more viable options.

Wide Release:
Now that Kenneth Branagh has got the whole “tell a deeply personal story about escaping a civil war as a child” thing out of the way, he can get back to what he truly loves: making Hercule Poirot movies. A Haunting in Venice (20th Century) marks the third time Branagh has dawned the twirl-worthy mustache and broken out the cartoonish French accent on screen and this time there is a twist to the series' whodunit formula as the Belgian detective as the characters is confronted with some apparent supernatural happenings after several murders are committed at a séance in a scenic Venice palazzo. Tina Fey, Kelly Riley, Jamie Dornan, Kyle Allen, Camille Cottin and Michelle Yeoh play the (human) suspects that Poirot has to investigate while also questioning his own beliefs and sanity as he's forced to reckon with the possibility that a malevolent spirit is behind the killings.

The greatest asset that A Haunting in Venice has is the introduction of its horror/thriller elements. Death on the Nile's muted performance in February of last year after multiple delays demonstrated that audiences don't care enough about the character of Poirot to rush out to theaters to see another routine murder mystery. Bringing in some spooky gothic imagery and hinting at the possibility of spirits and sprites showing up to kill the living is a good way to indicate that Branagh is deviating from his previous Poirot playbook. Many of the relatively positive reviews its received have singled out this creative choice as the reason why its the best of Branagh's Poirot films to date and if this genre hybrid translates to an increase in box office receipts, Disney will ultimately be glad that they decided to allow him to make another one after the costly failure of Death on the Nile. Ultimately, I think A Haunting in Venice will end up doing better than Death on the Nile, but fall shy of Murder on the Orient Express. Given its soft competition for at least the next 2 weekends, a modestly successful performance like that could be enough to make it a worthwhile selection in our game-especially in ULT.

Price: $11 ULT/$12 BO
Predictions: $11-22 mil OW/5-8 PTA/8-13 Top 5/mid to high 6 IMDB/$35-65 mil total BO
Worth Putting on Your Slate?: If all of the schedule shifts left the back half of your slate in ruins, you could do much worse than this as a replacement.

Limited Releases:
The frenzy that the GameStop stock short squeeze caused in early 2021 was bound to be dramatized in some form. Well, it took to less than 3 years for that project to materialize in the form of Dumb Money (Sony). By telling a version of the events from the perspectives of stock market YouTuber RoaringKitty (Paul Dano) that planted the seeds for the squeeze, a handful of RoaringKitty's viewers (America Ferrera, Anthony Ramos, My'hala Herrold, Talia Rhyder), hedge fund power players (Vincent D'onofrio, Nick Offerman, Seth Rogen) who lost millions over GameStop not failing and Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev (Sebastian Stan) who gets caught in the crossfire between the two parties, this dramedy from Craig Gillespie covers every angle of this remarkable phenomenon where regular people outsmarted Wall Street and made them lose a lot of money. More or less, it's a retail trader riff on The Big Short as these regular people attempt to dismantle a rigged financial system and give a loud proud fuck you to the ultra-rich assholes that are running it.

Like they did with Gran Turismo last month, Sony believes Dumb Money can be a WOM-driven hit and adjusted the release-strategy accordingly to provide it with an opportunity to try and build it when they shifted from an immediate wide release to a platform release last month (the strategy was again tweaked just last week when they pushed the wide release date up a week as a response to the Eras Tour being dropped into the October release schedule). Sony's faith in the film is totally reasonable. This is a story that most people in the US have heard about, early word following its premiere at Toronto last Friday has hailed it as an energetic, funny crowdpleaser and as I mentioned above while discussing A Haunting in Venice, there's moneymaking opportunities to be had right now given the soft wave of new releases in recent weeks. Having a plethora of familiar faces populating its cast (Pete Davidson and Shailene Woodley round out the main ensemble) also doesn't hurt.

The make-or-break factor for Dumb Money will be whether or not people care enough about this story to see it played out on the big screen. YouTubers/Redditors vs. Hedge Fund owners isn't a slam dunk sales pitch for a lot of people out there and many might elect to just wait until it arrives on Netflix in January or February no matter glowing the WOM ends up being. At the bare minimum, it should at least get off to a hot start this weekend as it opens in 8 theaters spread across 6 cities (NYC, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, DC) before it heads into the choppier waters of a semi-wide release next weekend.
Price: $5 ULT/$4 BO
Predictions: $120k-$325k OW/3-8 PTA/0-2 Top 5/high 6 to low 7 IMDB/$5-18 mil BO ($15-45 mil total BO)
Worth Putting on Your Slate?: While it'll likely ending being just an average BO play, its slow rollout and high probability of earning a respectable, if not solid IMDb score could make it a pretty solid ULT pick.

Camp Hideout (Roadside) arrives on the scene in modest release this weekend with the hopes of capitalizing on a hungry family demographic that hasn't been served since Blue Beetle was released roughly a month ago. This 80's/90's throwback tells a goofy story about Noah (Ethan Drew)- a rebellious teen in foster care who gets sent away to a church-sponsored summer camp instead of juvenile hall after getting caught stealing. His time at camp turns into one disaster after another as he butts heads with his fellow campers and the ornery owner (Christopher Lloyd) then gets pursued by the gangsters that he stole from. With his back against the wall, Noah is forced to trust his fellow campers, a couple of friendly counselors (Corbin Bleu, Amanda Leighton) and probably, God to help him get out of this predicament and begin to make some meaningful changes in his life.

The weird faith/slapstick comedy hybrid that the plot appears to be paired with Roadside's presence as a distributor is basically a 1-2 punch of particularly pungent garbage. It's not going to play in enough theaters to be a factor in the PTA hunt nor was it marketed heavily enough to earn any Top 5 points or a notable amount of BO and trying to figure out who the audience for this is a mystifying exercise with no clear answers. Act like the Cincinnati Bengals offense last Sunday and repeatedly punt on the opportunity to take this.
Price: $3 ULT/$2 BO
Predictions: $175-375k OW/0 PTA or Top 5/mid to high 5 IMDb/$400k-$2 mil total BO
Worth Putting on Your Slate?: Nope

Invisible Beauty (Magnolia) is the lone true limited release on the schedule this weekend. This documentary focusing on the life and career of trailblazing African-American model Bethann Hardison-who also serves as co-director with veteran French documentarian Fredric Tcheng-features interviews with everyone from Iman to Whoopi Goldberg to Zendaya and has earned a considerable amount of praise on the festival circuit earlier this year for profiling the undercelebrated accomplishments of a woman who broke a lot of glass ceilings for black women in the modeling industry. Following in the footsteps of fellow Magnolia Release/Sundance debut Kokomo City, Invisible Beauty is playing in just 1 theater this weekend (The Film Forum in New York)-which makes it an ideal $2 ULT play on a weekend where the PTA crown is very much up for grabs.
Price: $2 ULT/$1 BO
Predictions: $10-30k OW/0-3 PTA/0 Top 5/low to mid 7 IMDb/$25-75k total BO
Worth Putting on Your Slate?: Its PTA earning potential for this weekend alone makes it worth a look if you have a spare $2.

Weekend Predictions:
1.A Haunting in Venice $17 mil
2.The Nun II $12 mil
3.The Equalizer 3 $8 mil
4.Barbie $4 mil
5.My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 $3.5 mil

PTA: Dumb Money, A Haunting in Venice, Invisible Beauty, The Nun II, The Equalizer 3

I'll be back to next week to discuss the r3turn of a once successful action franchise, Neon's unexpected attempt at winning over the mainstream horror audience and the re-release of one of the most acclaimed concert films of all time.

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 13th, 2023, 7:22 pm
by Buscemi2
I really don't see Dumb Money taking off at all. When I saw the red band trailer recently before a movie, the audience reaction was crickets. Also, few actually cared about the story when it happened, a documentary on the same subject released by Neon flopped last year, and reviews, while decent, aren't glowing. In addition, GameStop has fallen harder since the events, as more stores have closed and an attempt to enter the NFT business failed miserably.

It makes me think a lot of The Fifth Estate, that movie that tried to make Julian Assange a sympathetic figure which absolutely no one saw.

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 15th, 2023, 12:22 pm
by transformers2
A Haunting in Venice did $1.2 mil in previews last night, which puts it just ahead of the $1.1 mil Death on the Nile earned last year.

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 15th, 2023, 3:13 pm
by numbersix
So we're looking at around 15 mil OW

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 16th, 2023, 7:58 am
by Buscemi2

A Haunting in Venice: B (same as the two previous Poirot movies)

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 17th, 2023, 11:56 am
by transformers2
Weekend Estimates:
The Nun II $14.7 mil
A Haunting in Venice $14.5 mil
The Equalizer 3 $7.2 mil
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 $4.7 mil
Barbie $4 mil
Jawan/Blue Beetle $2.5 mil
Gran Turismo $2.4 mil
Oppenheimer $2.1 mil
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem $2 mil

-Dumb Money $216k

Dumb Money $27k
A Haunting in Venice $4.4k
The Nun II $3.9k
The Equalizer 3 $2.1k
Barbie $1.3k

No word on Camp Hideout or Invisible Beauty yet

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 17th, 2023, 12:02 pm
by Buscemi2
Kind of an underwhelming start on Dumb Money, seeing how Sony was convinced this would be a big breakout. Combined with the reviews not being that great, it would have been far wiser to open wide immediately.

Meanwhile, I wouldn't expect too much on Camp Hideout. Evangelical movies are flopping again.

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 17th, 2023, 2:50 pm
by Buscemi2
As I expected, Camp Hideout flopped with a $510,160 opening in 848 theatres. Another wide opener, The Inventor, did even worse with $201,061 in 700 theatres.

Re: Tranny Tackles The Cinema: The Films of 9/15

Posted: September 18th, 2023, 5:53 pm
by transformers2
Weekend Actuals:
1.The Nun II $14.7 mil
2.A Haunting in Venice $14.3 mil
3.The Equalizer 3 $7.2 mil
4.My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 $4.8 mil
5.Barbie $3.8 mil
6.Blue Beetle $2.5 mil
7.Jawan $2.4 mil
8.Gran Turismo $2.36 mi
9.Oppenheimer $2.1 mil
10.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem $2 mil

-Camp Hideout $489,439
-Dumb Money $220,947
-Invisible Beauty $12,085

1.Dumb Money $27,618 (8 theaters)
2.Invisible Beauty $12,085
3.A Haunting in Venice $4,321
4.The Nun II $3,883
5.Birth/Rebirth $3,200 (an IFC release logging a PTA point-its 1st no less-5 weeks into its run is wild stuff)

-Camp Hideout $577 (848 theaters)