Fall is in the air, and the winds of change are stirring a
cinematic shuffle in theaters this weekend as five films go into wide release,
including Weinstein’s “The Master”—after a record-breaking exclusive release—as
it becomes fall’s first Oscar contender to try and capture a wide audience.
It will certainly perform well, but doesn’t have a chance at
passing the old guard—Clint Eastwood—as his baseball drama, “Trouble with the
Curve,” hits 3,218 ballparks. Old Man Eastwood has proven he’s still got acting
chops as “Gran Torino” was a huge hit in 2008, although this will be his first
foray into acting this decade. Still, he’s got what Karl “Dredd” Urban doesn’t
have: box office clout. Expect a solid ground-rule double with $17 million.
The only thing that really chaps my hide is that theaters
are actually showing midnight screenings of “Trouble with the Curve.” Really?
Does every film get 12:01 screenings now? If Mr. Eastwood thought talking to
one empty chair was embarrassing, wait till he talks to hundreds/thousands of
them. “Dredd,” “House at the End of the Street,” and sure, “End of Watch,” I
understand, but are there really die-hard baseball fans and Eastwood
action-junkies that just have to go see “Curve” after Sportscenter tonight? I’m
pretty sure I’ll be the only one at my local AMC at the witching hour…
Jennifer Lawrence has had quite a year thanks to the
fanatical success of “The Hunger Games.” We all know Katniss can scare anyone shooting
an apple from long range, but can she scare the bejesus out of us without her
trademark bow and quiver? Relativity’s PG-13 chiller “House at the End of the
Street” aims to find out, and either way, she comes out a winner—this film cost
just $7 million. Debuting in 3,083 haunted houses, expect it to more than
double its budget: $15 million.
Also made on the cheap is Open Road’s cop drama “End of Watch,”
which was estimated to cost just $10 million—so another film that will likely
recoup its budget on opening weekend. Open Road’s R-rated cop drama should fit
the bill for those clamoring for some boys in blue, as there hasn’t been a
hard-boiled police flick in some time. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena take
down LA criminals at 2,730 sites, and should see $13 and six donut holes for
their efforts—that’s $13M to you and me.
And then we have the fall’s biggest conundrum: Lionsgate’s R-rated
comic book adaptation, “Dredd.” I think most people were expecting this to be
just as awful i.e. Dredd-ful as Slyvester Stallone’s 1995 film, “Judge Dredd,”
which was smacked around and cracked aground just like the cheap-ass plastic
Sly’s costume was made of. That film bombed
in fifth place with just $12 million and was actually beat out by the debut of “Mighty
Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.” You
read that correctly. Is it any wonder Disney didn’t want the rights anymore?
This may make your head spin, but out of the five films “Dredd”
is tied with Oscar-bait, “The Master,” as the best reviewed film of the bunch
with a shockingly good 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Say, whaaaaaa? For those
keeping track, the original had an abysmal 15% fresh rating. So, could
word-of-mouth propel “Dredd” into the top spot? Possibly. However, it’s only on
2,506 screens…probably because theater owners still remember the hard knocks
they took 17 years ago when the original tanked and tanked hard.
Remember, Sly's version cost almost $100 million and finished its run with just $34 million. The new reboot cost just $45 million, and will
no doubt be a huge winner overseas where 3D actually means something, so whatever it ends up making stateside is pure, unadulterated blood money. Let’s go with $15 million
for starters, and see if Twitter and Facebook start foaming at the mouth when
word spreads that this isn’t your Grandfather’s Judge Dredd…
While Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” wowed everyone
with its record-breaking PTA last weekend, expanding into 877 theaters this
weekend, it will be reaching for around $6-7 million.
(Sep 20, 2012) - Comments (28)