After being pushed back several months due to its violent subject matter, Blumhouse’s thriller The Hunt debuts next weekend. Based loosely on the nearly century old story “The Most Dangerous Game”, the pic comes from director Craig Zobel. The cast includes Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank, and Justin Hartley.
As is the case with most Blumhouse Productions, this is a low budget venture with a reported price tag of $15 million. Damon Lindelof, creator of Lost, HBO’s Watchmen, and numerous film scripts, has cowriting credit.
The satiric tale was originally scheduled for September of last year before being delayed following the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings. The Friday the 13th reschedule could manage to capitalize on its past publicity, but I question whether it will. I believe The Hunt may not achieve double digits for its start.
Blogger’s Note (01/02): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my number down to $10.2 million
2020 begins at multiplexes in the same fashion as other recent years with a horror offering. This time around, it’s a remake of the 2004 supernatural pic The Grudge. And that Sarah Michelle Gellar hit was itself an update of a 2002 Japanese title in which Takashi Shimizu directed both. Nicolas Pesce is behind the camera now with a cast including Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, and Jacki Weaver.
As mentioned, this is the genre that has typically kicked off the cinematic calendar lately. In 2019, Escape Room surprised prognosticators with a debut north of $18 million. Two years ago, Insidious: The Last Key unlocked a gross just under $30 million.
The Grudge is not expected to approach those figures, but horror flicks always have the capacity to surprise. Yet this could also fall victim to the unasked for franchise fatigue that has plagued several titles recently. A decent comp could be 2017’s Rings, which was also a reboot of a Japanese series. It opened to $13 million and that sounds about right here (and perhaps a tad under).
The Grudge opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
Arriving two years following his breakout theatrical role in TheBigSick, Kumail Nanjiani stars in Stuber next week. He plays an Uber driver who picks up a detective (Dave Bautista) and becomes embroiled in action comedy shenanigans. Michael Dowse directs with a supporting cast including Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Mira Sorvino, and Karen Gillan.
Stuber premiered at the South by Southwest Festival back in March to mixed reaction. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is a middling 47%. That leaves it without the positive word of mouth that greeted Nanjiani’s Sick.
I don’t believe the rather generic looking trailers and TV spots will make this is a must see among many moviegoers. I’ll predict this struggles to even reach low teens.
ADog’sJourney finds its way to theaters next weekend and it comes without the controversy that greeted its predecessor. In 2017, ADog’sPurpose got in some water when video surfaced of an animal being mistreated on set. The film managed to turn into a decent sized hit with an opening just north of $18 million and $64 eventual domestic gross. That’s enough to warrant a sequel and Journey is also based on a book by W. Bruce Cameron. Gail Mancuso takes over directorial duties from Lasse Hallstrom. Josh Gad is back voicing the lead canine and costars include Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, and Betty Gilpin.
I’m not confident that Journey will follow the same box office path as Purpose did with its high teens range. I do think it’ll manage to top 2019’s ADog’sWayHome, which premiered to $11.2 million. A gross just under the teens seems like the right call.
ADog’sJourney opening weekend prediction: $11.8 million
For my JohnWick: Chapter3 – Parabellum prediction, click here: