Just when you thought it was safe to return to the movie theaters after a pretty decent weekend, we’re back to another weekend of crap. Granted, I haven’t seen any of the three new movies in wide release this weekend, so I’m basing my thoughts fully on marketing, which has been rather limited in both cases, but the audiences for all three movies will likely be limited as well.
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
The 2010 story of the Chilean miners who were trapped for months in a collapsed mine was a big news story that was followed around the world as everyone waited to see if they would survive and be saved. While normally a story like this might be made into a movie on Lifetime or another cable channel, the rights to the miners’ stories were picked up by producer Mike Medavoy who made The 33 (based on the book “Deep Dark Down”) independently, pulling together an impressive cast that includes the likes of Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and the likes of James Brolin and Lou Diamond Phillips, neither who have appeared in many high profile films recently. It’s hard to imagine any of them will be as much of a draw as the story/premise, although the cast does give the movie a higher pedigree.
This is the first studio movie for Mexican filmmaker Patricia Riggen, as well, having made her bones on the Mexican immigrant film La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon), and she gives the film a certain amount of credibility with the Latino market who will likely be the film’s biggest draw. Warner Bros. also seems to be trying to tap into the faith-based moviemaking business which has done so well for Sony, Roadside Attractions and other distributors because Christian audiences tend to be interested in movies that promote faith as this one clearly does. (Of course, I’m not good at predicting either audience, so maybe I’m missing something.)
On the other hand, The 33 probably would have done better if it was just called “The Chilean Miner Movie” because then at least audiences would know what it is, but few will go to theaters and know what “The 33” is, and it’s not like the movie has had a ton of marketing.
The November release is an odd decision because usually the month would be saved for Oscar fare or bigger holiday movies, but (without having seen it) this doesn’t seem like it stands much chance in the awards race against much stronger movies. Sadly, this is looking like it’s going to be another Warner Bros. bomb, opening less than $10 million although it probably won’t do as badly as the recent Our Brand is Crisis, because in this case, it’s a story people have heard and might be interested in, similar to Everest.
With the appeal of the story to older moviegoers, this is probably the strongest offering of the weekend, but it will still be overshadowed by all the returning films and it’s hard to imagine it will bring in more than $8 or 9 million opening weekend and $25 to 27 million total.
Distributor: CBS Films
In case anyone was still trying to fight the fact that it’s officially the holiday movie season, we’re getting the first in a series of holiday movies that will do their best to elevate the Christmas spirit among moviegoers leading up to Thanksgiving.
It’s not too uncommon to bring together a diverse group of actors for a holiday comedy like this and this one even has a number of Oscar winners and nominees among them, the most high profile probably being Diane Keaton. While she’s generally been popular among older women, she hasn’t had anything even remotely approaching a hit since 2005’s The Family Stone, which as irony would have it, was an ensemble holiday comedy like this one. More recent films like The Big Wedding, And So It Goes (opposite Michael Douglas) and 5 Flights Up with Morgan Freeman haven’t fared nearly as well.
Other big name stars in the cast include Amanda Seyfried, who was also in The Big Wedding, oddly enough; comedian Ed Helms, who is most famous for The Hangover movies and headlined the recent unsuccessful remake of Vacation; and Olivia Wilde, who has done a wide range of roles including comedies. The cast is rounded out by Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei, veteran actors Alan Arkin and John Goodman (reunited from the hit Argo) and recent Oscar nominee June Squibb. Apparently Anthony Mackie might be in this movie, too, because apparently he is in every movie including next week’s The Night Before.
Despite having such a great cast, the movie doesn’t look very good, containing the type of jokes that only appeal to the lowest common denominator of moviegoers who might only be interested because it looks like one of those fun ensemble holiday movies like the popular Love Actually.
Opening a holiday movie in November isn’t too uncommon and The Best Man Holiday did huge business on this same weekend two years ago, opening with more than $30 million. It might fare better if they waited for Thanksgiving weekend when holiday movies thrive, but at least this weekend is a better choice than Ben Affleck’s dog Surviving Christmas, which thought that opening before Halloween would give it a headstart. Instead, it bombed with a worldwide gross of $15 million.
Unlike the biggest holiday movies, Love the Coopers doesn’t have “Christmas” or “holiday” in the title to let casual moviegoers know that it’s a holiday movie, so it’s relying solely on the film’s marketing with commercials being few and far between.
Love the Coopers may get a bump over Thanksgiving in a couple weeks, but it’s facing a much stronger and probably funnier holiday comedy next week in Seth Rogen’s The Night Before and even that doesn’t stand much of a chance against The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
Who knows this movie exists and of those who do, how many of them actually care? Yup, this is another one of those “Who gives a crap?” movies like much of what was released in October and even with the holidays coming up, I can’t see this making more than $6 million opening weekend and maybe $20 million total if it gets a bump over Thanksgiving.
Also opening in 1,500 theaters on Friday is the indie football movie My All-American (Clarius Entertainment), starring Aaron Eckhart and Finn Witrock (“American Horror Story”), written and directed by Angelo Pizzo (writer of Hoosiers and Rudy). It tells the inspirational story of Freddie Steinmark (Wittrock) who is deemed too small to play football but his fire gets him noticed by University of Texas coach Darrell Royal (Eckhart) that gets him a scholarship to play for the Longhorns. One can expect that people in the Midwest and South, especially suburban football towns, might give this a look similar to the spiritual film Woodlawn a few weeks back, but it just doesn’t seem to have much of a push and it will probably end up in the bottom of the Top 10 with less than $3 million.
This Weekend Last Year
Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels returned to their popular roles as Lloyd and Harry in the Farrelly Brothers comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To (Universal), which opened with $36.1 million despite a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It ended up with $86.2 million domestic and about the same overseas, while Big Hero Six and Interstellar each dropped one place with a strong second weekend of $34.7 million and $28.3 million, respectively, while the music drama Beyond the Lights (Relativity) from Gina Prince-Bythewood opened in fourth place with $6.2 million. Also, the future Best picture winner, Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman (Fox Searchlight) continued to expand nationwide into 857 theaters, which was enough to put it into the bottom of the Top 10 with $2.5 million. The Top 10 grossed $126 million but without a strong offering like Dumb and Dumber To, this weekend will be back to falling short of the same one last year.
This Week’s Updated Predictions
There isn’t much of a chance of any of the new movies making much of a dent against last week’s two big movies, so they should retain the top two places with The Peanuts Movie catching up with SPECTRE by not having nearly as big a second weekend drop-off. The 33 should be able to win out over the new movies although at this point, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if The Martian takes third place again.
1. SPECTRE (Sony/MGM) – $33 million -54%
One of the most anticipated movies of the year is here, as the young adult action franchise comes to a conclusion when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Lionsgate), starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, hits theaters worldwide. Not that a movie that big needs counter-programming, but the Seth Rogen/Joseph Gordon-Levitt/AnthonyMackie holiday comedy The Night Before (Sony) will try to get a head start on Thanksgiving, while the English remake of the Argentine Oscar winner Secret in Their Eyes (STX Entertainment) hopes to bring in older moviegoers with the starpower of Julia Roberts. Also, Tom McCarthy’s ensemble drama Spotlight (Open Road) will expand nationwide, trying to build word-of-mouth for its awards season run.
This Week’s Must-Sees
James White (The Film Arcade)
Feature Interview with Josh Mond and Cast (Coming Soon!)
Man Up (Saban Films)
Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans (FilmRise)
Other Limited Releases of Note:
Shelter (Screen Media Films)
By the Sea (Universal)
Heist (Lionsgate Premiere)
Mia Madre (Alchemy)
Ingrid Bergmann In Her Own Words (Rialto)
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Copyright 2015 Edward Douglas