Blogger’s Update (06/23): On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my Elvis prediction from $42.6M to $35.6M. That still gives it the #1 slot over Top Gun: Maverick… barely.
Warner Bros is betting that Elvis will get moviegoers all shook up when it hits theaters on June 24th. The extravagant musical comes from Baz Luhrmann, maker of Moulin Rouge! and 2013’s The Great Gatsby. Austin Butler, in a performance garnering some awards chatter, plays The King with Tom Hanks as The Colonel. Costars include Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Natasha Bassett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
While Butler’s work has been lauded across the board, reviews for the film are a bit more mixed. It received a warm welcome at the Cannes Film Festival and it could certainly be an audience pleaser. The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 77%.
The studio would love for Elvis to approach the earnings of Bohemian Rhapsody from 2018 (and maybe win some of the same Oscars). The Freddie Mercury biopic took in $51 million for its start with an overall domestic haul of $216 million. Coincidentally that’s the same figure that Gatsby made for Luhrmann’s personal best. WB is hoping for a better beginning than 2019’s Rocketman, the Elton John tale which debuted with $25 million (with a $96 million eventual tally).
Obviously Elvis Presley is one of music’s biggest sensations ever and that could propel this to a premiere on pace with Rhapsody. Older moviegoers have recently proven they’re willing to venture out thanks to Top Gun: Maverick.
I’m tempted to project this hits $45-50 million, but I’ll hedge a bit and say it fall a little shy of that.
Elvis opening weekend prediction: $35.6 million
For my The Black Phone prediction, click here:
The Black Phone Box Office Prediction
Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly awaited Elvis isn’t the only feature about a 60s rock icon premiering at Cannes this week. We also have Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind, a documentary that marks the solo directorial debut of Ethan Coen. Just last year, his brother Joel’s first filmmaking foray without his brother The Tragedy of Macbeth nabbed three Oscar nods.
Trouble faces a more troubled path to awards attention. Early critical reaction puts it at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. The story is apparently told almost entirely through archival interviews and it may appeal only to diehard fans of the troubled and dynamic singer.
Way back in 1989, Mr. Lewis got the biopic treatment with Dennis Quaid portraying the piano man in Great Balls of Fire! It received mixed reaction as well and didn’t resonate with the Academy. This probably won’t either. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
When we think of horror characters that have had legacies lasting over the past two decades, we think Freddy or Jason or Michael Myers. And yet – a green pint sized horror character made his debut in theaters twenty years ago Today in Movie History when Leprechaun opened domestically. It barely made a blip on the box office radar two decades ago, debuting at #8 with $2.4 million. And yet its staying power has been surprisingly lasting. It spawned five (yes five) sequels – Leprechaun 2, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 4: In Space (naturally), and who can forget Leprechaun: In the Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood? These sequels, with the exception of the second installment, were direct to video/DVD but the series longevity is nevertheless impressive. This February, we’ll see a reboot of the franchise with Leprechaun: Origins, coproduced by WWE Studios. Warwick Davis (who also appeared in Return of the Jedi and Willow) would play the title character and reprise the role in every subsequent follow-up. It’s Warwick’s costar in the original whose name you may also know – Jennifer Aniston, who I believe was on a TV show and in a few movies.
As for birthdays, we have two legendary musicians who also made their mark in film. Elvis Presley would have turned 79 today. His movie career mostly consisted of playing variations of himself in over 30 features. They included well-regarded hits such as Jailhouse Rock, King Creole, and Blue Hawaii. His biggest success was Viva Las Vegas with Ann-Margret from 1964. There was plenty of forgettable fare too.
David Bowie is 67 today. His storied musical career will be his lasting legacy, but he’s had a decent film career with titles such as the lead role in 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Tony Scott’s The Hunger, Labyrinth, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, and Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.
As for Six Degrees of Separation between these musical legends:
Elvis Presley was in Viva Las Vegas with Ann-Margret
Ann-Margret was in Carnal Knowledge with Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson was in The Two Jakes with Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel was in The Last Temptation of Christ with David Bowie
And that’s today – January 8 – in Movie History!