The Calm Before the Guardians Storm as It’s Another Weekend of Less-Than-Unforgettable Titles on The Horizon. This Coming Weekend at The Boxoffice

By Jim Amos | April 23, 2017 7:01 pm PDT
Sleight, How to be a Latin Lover, The Circle posters

To the surprise of absolutely no one (not named Katherine Heigl), none of the new openers this past weekend were any match for the second weekend of “The Fate of the Furious”. The eighth edition of the high octane franchise took in another USD $38 million at the boxoffice on 4,329 screens. That screen count is up 19 from opening week which begs the question, hey Universal, who are these 19 that you didn’t give a print to on opening weekend? The Lost Colony of Roanoke Twin?

In any event, it was a dismal weekend for the four new openers as the improperly named “Unforgettable” could only muster up USD $4 million. Since 2007’s “Knocked Up”, Mr. Heigl’s films have opened up to (in order of release) USD $30 mil, $23 mil, $27 mil, $15 mil, $14 mil, $13 mil, $11 mil, $7 mil and now $4 mil. Now, I will admit to not doing well in Statistics 101 my freshman year at Babson College but even I know a mathematical trend when I see one.

Disney’s “Born in China” debuted to USD $5 million, which was about what was projected, Open Road’s “The Promise” barely hit the USD $4 million mark and A24’s “Free Fire” was in a free fall at an infinitesimal USD $1 million. For those of you scoring at home, that number amounted to a per location average of under USD $1,000. Yikes.

This week doesn’t look much better. But in the words of the late, great Jackie Gleason, “And away we go!”

“The Circle” (STX)—Emma Watson’s track record at the boxoffice is best explained by quoting country music singer Jerry Reed, who in 1971 sang “When you’re hot, you’re hot. And when you’re not, you’re not”. For every “Harry Potter” and “Beauty and the Beast” on Ms. Watson’s IMDB page there’s a “Bling Ring” and “My Weekend With Marilyn”. And before you remind me that this also stars Tom Hanks, I’ll remind you that for every “Sully” there’s also an “Inferno”. So there. This thriller about a mysterious CEO of a top internet company also stars Karen Gillan, John Boyega and Patton Oswalt. Rotten Tomatoes’ want-to-see of 98% from 9,960 respondents belies a tracking First Choice of 4 for the film.

The Verdict: This feels a bit too young for Hanks fans and a bit geriatric for Watson’s. Maybe it gets enough of each demo to hit double digits but this space is guessing not. USD $8 million.

“How to be a Latin Lover” (LG)- Eugenio Derbez is one of the hottest Mexican actors working today and was the star of the preposterously successful “Instructions Not Included”. Lionsgate and Pentelion are only releasing the film in 800-1,000 theatres but may I remind you that “Instructions” opened on 348 theatres and grossed over USD $10 million opening weekend.

The Verdict: Derbez’s star has only risen since “Instructions Not Included” and though that film had a family aspect to it this film is probably the first big title for a Latino audience in 2017. Anywhere between USD $7-10 million.

“Sleight” (HT)- This Sundance pick-up is an urban thriller starring Jacob Latimore (“Maze Runner”, “Collateral Beauty”) as a less-than-upstanding street magician who must use his skills to save his kidnapped sister. Reviews are positive.

The Verdict: Releasing on 1,000 screens this looks like a solid single at best. If it can draw an urban audience it may hit USD $5 million.

ALSO OPENING— Nothing of note. Looks like even the art film market is taking the end of April off.

Jim Amos
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