This upcoming weekend the box office will debut two new ultra wide releases targeting vastly different target audiences. As the box office traditionally sees an upswing in the latter half of September we should be in for the first $100 million top 10 weekend in a month. First up will be The Magnificent Seven from Sony/Columbia, a remake of the classic Western of the same name, which itself was a remake of the legendary Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa. Its bookend on the weekend will be the animated original film Storks from Warner Bros. which will look to fill seats with family audiences who have been largely shunned since August’s releases.
The Magnificent Seven (Sony/Columbia)
- Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington are unquestionably two of the biggest A-list actors in Hollywood. Pratt’s two most recent films were absolute box office gold: 2015’s Jurassic World smashed records including highest opening weekend ever at the time (though since beaten by Star Wars: The Force Awakens), while 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy set the mark for the best August opening weekend ever until it was recently passed by Suicide Squad.
- The movie — about a group of seven who defend their small town against a group of invaders in the Old West — is a remake of the 1960 Western classic of the same name, which was added a few years ago to the Library of Congress select list of “culturally significant” films. This familiarity could help it attract older audiences in addition to the younger audiences who could be attracted by Pratt and the fight sequences.
- The last time director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke got together it garnered Academy Award nominations for both actors, famously giving Denzel his long awaited Oscar hardware.
- The highest September opening weekend of all time is Hotel Transylvania 2 with $48.4 million last year, or adjusted for inflation 1998’s Rush Hour takes the prize with about $60 million. If The Magnificent Seven bests either or both of those numbers, which it stands a serious chance of doing, that would help the film’s word of mouth and its multiplier as well.
- The Western genre hasn’t done well at the box office in Hollywood’s most recent few attempts, such as The Hateful Eight, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and The Lone Ranger. If this indicates a public turning away from the genre, than this film’s grosses might not be so “magnificent” after all.
- A CBS television show of the same title and based on the original film lasted only two seasons from 1998-2000. Perhaps that may indicate the plot line does not have the same resonance or popularity decades later.
- The 1960 film was originally a failure in North America and had to rely on European grosses and years of posterity to become the hit it ended up being.
- Reviews have been lukewarm so far, giving the film a middling 58% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes as of the time of this column’s posting.
Storks (Warner Bros.)
- The animated movie has a clever premise: in a world where storks deliver packages instead of babies, one bird has to deliver an accidentally-produced baby to her family. This original twist on the parental euphemism “The stork delivered you” could appeal to children given its talking animals and also adults with a wink and a nod.
- With both Pete’s Dragon and Kubo and The Two Strings performing modestly, the market hasn’t had a breakout family-friendly hit since July’s The Secret Life Of Pets and should be ripe for the picking.
- Late September has proven to be very friendly to the animated genre with Hotel Transylvania and its sequel occupying the top two slots all time with $48 and $42 million respectively.
- Unlike many CGI sequels the voice talent involved boast many B-list stars at best and doesn’t have any big name draws to help it to appeal to older audiences (Jennifer Aniston would be the closest). While perhaps just a side note, it is worth mentioning that Andy Samberg has previously voiced characters in the four largest September CGI animated openers of all time (both Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs films and both Hotel Transylvania films). Storks should give him the top five.
- The film currently has a 58% fresh mark on Rotten Tomatoes, exactly the same as The Magnificent Seven. Interestingly enough that is higher than both of the aforementioned Hotel Transylvania films (49% and 54%).
Top 10 Forecast
BoxOffice Pro forecasts this weekend’s top ten films will generate $123.1 million. That would mark a 2% decrease from last year’s $125.7 million when Hotel Transylvania 2 broke its own September opening record with $48 million.
Check out our complete weekend forecast below.
|Title||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total through
Sunday, September 25
|The Magnificent Seven||Sony / Columbia||$51,000,000||$51,000,000|
|Bridget Jones’s Baby||Universal||$5,570,000||$17,640,000|
|Snowden||Open Road Films||$4,000,000||$15,240,000|
|Blair Witch||Open Road||$3,160,000||$15,590,000|
|Suicide Squad||Warner Bros.||$2,820,000||$317,860,000|
|Don’t Breathe||Sony / Screen Gems||$2,820,000||$80,170,000|
|When the Bough Breaks||Pure Flix||$2,740,000||$26,960,000|
|Kubo and the Two Strings||Focus Features||$1,520,000||$46,390,000|