Don’t ever count out the legends. That’s the lesson from this past weekend at the box office. Here’s what went down:
As expected, Cars 3 was the new number one in theaters, bringing in $53 million. Though landing in the top spot is nothing to sneeze at, it is with the second lowest opening for Pixar franchise. Word of mouth might keep Cars 3 going over the next few weeks though, as the reviews have been strong for this third installment.
The big story of the weekend is the outstanding debut for the 2pac biopick, All Eyez On Me, which landed in third place with a surprising $27 million. Why the shock? Simply put, the reviews for this film have been horrid. Clearly reviews didn’t matter for the hardcore hip-hop fans, though there will likely be a significant drop-off once the fan base is serviced this weekend.
I’ve had a ton of Blu-rays and digital movies come my way the last few weeks, and I’ve wanted to highlight a few of them, in case you’re looking for something to watch this weekend or over the next few weeks.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO Films): I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’d never heard the name Henrietta Lacks or her amazing story before. This was simply one of those films sent my way which I thought I’d give a chance. I’m certainly glad I did, as the legacy of Ms. Lacks is remarkable – she was an African American woman who, in 1951, had her cancer cells immortalized in the HeLa line of cells. Basically, these cells have been used countless times in major medical breakthroughs over the last 60 years. Sadly, nobody asked Ms. Lacks if her cells could be taken or used, and neither her nor her family ever received any sort of compensation for what essentially is her immortality.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is based on the book by Rebecca Skloot, who is portrayed in the film by Rose Byrne, who wrote a series of articles on Ms. Lacks and her family. Oprah Winfrey plays Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, and is absolutely captivating on screen. Deborah is hesitant to share her mother’s story with any reporter, and Oprah delivers the character as guarded but loving. It’s a bravura performance that can’t help but overshadow the rest of the film, which sometimes gets muddled as it moves across various timelines. However, Byrne and Winfrey have a great chemistry together, and help The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks rise above some of its pacing and script issues.
This week sees the return of a venerable kids franchise that’s should have no trouble grabbing the top spot at the box office. Here’s our prediction:
Cars 3 has been getting the sort of reviews that eluded the previous two instalments in the Pixar franchise, which is unusual, but exciting. The film, which finds Lightning McQueen debating retirement in the face of a new hot car on the scene, is being lauded for its emotional hooks, which help get partners into theatres this weekend. As if they really have a choice – Cars 3 is the family choice for Father’s Day, and will no doubt debut in first place. Look for it to bring in $65 million.
It was another wonderful weekend for the biggest hero in theatres right now, while a new franchise failed to rise from the depths. Here’s what went down:
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman had a fantastic second weekend, dropping just 44% week to week to bring in $57 million and hold on to the top spot at the box office. The film has already crossed the $200 million mark, and is a certifiable blockbuster. Wonder Woman will likely drop to second place next weekend with the arrival of Cars 3, but it will no doubt still cross make at least $300 million before the end of its run.
Debuting in second place with $32 million is The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. The film is the first entry into Universal’s Dark Universe series of films. Simply put, this is a bad number in North America. The reviews were horrible, as was audience reactions, and its likely The Mummy won’t make $100 million in North America. Amazingly, factoring the numbers from around the world, and with $169 million globally, The Mummy still marks the biggest opening for Tom Cruise.
It’s a big weekend at the box office, as Universal aims to kick off its “Dark Universe” film franchise. However, one woman will stand in their way. Who will come out on top? Here’s our prediction:
The Mummy is a new horror film based on both the original early 1930’s Universal movie, and the late 1990’s iteration starring Brendan Frasier. This time out, Tom Cruise is the leading man, as Universal hopes to kickstart a new interlocking series of films connecting all of their monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf-Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon). Good luck with that. Reviews for The Mummy have been absolutely horrid, with the film sitting at just 22% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. That is a horrible place to be. Look for The Mummy to drastically underperform in its debut weekend. It will debut in second place but with a lackluster $28 million.
Opening in Toronto for a limited engagement this Friday before its arrival on VOD Tuesday, June 13th, Awakening the Zodiac tells the story of Mick (West) and Zoe (Bibb), a young destitute couple hoping to change their fortune when they partner with paranoid, gun-toting, Gulf War veteran, Harvey (Craven) on a deserted storage locker. The locker’s contents appear to be worthless until Harvey makes a discovery deep inside a piece of furniture: an old 8mm film reel. Curious, they load it into a projector and watch something that will change their lives forever. The forty-year-old footage depicts two gruesome murders taken by the killer himself. Harvey has a strange feeling and realizes two things: Those were murders of the savage Zodiac Killer, the most elusive serial killer in history, and there is a reward of $100,000 for any information leading to his capture. Zodiac is out there, and he’s still killing. Determined to uncover the secrets of the films, Mick, Zoe and Harvey begin their search for the Zodiac.
I had the chance to talk to director Jonathan Wright about Awakening The Zodiac, and the enduring legacy of one of thr 20th centuries most notorious serial killers.
Andy Burns: Jonathan, congrats on Awakening the Zodiac – I really enjoyed the film. What inspired your interest in the Zodiac and making this film?
Jonathan Wright: The thriller is my favourite genre of films. The idea of a person going around murdering random people and taunting the police is absolutely terrifying. The fact that the Zodiac was never caught, and could still be out there sends chills down my spine.
AB: Could you give us a little insight into your creative process – how did you come up with the story, what sort of research went into crafting the screenplay?
JW: When Michael Baker came to me asking to direct this movie, I literally jumped at the chance. We wanted to craft characters and a scenario that we’ve never seen before. The film is procedural, but we didn’t want to make a detective movie. Early research revealed that the San Francisco Police Department still have a $100,000 reward for evidence leading to the arrest of the Zodiac killer. I spent countless hours going through FBI documents and witness accounts which spawned numerous theories about who the killer was and how he operated. I also delved deep into code breaking. The infamous cipher known as the 314 cipher has never been broken and supposedly includes the Zodiac’s true identity.
AB: What was it about Shane West and Leslie Bibb that made them the right choices for Mick and Zoe, respectively? Read the rest of this entry
DC finally got their movies right, as the first blockbuster film to star and be helmed by women did great business at the box office. Here’s what went down:
With the type of reviews and excitement usually reserved for Marvel movies, Wonder Woman had a stellar debut weekend at the box office, landing in first place with $100.5 million. This is the biggest debut for a female led blockbuster, with Gal Gadot starring and Patty Jenkins directing the origin of Diana of Themyscira. I just got back from the film and, while I found it a little long (like most super hero film movies are), I thought Gadot was absolutely astounding in the role. She had very little screen time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so it was definitely wonderful to see her shine on screen. Though she had no difficulties carrying the film, she certainly was surrounded by great actors like David Thewlis and Robin Wright. Forget Batman or Superman – the real leader of the upcoming big screen Justice League team should be Wonder Woman.
The voice-over in the beginning of City of Tiny Lights, the latest film from director Pete Travis (Dredd, Tesseract), might seem at odds with its hand-held cinematography and the gritty scenery of London, but as soon as Tommy Akhtar opens the door of his second-story office to a young woman named Melody, it starts making sense.
Read the rest of this entry
It should be a wonderful weekend at the box office, as the first major female super hero film is hitting theatres. How much will it make? Here’s our prediction:
Wonder Woman looks to finally get the DC Cinematic Universe on track, after lackluster critical responses for Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film stars Gal Gadot as the title character, and is an origin story set during the First World War. The film has been getting simply outstanding reviews, and currently sits at 92% fresh at Rotten Tomatos. Anticipation is super high for Wonder Woman, and I think it’s going to perform stronger than many are anticipating. Look for a first place debut with $105 million.
While the Memorial Day long weekend continues in the U.S., the three day weekend estimates have come in, and they’re just not very good for any of the big debuts. Here’s what went down:
As predicted, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales debut at number on at the box office, but with only $63 million over three days. Those are just horrible numbers for what’s considered a tentpole franchise. While audiences who are actually going to the movie have been giving it good word of mouth, the critics absolutely savaged this fifth in the series, and it currently sits at an abysmal 32% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. The debut for Dead Men Tell No Tales is the worst for the series, which will have to rely on making bank overseas for this to be considered a success.
Things are even worse for Baywatch, which had to settle for a third place debut with just $17 million. It’s surprising that the film couldn’t get people into theatres, even with the combination of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. Reviews were off the chart terrible, and the film’s marketing failed to find a crossover audience. This will be one of the biggest bombs of The Rock’s career, but I have a feeling he’ll be ok.