Hollywood Could See 4 Straight Weeks of Bombs at the Box Office
Back in late June, everyone (including me) was shocked by how much money World War Z made in its opening weekend. The troubled production surrounding the film ballooned its budget to $200 million but despite the negative buzz, the Brad Pitt zombie epic opened to $66 million in its first weekend and is on pace to finish around $185 million domestically.
World War Z contributed to May and June seeing record-breaking grosses that put the year on pace to be the biggest ever. But since the last week in June, high profile summer movies have crashed and burned and the next couple of weeks could see similar results.
Sony’s $150 million White House Down started the slide with less than $25 million the weekend of June 28. Disney’s $225 million The Lone Ranger followed with $29 million over the July 4 weekend and this weekend could see another mega bomb. Guillermo del Toro’s $180 million movie Pacific Rim is projected to open around $40 million this weekend according to The Wrap. While that number is certainly better than White House Down or The Lone Ranger’s opening weekend haul, it’s still low enough to be considered a disappointment financially.
The giant robot/monster movie features no stars or an ’80s toy legacy (Transformers) so despite the positive reviews it’s been getting (72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Pacific Rim will likely continue the blockbuster slump.
But it doesn’t end there. Early projections have the Jeff Bridges-Ryan Reynolds flick R.I.P.D. opening below $15 million which would be a horrid return on a $130 million movie. Poor Ryan Reynolds. The guy just can’t catch a break.
The next $100 million movie expected to be a hit will be The Wolverine which opens July 26. The 2013 blockbuster season got off to a hot start and will likely finish strong with The Wolverine, 2 Guns and Elysium, but the middle portion will not be remembered fondly. Financially at least.
Ben Affleck in Talks to Star in David Fincher’s Gone Girl
Ben Affleck has seen a resurgence in his career thanks to his decision to work behind the camera. Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo were all met with critical and commercial acclaim and all that success culminated in Affleck winning the Best Picture Oscar for Argo this past year. Plus he’s figured out that if you’re the director, you can cast yourself as the star.
This plan has allowed Affleck to not only become a major player in Hollywood when it comes to directorial projects, but it has also given him an opportunity to revive his acting career. He’s already worked with Terrence Malick last year in To the Wonder and now he is in talks to collaborate with another beloved filmmaker.
Affleck is now in talks to lead David Fincher’s adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestselling novel Gone Girl. According to Deadline, production has stalled on Fincher’s adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Disney deciding to push back production to 2014. But in the meantime, Fincher appears keen on directing a smaller scale film.
While I would have preferred Fincher move forward on sequels to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, any project he’s interested in is intriguing and worth seeing. The man could direct paint drying and I’d go see it.
Gone Girl focuses on a man whose wife disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, only to have all signs point to him as the woman’s killer. The Wrap reports that Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt are all being considered for the female lead.
While I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan in regards to his acting ability, perhaps Fincher can bring out the best in him.
The Continued Demise of Adam Sandler
Opening this week is the sequel no one wanted, Grown Ups 2. Starring Adam Sandler and his buddies, the reason behind this sequel is of course money. The first film grossed more than $162 million three years ago and was Sandler’s most successful film in recent years.
Over the past fifteen years, Sandler has starred in 12 movies that have each grossed more than $100 million at the box office. To provide some context, over that same time period, movies stars like Will Smith and Tom Cruise; and comedic stars Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller have all failed to reach the same number of $100 million movies.
Sandler’s movies has been the definition of critic proof. All twelve of those films have been met with disdain by critics and while a movie critic isn’t always right, they’ve been pretty accurate in assessing the quality of films Sandler has chosen to do, especially recently.
With Grown Ups, Jack and Jill, Just Go with it, That’s My Boy and now Grown Ups 2, Sandler has had as bad a run lately as anyone in recent memory. Grown Ups 2 is currently at 5 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Movies like Airheads, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and Big Daddy worked back in the day because like Sandler, we were all young. We ate up that sophomoric humor. But Sandler is in his forties now. Hasn’t he made enough money by now to stop making these kinds of movies? It’s time to grow up (see what I did there) Sandler. The frat boy shtick has grown tiresome.