Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scott Claws Away at the Box Office with his Razor Sharp Predictions

Sorry about Scott's predictions being late once again.  But it still smells pretty fresh to me.  And yes, I do plan on writing my own original content for this blog before it is 2014.

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While last weekend I was contemplating four debuting films, this weekend seems much quieter with only one new wide release heading to a theatre near you.  Oscar nominated Hugh Jackman is back in his role of Logan/Wolverine in The Wolverine.  This is a return to the character that really put Jackman on the map when he first played Wolverine in X-Men in 2000 and last played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.  Part adamantium, part mutton chop, all action.  While X-Men Origins: Wolverine did not do as well as anticipated in the box office and only scored a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, Wolverine is undoubtedly the fan favourite of the X-Men universe and a second attempt is worth the risk.

One factor that is working in favour of The Wolverine is the fact that it is the only kid on the block in terms of new blockbusters.  The only real competition it could be facing is from fellow action movies Pacific Rim, Red 2, and R.I.P.D., and none of those movies made huge waves in the domestic markets this summer.  Now, while it may seem like the perfect time of year for The Wolverine to burst on the scene, it does run the chance of running into some form of action-fatigue from the audience.  This summer was incredibly front-loaded with explosions and fist-pumping action, and some audience members may be looking for a bit of a break right now.

A second factor that The Wolverine has going for it is the same as the first rule of real estate – location, location, location.  Much of The Wolverine is set in Japan, which may not seem like a big deal.  To those who wave this off as nothing, let us take a look at Pacific Rim as a case study.  While Guillermo del Toro’s summer action flick seemed like a misfire domestically, it was in actuality the number one movie on the planet this past weekend.  In Pacific Rim, del Toro made the movie with a global feel, instead of the typical ethnocentric backdrop of Hollywood blockbusters.  It had characters representing a number of different nations, the terminology for the monsters and robots came from foreign languages, and the main location for the movie was Hong Kong.  The international market has become such an important component, that filmmakers are starting to realize that some global inclusiveness may assist overseas sales.  There is a lot of money to be made in the Asian markets, so setting a movie in one of the countries cannot hurt its chances.

Currently, the Rotten Tomato rating for The Wolverine is sitting at 66%, which is not too bad for a blockbuster.  World War Z has 67% on Rotten Tomatoes and has globally made $450 million.  Man of Steel has made $635 million on a Rotten Tomato Rating of 56%.  When it comes to action and explosions, people are not expecting masterpieces that will be remembered for all time.  They just want something that packs the adrenaline and is not insulting to the intelligence.

The Wolverine Opening Weekend Prediction - $77 million

Edit:  Friday's box office earnings were behind expectations, and so The Wolverine may more likely earn $55 million.

There are a few other interesting movies to get notable on, so on I shall get.  Fruitvale Station, a movie that won awards at both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, is moving from 34 theatres last weekend to over 1,000 this weekend.  It has done really well in the box office already, as it has passed the million dollar mark after just two weekends in limited release and I really did not expect it to expand this quickly.  If you have a chance to see this film, it may be worth your time.  This movie could be looking at a few Oscar nominations come next winter.  As well, The Way, Way Back will be increasing in theatres for the second week in a row, and will be playing in 886 theatres domestically.

Lastly, The Asylum studios will be seeing one of their films coming to theatres.  The Asylum are mainly masters at the ‘mockbuster’ (which is a copy of a blockbuster, example Atlantic Rim), but they also do creature features.  They are campy, they are cheesy, and the CGI is laughable but they can be a lot of fun to watch.  A few weeks ago on SyFy and Space channels their latest movie, Sharknado, ended up becoming a huge hit thanks to incredible Twitter activity during its broadcast, apparently getting up to 5000 tweets per minute.  This social media buzz ended up getting the movie talked about in many news outlets, and repeats of the movie have been shown.  On August 2 it will have a midnight showing in 200 theatres, which The Asylum would have never predicted when they sat down to write about a tornado that picks up sharks from the ocean and drops them on Ian Ziering.

Personal Bias Shameless Plug – watch Pacific Rim!

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