Weekend BO Report: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Delivers A Regal $50m+ In Mixed Weekend

Not since 9th February have we seen all three new wide releases finish on the podium in a Box Office weekend. That weekend, ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, ‘Peter Rabbit’, and ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ took home the medals for Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros. This time around, the other half of Hollywood’s big six studios delivered the goods, as Fox’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker’, and Paramount’s ‘Nobody Fool’ earned $51.1m, $20.4m, and $13.7m alike to top the charts.

We kick things off with Rami Malek’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which beat our optimistic $45m forecast by grossing just $1m less than its entire budget. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s already broken-even, but considering the $73m earned from overseas 64 markets this weekend (and the $12.5m already brought in from the U.K.’s early release) giving the Queen biopic a royal worldwide total of $143m, it’s surely close.

Bohemian Rhapsody’ follows Freddie Mercury (Malek) and the rise of rock band Queen from 1970 up until the famous Live-Aid concert of 1985. Understandably, its opening weekend audience reflected the time period, with 78% being over the age of 25. Gender wasn’t nearly as skewed however, with women slightly edging the split with 51%.

The hope now is for a strong Box Office run in the face of little upcoming competition. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Fox’s 2nd biggest opening of the year (behind ‘Deadpool 2), will now look towards recent music-centric movies like ‘Mamma Mia 2’ and ‘A Star is Born’, which have gone down like a treat with cinemagoers, earning $120.8m and $165.5m each. A performance like ‘Mamma Mia 2’s would see the film finishing a little over $170m; a real possibility considering its ‘A’ on Cinemascore, and surely a welcome one for a studio whose only hits this year come from the aforementioned ‘Deadpool 2’, and ‘Maze Runner 3’.

While ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ over-delivered this weekend, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ neutralised any possible Box Office-forecast gains, bringing in a paltry $20.4m. It didn’t fare much better internationally, earning $38.5m for a $58.5m worldwide start. The story here lies in an over-inflated budget of $130m, partly caused by a production that saw over a month’s worth of reshoots, resulting in the film having two directors, with Joe Johnston receiving a credit alongside Lasse Hallström.

It wasn’t just this that doomed the film – a $20.4m start would barely suffice for a film costing half that amount. Its poor release date (too early for Christmas, too soon after a series of PG competitors) is compounded by the fact that two more Disney releases in ‘Wreck it Ralph 2’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ open by the end of the year, as well as ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ hitting cinemas in the next week, which should all stop any possibilities of ‘Nutcracker’ becoming a sleeper hit.

To make matters worse, its 34% on Rotten Tomatoes was backed up by an average ‘B+’ on Cinemascore. At best, it can hope for legs like another Disney bomb ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, whose 3x multiplier would give ‘Nutcracker’ a domestic total of just $61m.

It continues what’s been a strange year for Disney. On one hand, they’ve released record-breakers in ‘Infinity War’, ‘Black Panther’, and ‘Incredibles 2’, but also some of the biggest flops in recent history in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Solo’. ‘The Nutcracker’ is surely added to the latter pile, which Disney hopes to keep at just 3 films for the rest of the year.

We’ve had a hit, we’ve had a flop, now for somewhere in the middle. In third place this Box Office weekend was Tyler Perry’s latest foray, ‘Nobody’s Fool’. Made on a $19m budget and earning $14m in its 3-day debut, ‘Nobody’s Fool’ met its estimates and but never really exceeded its expectations. Perhaps it was the lack of ‘Tyler Perry’ (or ‘Madea’) in the title, or the adverse effects of having Tiffany Haddish lead yet another comedy (‘Night School’ is still out in 1,300 cinemas), but could this have grossed more?

Probably not. Let’s not forget, this is a solid start for the R-rated comedy, whose gross is just a little under that of this year’s ‘Tag’ ($14.9m), but comfortably above ‘The Happytime Murders’ ($9.5m). Paramount will hope the film is less like previous release ‘Action Point’ ($2.4m opening, $5.1m domestic total) and more towards ‘Book Club’ ($13.6m opening, $68.6m domestic total), although its poor critical reception threatens any real chance of such a leggy run.

Three new films slot into the top three slots. How far can ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ go? How badly will ‘The Nutcracker’ do? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: Disneys Bites The Dust As ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Opens at $45m

Written by Dapo Olowu

Well, they did say they would rock us.

As U.S. cinemagoers gear up for the release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it’s easy to forget the other 2 new films in ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ wanting to ‘break free’ from the musical biopic’s shadow. Still, ‘the show must go on’, and ‘BR’ is destined to be the ‘killer queen’ out of a bunch of ‘under pressure’ releases.

‘Don’t stop me now’ readers, the puns are out in full force, as are Rami Malek and co. in 20th Century Fox’s latest offering. Such is the anticipation that its rotten 58% on the Tomatometer will merely dent its opening gross – a gross that has steadily risen over the past month.

A recent Fandango report claims that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s presales outstrip that of ‘Mamma Mia 2’ and ‘A Star is Born’, two high-earning musicals released this year. Considering ‘MM2’, the sequel to one of the biggest musicals of all time, opened to $35m, and ‘A Star is Born’ earned $43m in its first 3 days, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s gross could be truly massive.

To be specific, we’re predicting $45m, which could even rise as the weekend draws close. This isn’t surprising considering the film’s production has been on industry lips since 2010. Back then, it was ‘Borat’ star Sacha Baron Cohen cast as Freddie Mercury, although creative differences led to his departure. After Ben Whishaw (don’t ask) replaced him and then too quickly left, the film was batted around for a while until Fox fast-tracked it last year, with Malek as the lead.

On-set troubles with director Bryan Singer, including an ‘unexpected unavailability’, led to his firing the replacement, Dexter Fletcher, to complete the last few weeks of production. Still, it’s been rather smooth sailing in the aftermath, as negative PR’s been kept to a minimum (Singer’s even still got the directing credit). With a budget of $52m, the film, also starring Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers, should have 0 problems proclaiming ‘We Are The Champions’ by Sunday night.

If ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s a success, then ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is a Disney disaster. It won’t be for the first time this year either, what with ‘Solo’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (maybe even add ‘Christopher Robin’ in there too). What makes ‘The Nutcracker’ so interesting, however, is the fact its release directly follows those in a similar mould. In the last month alone we’ve seen ‘Goosebumps 2’ and ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ two (albeit horror) PG fantasy films which have opened around the $20m mark.

Throw in the aforementioned ‘AWiT’, alongside ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ from recent memory all grossing similar amounts in their first 3 days, and a $21m opening was almost destined for Disney’s latest release. On a medium-sized budget, this wouldn’t be the worst situation to be in, but Disney spent an eye-watering $130m+ producing this bomb, which will struggle to remain in the top ten in a few weeks.

The critical reception doesn’t help its case either; its 35% on Rotten Tomatoes makes this Disney’s worst-rated film since last summer’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’. Like the Pirates franchise, ‘The Nutcracker’ stars Kiera Knightley, as well as MacKenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Jack Whitehall, and Miranda Hart. It follows the story of ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ from 1816 about a young girl who finds a magical Nutcracker doll. Oh how Disney could do with some magic in the Box Office right about now.

The final release of the weekend is Tyler Perry’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’. Released by Paramount, this $19m-budgeted comedy stars Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish, and Whoopi Goldberg, and follows Tanya (Haddish) potentially being catfished in an online relationship.

If its premise doesn’t drastically differentiate itself from the rest of this weekend’s releases, its R-rating surely does, and by having the smallest of the 3 films’ cinema counts with just 2,400, its doomed to be the lowest earner of the newbies this weekend.

However, a flop it is not. Being the first Tyler Perry movie in nearly forever not to have his name in the title doesn’t change the fact that since 2007, just one of his 16 films (yes, 16) has opened under $15m. Love him or loathe him, he’s got an audience, as does Haddish, so we see this one starting solidly with $14m.

Three new films but only one is the victor. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ looks to top the charts with some ease, but will it really beat ‘A Star is Born’s $42.9m opening? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Report: Double Trouble For ‘Halloween’ In A Record October

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s official: October 2018 is the biggest October on record, but that’s no real surprise considering the B.O. feast we’ve had this month. After both ‘Venom’ and ‘Halloween’ became the two biggest film openings in the month’s history with $80.3m and $76.2m alike, it was only a matter of time until 2014s record of $757.1m would be smashed. As we speak, October 2018 has grossed around $780m, and should reach $800m by the month’s end.

As mentioned above, a large chunk of that came from the Blumhouse horror phenomenon ‘Halloween’. This weekend, the slasher, directed by David Gordon Green (of ‘Pineapple Express’ fame), scared away any competition for a second consecutive number one finish, earning $31.4m in the process.

Being the biggest slasher film in U.S. history (beating ‘Scream’s $103m from 1996) with $126.1m hasn’t stopped ‘Halloween’s appetite for a large body-count, as it aims to become one of the biggest R-rated horrors ever stateside. Currently 6th in the all-time U.S. list, it has its sights realistically on ‘Get Out’ whose $176m leaves it 3rd, and, barring a freak collapse, ‘Halloween’ should fly past this in the next month. On the international front, its near-$50m gross puts the film just $30m short of a $200m total.

Of course, it wasn’t just ‘Halloween’ that contributed to the record month. Both ‘A Star is Born’, with $148.6m, and ‘Venom’ with $187.1m hold nearly 50% of this October’s gross alone, and their latest weekends of $14m and $10.7m delivered a welcome second and third place finish, mirroring last weekend’s efforts. What’s truly astounding are their global grosses: while ‘ASIB’ has smashed through the $250m mark, ‘Venom’ has just reached $500m, with its Chinese release coming next weekend.

From the impressive to the dismal, as Gerard Butler’s newest release ‘Hunter Killer’ sank to just $6.7m in its first 3 days. The $40m-budgeted action-thriller brought in half of the JUMPCUT forecast to join the list of other 2018 B.O. bombs. It’s Butler’s lowest opening since 2012s ‘Playing For Keeps’, and although it’s A- on Cinemascore may provide some legs, a domestic finish of $20m won’t save this from being lost at sea.

It’s a gross that continues a relatively tough year for Lionsgate, who long for the days of ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Twilight’. This year, their biggest domestic earner was last month’s ‘A Simple Favor’, which has seen just $53.2m so far. Disappointments like ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ ($40m budget, $72m worldwide gross) have been offset by cheaper, enjoyable comedies like ‘ASF’ and ‘Overboard’ ($12m budget, $91.2m worldwide gross), but this still leaves the studio relying on November’s ‘Robin Hood’, to really bring in the cash.

As expected, A24’s ‘Mid90s’ earned $3m from 1,200 cinemas to grab 10th spot, above newbies ‘Indivisible’ and ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’, who grossed $1.5m and $1.6m each. ‘Mid90s’, written and directed by Jonah Hill, opened wide just below that of last year’s ‘Lady Bird’ ($4.1m), but similar to A24s ‘Eighth Grade’ ($2.9m) from July. A similar performance would leave the critically-acclaimed indie film with a total domestic gross of $14m, a solid (if unspectacular) B.O. gross.

A record October, and strong weekends for ‘Halloween’, ‘ASIB’, and ‘Venom’. What does November, with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘The Grinch’, and ‘Robin Hood’ to come, have in store? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE

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Weekend BO Predictions: It’s a ‘Halloween’ Holdover As Its Second Week Promises $33m+

Written by Dapo Olowu

The only major wide release this weekend comes in the form of ‘Hunter Killer’, the Summit Entertainment action-thriller and Gerard Butler’s latest vehicle. It’s quite literally a vehicle; mainly set on a submarine, the film draws inspiration from such cinematic classics as ‘Crimson Tide’ and ‘The Hunt for Red October’, but won’t be able to sink ‘Halloween’ in its second weekend.

The slasher sequel looks to draw blood again in its sophomore weekend, with a gross close to $33m. After securing the second biggest October weekend with $76.2m, ‘Halloween’ remains on track to hit the $100m mark by Friday evening. Entering the weekend of its namesake should also welcome a smaller-than-expected drop in the mid-fifties, comfortably placing it above newbie ‘Hunter Killer’.

The pre-Halloween weekend is usually one of little fanfare, demonstrated by last year’s weekend winner ‘Jigsaw’, which topped the charts with only $16.6m. In fact, ‘Halloween’s gross should mark the biggest pre-Halloween weekend #1 in 7 years, since ‘Puss in Boots’ opened to $34.1m in 2011.

Moving onto ‘Hunter Killer’ now and the film, directed by Donovan Marsh, follows a group of Navy SEALs who must rescue the kidnapped Russian president. Alongside Butler, it features a strong cast of Common, Linda Cardellini, and Oscar-winner Gary Oldman, but can’t seem to make best of use of the talent at its disposable, with just 36% on the Tomatometer (but an audience score of 84%).

Will the conflicting critical reception harm its opening? With limited competition in the action sphere (only ‘Venom’ in its 4th weekend marks any real serious opposition), ‘Hunter Killer’ may have real room to breathe (or swim). An opening around $13.6m is optimistic but possible, a gross similar to Butler’s last 2 films ‘Den of Thieves’ ($15.2m opening) and ‘Geostorm’ ($13.7m).

The next release comes in the form of Jonah Hill’s directorial debut,‘Mid90s’, the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama produced by indie darlings A24. Starring Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, and Katherine Waterston, its release into 1,200 cinemas comes after a successful limited cinema roll-out last weekend. The film grossed over $258k from just 4 cinemas, earning one of the best per-cinema averages of the year thus far with $64.5k.

The film follows Steve (Sunny), a 13-year-old in 90s LA who befriends a group of skateboarders. It’ll hope to ramp up its Box Office pedigree with a $3m gross this weekend, enough for 10th place. Finally, ‘Indivisible’, the Christian drama distributed by Pure Flix in just 800 cinemas, will barely reach the $1m mark in its opening weekend.

As ‘Halloween’ tightens its grip on top spot with a second weekend mirroring ‘Venom’, which will end up as the bigger film domestically? Will ‘Mid90s’ reach ‘Lady Bird’ levels of success? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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REVIEW: Hunter Killer

Year: 2018
Directed by: Donovan Marsh
Starring: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Michael Nyqvist, Toby Stephens

Written by Chris Gelderd

This 2018 American action thriller, based on the 2012 novel ‘Firing Point’ by Don Keith and George Wallace, is directed by Donovan Marsh and stars Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Michael Nyqvist, Common and Toby Stephens.

As friction boils between American and Russian military forces, Russian President Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) is captured by his Defence Minister Dmitri Durov (Mikhail Gorevoy). A military coup is staged.

Learning of the coup, US Admiral Donnegan (Oldman) tasks a team of Navy SEALS led by Lt Bill Beaman (Stephens) to infiltrate Russian soil and rescue the President before they instigate World War III and attack America to show their military might.

Commander Joe Glass (Butler) commands ‘Hunter Killer’ class submarine USS Omaha and is to rendezvous with Beaman and extract the President. But Glass will have far greater dangers to contend with including Russian submarine commander Sergei Andropov (Nyqvist) who claims to be an ally, but can he be trusted…?

Pop quiz. Name five good submarine movies in 10 seconds. Go.

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Time’s up. What have we got? We have the stalwarts ‘The Hunt For Red October’, ‘Das Boot’ and ‘Crimson Tide’, right? Then possibly ‘U-571’ at a pinch, even though I said “good” movies. ‘K-19: The Widowmaker?’ Remember that?

Anything else? ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ or ‘X-Men: First Class’? Now you’re just clutching at straws. ‘Down Periscope’? I’ll accept that even though it’s total nonsense.

In a nutshell, it’s hard to do. The submarine genre is as dead as the western in mainstream cinema as it proves to be one of the most technically challenging and narrative dependant genres out there. You have the confines of a submarine no wider in places than a grown adult, and action based in a hulking great steel and iron vessel under water. It’s dark, it’s claustrophobic, it’s gritty, and to be fair it’s the best place to develop a really immersive, character-driven story. Yet nowadays, military thrillers are set above water for greater allowances for explosions, sweeping geographical action and mostly using stories based on the war on terror or armed force operations

But when we have Gerard Butler heading a new sub movie, you will have flashbacks of the loud, 2-D popcorn fests of ‘Olympus Has Fallen’, ‘300’ and even ‘Geostorm’. But wait, as much as we secretly all love the no-brainer action world of Butler, here he plays a pretty restrained and down to earth part. And he doesn’t even fire a gun. And still, the genre lets him down sadly.

As our captain, Butler has only one job to do – care and see over his submarine and his crew to get in, get the job done, and get out. He’ll do whatever it takes with his decorated military past as experience in navigating minefields, evading enemy subs or facing down those who have no faith in him. While the thought of what Butler could do in a submarine movie with a sub-machine gun, some grenades and outrageous stunts are exciting, director Donovan Marsh reins him in and allows him to do some good acting for a change based on character relations and a few great tense set-pieces.

The frantic calls around the ship as crew battle to prepare for diving out of range of torpedoes, or preparing to be hit, or making no noise at all to avoid sonic mines….it’s simple things, but all very humane things which capture you from the start. You can’t get distracted or bored, because the pressure and risk are so high at all times, your palms may even get a little sweaty and your breath will be baited before the all clear.

This is where the genre shines (it’s just a shame there’s not enough of it).

Cut between the submarine segments, we have top-billed Gary Oldman in about 10 minutes of edited screen time who heads up the political tension between America and Russia, barking orders about what to do and when to do it along with Common and Caroline Goodall as our US President. We also then have the Tom Clancy-esque Navy SEALS out in Russia led by a bearded, rugged Toby Stephens who talk tough, shoot often and deliver the oo-rah! might of America.

While this blend of genres may work on their own, together it proves a sloppy mix of story-telling, jumping from one to another just as you’re getting into something. While the cast is strong around Butler, Oldman, and Stephens in their segments, everything else just comes out a little generic and stitched together. I’d much prefer a stronger focus on Butler and the Hunter Killer itself, especially when the late great Michael Nyqvist arrives on the scene as a Russian sub captain holding a lot of aces up his sleeves in a “is he or isn’t’ he” a good guy. His screen time with Butler and the US crew only helps enhance the action they share.

When the finale arrives after the bullets fly and explosions ring out, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of ‘X-Men: First Class’ for some reason. I’ll leave that to you to discover, but it certainly goes on 20-minutes longer than it needs to, and sadly I was disengaged from the whole thing by then.

Submarine wise, technically, it’s brilliant. Wonderfully shot, edited and choreographed with satisfying SFX. It’s this I wanted to see more of without the need for bullets and bombs – just raw emotion mixed with doing your duty in the hardest environment possible where it feels the walls are closing in but the fate of the world and your colleagues rests on your decision.

Butler and the Hunter Killer didn’t disappoint and earn their star each. The rest of the film, however, sinks.

CHRIS’ VERDICT:

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