The Happy Prince hits stateside screens in limited fashion this Wednesday. Having originally premiered at Sundance earlier this year, this is a biopic of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde and it’s a passion project for director/writer/star Rupert Everett. American audiences may still remember him best as the BFF to Julia Roberts in 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding, as well as roles in An Ideal Husband and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
In addition to Everett playing Wilde, the supporting cast includes Colin Firth, Emily Watson, and Tom Wilkinson. Reviews have been mostly kind and its Rotten Tomatoes score is currently at a decent 72%. That’s probably not enough, however, for Prince to be an awards player in any category and it has yet to pop up on the radar screen in any significant way.
Bottom line: don’t expect Prince to find its way into contention. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
And now – for this week’s trickiest box office prediction. Baltasar Kornakur’s disaster drama Everest, led by an impressive cast and mountain set action sequences, debuts in IMAX theaters this Friday. Its reported roll out is on approximately 500 of the large format screens. When the pic premiered at the Venice Film Festival, solid reviews followed and it stands at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The marketing campaign has been pretty busy and it doesn’t hurt that familiar faces like Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright, and Keira Knightley are among the cast.
What makes this prediction difficult is how it’s being released. Everest doesn’t open “wide” until Friday, September 25th. However, 500 IMAX screens is nothing to sneeze at and higher ticket prices involved with that format could up the grosses. The only other film to debut on a limited IMAX run before a wide release was nearly four years ago when Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol did the same. It made $12.7 million on 425 screens.
Let’s be clear: Everest is highly unlikely to achieve the grosses of Ghost Protocol, which is part of a hugely successful and known franchise. There’s also the competition factor: adult viewers may be checking out Black Mass with younger viewers taking in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Still, I expect that Everest could reach a gross in the high single digits this weekend before its wider release that follows.
Everest opening weekend prediction: $8.6 million
For my Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials prediction, click here:
The Kevin James sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 may have slightly outdone expectations this past weekend, but his new picture out Friday seems poised to do minor business. James costars in Little Boy, a World War II drama with comedic elements that also features Emily Watson, Michael Rapaport and Ben Chaplin.
Opening on roughly 1000 screens, Little Boy has had a muted marketing campaign and early reviews have been underwhelming. The Open Road release actually seems like a prime candidate for an On Demand only debut and I’m a little surprised it’s premiering as wide as it is.
I’ll predict Little Boy does little b.o. activity at all.
Little Boy opening weekend prediction: $2.1 million