With such a fantastic April opening record set last weekend, the only way for things to go is down and the rest of the month is likely going to be very hit or miss as Furious 7 continues to dominate. As it were, we only have one new movie in wide release, one based on a Nicholas Sparks novel no less, as well as a couple of movies expanding into more theaters hoping that the low cost to get into the Top 10 (less than a million) will help score them some box office love.
The Longest Ride
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Based on Nicholas Sparks’ 2013 bestselling romance novel, The Longest Ride hopes to continue the trend of an author who is turning into one of the more successful ones to have their work adapted. Starting with 1999’s Message in a Bottle, six movies based on Sparks’ work have grossed over $50 million. Two others have grossed over $40 million, while 2004’s The Notebook is still the highest grossing one with $81 million and Dear John just below it. Three of the Sparks adaptations have grossed over $100 million worldwide while three others have come close, but these are still very much an American phenomenon.
This is the first Nicholas Sparks adaptation to be distributed by Fox, which has a much stronger marketing department than Relativity and Screen Gems (but on par with Warner Bros. who have released four of the lesser-grossing movies).
Scott Eastwood is a rising actor (son of Clint) who most recently starred in Dave Ayer’s Fury but has established a role as a dreamboat due to his modeling career, and he’s been getting higher profile roles in the past few years.
The film also stars Britt Robertson, who is set to become a huge star once Disney releases Tomorrowland this summer, in which she stars opposite George Clooney, but so far, her biggest role has been in CBS’ “Under the Dome,” so she’s not as well known as, say, Amanda Seyfried, when she starred with Channing Tatum in the hit Dear John.
Another second-generation actor, Jack Huston (playing the younger Alan Alda) has grown a fan-base from his appearance on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and he has two high-profile comic movies on the way—not that they’ll make much of a difference with the female audience.
The couple movies in theaters that are currently catering to female audiences—Insurgent and Cinderella—are already starting to drop away, having been in theaters for over a month, which creates a good opening for this drama which will cater to older women than those two movies.
Sparks’ most recent adaptation The Best of Me has done worse than any previous movie, grossing just $27 million after a $10 million opening weekend, which barely covered its budget. This seems to be showing the signs of diminishing returns on movies based on Sparks’ novels, similar to what happened with Tyler Perry’s Madea movies after having a string of hits.
Adaptations of Sparks’ novels notoriously get bad reviews with the last two, The Best of Me and Safe Haven, getting the worst reviews so far. The Longest Ride is Sparks’ most recent novel, as they’re now being adapted almost as quickly as they hit the shelves, and that could be a detriment to those who like his books who may be disappointed with the recent adaptations.
The audience will be limited to the older women that read Sparks’ books and this probably won’t hold much interest for younger women even with its hunky male star.
While this may not perform as badly as the last Sparks adaptation, The Best of Me, there doesn’t seem to be much upside to his latest and it will likely to open up somewhere below $15 million on its way to less than $40 million total.
A couple limited releases are expanding wider including Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young (A24), starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, and Bleecker Street’s first release, the musical comedy Danny Collins, starring Al Pacino, Annette Benning, Christopher Plummer and more. The former stands the better chance at breaking into the Top 10, probably with around $3 million since it’s been doing better in limited release than the latter, but the entrance fee to the Top 10 is low enough that Danny Collins could surprise. The Helen Mirren-Ryan Reynolds drama Woman in Gold (The Weinstein Company) will also expand into over 1,200 theaters on Friday, which should allow it to move up the Top 10 with between $4 and 5 million.
This Weekend Last Year
Since Captain America: The Winter Soldier remained #1 for a second week in a row with $41.3 million, it meant that the animated sequel Rio 2 (20th Century Fox) had to settle for second place with $39.33 million, which is almost exactly what the previous movie opened with three years earlier. Mike Flanagan’s independent horror film, the festival favorite Oculus (Relativity), took third place with $12 million in 2,648 theaters or $4,534 per theater, while Kevin Costner’s latest sports movie, Draft Day (Summit), directed by Ivan Reitman, took fourth with $9.8 million in 2,781 theaters. The Top 10 grossed $131 million, which might be hard to attain with Furious 7 still having to carry much of the weight.
This Week’s Updated Predictions
UPDATE: Since While We’re Young isn’t expanding into nearly as many theaters as originally projected and Danny Collins is getting significantly more–neither of these numbers having been confirmed by their respective distributors, we’re shifting things around a little bit although both could break into the Top 10. On the other hand, Woman in Gold will expand into over 1,500 theaters and should make a play for sixth place with a nice bump from last weekend.
1. Furious 7 (Universal) – $60 million -59%
The April dumping ground goes into high gear with four new movies including Kevin James’ long-awaited (?) comedy sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Sony), Blumhouse’s latest low-budget horror flick Unfriended (Universal), the nature film Monkey Kingdom (Disney) and the crime thriller Child 44 (Lionsgate/Summit), starring Tom Hardy.
This Week’s Must-Sees
Ex Machina (A24)
Interview with Alex Garland (Coming Soon!)
Interview with Oscar Isaac (Coming Soon!)
Clouds of Sils Maria (IFC Films)
What It’s About: Actress Maria Enders (Binoche) has been asked to star in a play based on a movie she appeared in early in her career, but after the death of the film director, Maria finds herself struggling to get into the role as she holes up with her assistant (Stewart) in a remote region of the Alps.
Interview with Olivier Assayas (Coming Soon!)
Other Limited Releases This Weekend
Lost River (Warner Bros.)
Kill Me Three Times (Magnet Releasing)
Desert Dancer (Relativity Media)
About Elly (Cinema Guild)
Dior and I (eOne Films)
Broken Horses (Reliance Entertainment)
The Harvest (IFC Midnight)
Sisterhood of the Night (Freestyle Releasing)
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Copyright 2015 Edward Douglas