Friday, August 23, 2013

It's the End of the World but Scott Still Has Box Office Predictions

You know the drill by now.  The weekend is here and there are new movies in the cinemas, and Scott predicts their success and failure.

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Four movies in wide release two weeks ago, four movies in wide release one week ago, and this upcoming weekend will be adding another three movies into the mix as well as Blue Jasmine expanding to 12,000 theatres.  What this means is limited screen space for the new entries, with only one of them heading to more than three thousand locations.  While last weekend was a bit of a let-down, this weekend offers three different genres, with two of the movies currently having a Rotten Tomato rating above 80%.  It is getting ultra-competitive out there, so let’s try and look into the future and see who will be successful.

I shall first off try and tackle The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones for a few reasons.  Firstly, if I get it done now I do not have to think about it again until Tuesday.  Secondly, I am getting rather sleepy and it will be easier on my sanity to forge through this while there is ample mental strength.  It is yet another teen-fantasy-supernatural movie that is quite obviously being marketed as another Twilight.  I have not read the books, which it is based on, but I have seen Twilight and have watched as studios have tried to recreate the success of that franchise.  We have already had a number of attempts this year alone in Warm Bodies (I actually quite enjoyed that one), Beautiful Creatures, and Stephenie Meyer’s The HostCity of Bones is the next attempt, and it shows the needed ingredients… supernatural beings, action, romance, and hot young actors and actresses… pouty faces are everywhere.

What the studios seem to forget in the search for the next Twilight is that it was not the concept of the movie that drew its fans into frenzies, but the characters and dynamics of their relationships.  People were passionate about what happened next to Edward, Bella, and Jacob.  I was not on Team Jacob because I figured him a home wrecker… and then thought him creepy for wanting to marry a baby.  The early response to City of Bones is not great amongst the critics, but that does not matter.  What matters is if the characters are captivating enough to win over the young adults, and that is something that Hollywood has had a very hard time recreating.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Five Day Opening Weekend Prediction - $17 million

Next on the agenda is a horror flick that has been around for quite a while now, but has not had its time to shine on the big screen yet.  You’re Next debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, and was met with a lot of enthusiasm.  The distribution was then worked out with Lionsgate, who would later merge with Summit, which lead to twice as many movies on the release schedule, so some schedule trimming needed to happen and You’re Next had to wait. 

It has now started to generate some buzz, which will aid it a lot.  What will be working against it is a cast that many people will not know, as well as a director that folks are generally unfamiliar with.  The trailers show a movie that looks extremely generic in the slasher/home invasion realm, something that audiences got a crack at a few months ago with The Purge, which had a huge boost by marketing the names of actor Ethan Hawke and producer Jason Blum.  The strengths that lie within You’re Next are (apparently) a good use of black humour and some clever writing.  Sadly, those are the sorts of things that will more so excite and bring out genre buffs and not attract the masses.  I am finding this an incredibly hard movie to come up with a prediction that I can feel semi confident in.

You’re Next Opening Weekend Prediction - $12 million

The third movie of the weekend is a comedy from writer/director Edgar Wright, writer/actor Simon Pegg, and actor Nick Frost and is the last movie in a trilogy of movies (called the ‘blood and ice cream trilogy,’ but the movies are not related other than having some blood and Cornetto ice cream) involving this group of talent.  The movie is The World’s End, which is about a group of guys who reunite to try and complete one heck of an epic pub crawl, only to find out that local residents are actually robots. 

The first movie in the trilogy was 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, and the second movie was Hot Fuzz, which came out in 2007.  It has indeed been a long six years for fans of this trio, and the long wait and anticipation are now coming to an end.

What makes these movies distinct is a very layered writing, which has very obvious jokes as well as both subtle and in-your-face pop culture and genre references.  They also include a lot of literary devices such as repetition, book ends, and foreshadowing to give the movies such decent re-watch appeal.  The opening weekends for the trilogy have been getting stronger with Shaun of the Dead earning only $1.2 million and Hot Fuzz taking in $5.8 million.  Frost and Pegg also had a movie together a few years back called Paul, which opened to $13 million.  Positive factors for this movie are the increasing recognition audiences have towards the leads (the cast also includes Martin Freeman from The Office (UK), and The Hobbit) and an incredible 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of movies in theatres right now it is only showing in 1,548 theatres, the lowest amount of any of this week’s wide releases.  As well, the movies generally attract a niche audience, so that will limit ticket sales.  If you are a fan of well written comedy, British humour, and movies in general, this is my choice for a must see of the weekend.

The World’s End Opening Weekend Prediction - $8 million

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