Director Guy Ritchie returns to the genre that made him known in the first place with crime comedy The Gentlemen next weekend. Matthew McConaughey headlines the pic that was already released in the United Kingdom on New Year’s Day to OK results. Costars include Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 75% with most reviewers claiming it doesn’t quite match the quality of earlier titles with similar plot themes.
Over 20 years ago, Ritchie burst onto the indie scene with his humorous gangster tale Long, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and followed it up with the successful Snatch. Later efforts in the genre like Revolver and RocknRolla failed to make a stateside impact. Over the past decade, the auteur has veered into blockbuster territory with the Sherlock Holmes franchise and last year’s massive hit Aladdin.
As for its lead, McConaughey is badly in need of a solid performer. His filmography over the past few years has been littered with bombs (Gold, The Dark Tower, White Boy Rick, Serenity, The Beach Bum).
I suspect that The Gentlemen won’t be it. That said, it should certainly make more than Revolver (which didn’t get a stateside wide release) or RocknRolla (which topped out at $5 million). My forecast has McConaughey and company just below or just topping double digits for its start. I’ll go with the former.
The Gentlemen opening weekend prediction: $9.6 million
When this blog started in the fall of 2012, Matthew McConaughey was coming off a solid two-year period which saw him headline the surprise legal drama hit TheLincolnLawyer and attract rave reviews for his supporting role in MagicMike.
Yet 2013 elevated the actor to a whole new stratosphere. His work in the acclaimed indie pic Mud garnered Oscar chatter. He had a memorable cameo alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s TheWolfofWallStreet. It ironically turned out that McConaughey’s scene partner in that film was his biggest competition for an Oscar. DallasBuyersClub would see the Texan playing Ron Woodruff, a real life AIDS patient in the 1980s. McConaughey’s work was praised and he took home the gold statue. His luck streak continued into the following year starring in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which stands as his largest grossing live-action feature.
Since then? Well, let’s just say the McConaissance has been interrupted. Or borrowing his most famous catchphrase from 1993’s DazedandConfused – it’s not Alright Alright.
This weekend, his stoner comedy TheBeachBum tanked at the box office. Its approximate $1.8 million opening is the worst release of the actor’s career. And it follows a pattern of now seven live-action duds (he did provide voice work in the animated pics Sing and KuboandtheTwoStrings). And to give a modicum of credit, he did skip the subpar sequel MagicMikeXXL.
At least Nicolas Cage had a string of action hits after his Oscar before delving into VOD territory. McConaughey hasn’t been so fortunate and he quickly needs a critical or commercial success to redeem things. His list of recent material is an unsuccessful and largely forgettable one. In three years, we’ve had:
FreeStateofJones, his summer 2016 Civil War drama that took in $20 million domestically against a $50 million budget. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was 46%.
TheSeaofTrees from later that summer. The drama wasn’t even released wide and didn’t make a million dollars (13% RT score).
True life crime drama Gold in January 2017. 42% RT. $14 million gross stateside.
TheDarkTower in summer 2017. The critically maligned Stephen King adaptation had a 16% RT rating and immediately ended the possibility of a franchise with earnings of $50 million.
Another based on actual events crime drama from last fall – WhiteBoyRick. 58% RT and $24 million gross.
Noir thriller Serenity from earlier this year. Barely promoted, it made an embarrassing $8 million total with a 23% RT score.
And now TheBeachBum, which won’t reach $10 million domestically either. It’s time for McConaughey’s people to find him some better stuff. His most memorable appearances lately have been in car commercials. If they can’t manage to do so, there’s always 2013.
Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway lend their star power to the thriller Serenity, out next weekend. The pic was originally slated for a fall 2018 release before its delay to January, which can often serve as a dumping ground for certain titles. Steven Knight directs with Diane Lane, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, and Jeremy Strong in the supporting cast.
The studio seems to be treating this as an afterthought. Marketing has been pretty slim. While McConaughey has had some hits since his Oscar win five years ago, there’s been some flops including FreeStateofJones, Gold, and WhiteBoyRick. Hathaway has a better track record as of late, but I’m not convinced her participation will help matters.
Serenity has a $25 million budget, so at least its potential losses shouldn’t be too significant. Like the trio of previous McConaughey titles, I don’t have this hitting double digits.
Serenity opening weekend prediction: $5.1 million
For my TheKidWhoWouldBeKing prediction, click here:
Stephen Gaghan’s Gold tells another fairly recent “inspired by true events” tale of excess and greed. Instead of nefarious Wall Street types (though they’re here), our story takes place in the gold mining industry. Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is a third generation prospector trying to keep his business Washoe afloat.
A prologue shows happier times for the company in 1981. At that juncture, Kenny’s dad (Craig T. Nelson) is running it successfully and his offspring is merrily working at it. Seven years later, dad has passed and son isn’t so lucky. He runs Washoe from a bar where he indulges in their key product heavily.
Kenny has a dream that leads him to Indonesia to seek out Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), a geologist who’s also run into lean times. They believe there might be gold in them Indonesian mountains. Finding it isn’t easy and Kenny even catches malaria, but eventually their fortunes turn.
As the company becomes an extremely hot commodity, Kenny must stave off the vultures of the corporate world, his competitors, third world governments, and the FBI. He also must battle his own issues, which includes the fact that he’s way out of his league suddenly running an operation of its size.
Gold is McConaughey’s show and we get the full Matthew here. That means effective dramatic moments mixed with comedic and quirky ones. He goes through a physical transformation here as he’s done before. Here, the effects of Kenny’s constant boozing shows. MagicMike physique Matthew is nowhere to be found.
There’s plenty to admire about the lead actor’s work here. The problem is that none of the other characters are very interesting. Bryce Dallas Howard is Kenny’s wife and their relationship goes through the familiar ups and down that massive success brings. Ramirez’s Michael is a bit of a blank slate for most of the running time.
There are a couple of legit crises after Kenny hits its big. One is quite a surprise in the third act and it left me wishing the screenplay spent more time on it. Another involves shady Indonesian politicos and it might have been another subplot worth exploring. It could have provided a chance to give us characters matching the dynamism of what McConaughey brings.
Yet the screenplay doesn’t go there. While its star provides some memorable moments, too much of the rest of Gold feels standard.
The first weekend of February brings new titles to the marketplace to compete with holdovers and a football game on Sunday. They are: long gestating horror sequel Rings and sci-fi teen romance The Space Between Us. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:
As I see it, both The Bye Bye Man and Split exceeded their opening weekend expectations (more on the terrific Split earnings below). It’s been a bountiful 2017 thus far for the horror genre and I believe Rings will debut just north of $20M for a first place showing.
The Space Between Us should struggle to reach the top 5 and my mid single digits forecast for it leaves it on the outside. Current #1 and #2 Split and A Dog’s Purpose should slide down a spot with awards hopefuls Hidden Figures and La La Land rounding out the top five.
And with that, a top 6 predictions for the weekend:
Predicted Gross: $20.3 million
Predicted Gross: $14.4 million (representing a drop of 43%)
3. A Dog’s Purpose
Predicted Gross: $12.5 million (representing a drop of 31%)
4. Hidden Figures
Predicted Gross: $10.7 million (representing a drop of 24%)
5. La La Land
Predicted Gross: $8.3 million (representing a drop of 32%)
6. The Space Between Us
Predicted Gross: $6.7 million
Box Office Results (January 27-29)
If the $40 million opening didn’t convince you, the second weekend of Split solidified director M. Night Shyamalan’s major comeback. The horror thriller took in $25.6 million in its sophomore frame (higher than my $18.5M forecast) to bring its total to $77 million. The century mark is in its sights and it experienced the smallest week 2 decline of any Shyamalan effort since The Sixth Sense.
Despite controversy, A Dog’s Purpose brought in a pleasing $18.2 million for a solid second place showing. This was much more than my $10.3M projection, which I revised down from an original estimate of $17.9M. Should have stuck with my first thought…
Hidden Figures (which won the main SAG prize yesterday) was third with $14 million compared to my $12.8M prediction. The Oscar nominee now stands at $104M.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter posted a franchise low debut in fourth with just $13.6 million, just below my $14.6M estimate. Look for it to fade fast.
La La Land rounded out the top five with $12.2 million, above my $9.9M guesstimate. Like Figures, it also joined the $100M+ club as it’s made $106M.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage was sixth in weekend #2 with $8.6 million, in line with my $8.9M estimate for a weak tally of $33M.
Sing was seventh with $6.4 million (I said $5.6M) to pad its now $257M take.
Finally, Matthew McConaughey posted a career low wide opening with Gold. It only managed a 10th place debut with $3.4 million (I went higher with $5.4M).
Three new titles debut this weekend, but none in the trio may dislodge Split from a second weekend atop the charts. The newbies are: sixth and presumably last franchise pic Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, family friendly pet tale A Dog’s Purpose, and Matthew McConaughey vehicle Gold. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:
We’ll begin with Resident Evil. While all other entries in the series have managed over $20 million (except for the first in 2002), the near five-year gap between sequels should hurt this, similar to how it just hurt Underworld: Blood Wars. Still, a second place showing looks probable.
That brings us to A Dog’s Purpose. Based on a hugely successful bestseller, I had this pegged at nearly $18 million until last week when a TMZ story alleged very questionable animal handling practices on set. My feeling is that the story has gotten big enough to hurt this significantly and I now have it barely topping double digits.
As for Gold, middling reviews could hinder this one and I’ve got it outside the top five with mid single digits.
Returning champ Split had a much larger than expected debut (more on that below). Even if it dips more than 50% (typical for horror titles), I still see it remaining #1.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage had an unimpressive opening and I expect it to fall from #2 to #6. That’s because both Hidden Figures and La La Land should reap the benefits of Oscar nominations. La La, in particular, looks poised to receive the most Academy nods of any picture in history tomorrow morning and that could contribute to a bump.
And with that, my top 8 predictions for this weekend:
Predicted Gross: $18.5 million (representing a drop of 53%)
2. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Predicted Gross: $14.6 million
3. Hidden Figures
Predicted Gross: $12.8 million (representing a drop of 19%)
4. A Dog’s Purpose
Predicted Gross: $10.3 million
5. La La Land
Predicted Gross: $9.9 million (representing an increase of 18&)
6. xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Predicted Gross: $8.9 million (representing a drop of 55%)
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million (representing a drop of 38%)
Predicted Gross: $5.4 million
Box Office Results (January 20-22)
On the weekend that we just had, maybe it’s somewhat appropriate and ironic that the #1 movie in America is titled Split. And the M. Night Shymalan pic rocketed out of the gate with a fantastic and unforeseen $40.1 million, more than doubling my teeny $19.6M estimate. This is the director’s fourth highest domestic debut, trailing Signs, The Village, and The Last Airbender. It puts the director, who’d been on a downturn until 2015’s low-budget The Visit performed well, on even more of an upswing.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage managed a middling $20.1 million in second, under my $25.4M prediction. The Diesel power is clearly stronger with his Fast and Furious franchise.
Two-week champ Hidden Figures was third with $15.7 million (a bit above my $13.7M forecast) for $83M thus far.
Sing was fourth with $9 million (I said $8.4M) to bring its tally to $249M.
Fifth place belonged to La La Land with $8.4 million (not matching my $11.4M estimate) for an $89M total. Still, as mentioned, its Oscar bump could be forthcoming.
Rogue One was sixth with $7.2 million (I said $7.8M) for a $512M haul.
#7 – Monster Trucks in weekend #2 with $7 million (I said $6.2M). Total gross: $22M.
#8 – Patriots Day, also in weekend #2 of wide release with $5.7 million (I said $7.2M). Total gross: $23M.
#9 – Sleepless in its sophomore frame with $3.4M and #10 was The Bye Bye Man, also with $3.4M in weekend 2. My respective guesstimates were $4.3M and $5.9M.
The Founder with Michael Keaton opened to stale results with $3.4 million in 11th, a bit shy of my $4.1M estimate.
Finally, two other newcomers posted low numbers as 20th Century Women expanded wide and made $1.4 million (I was higher with $2.8M) and faith-based dramedy The Resurrection of Gavin Stone earned $1.3 million (I said $1.6M).
Matthew McConaughey packed on some pounds for next weekend’s Gold, but whether it manages to be a heavyweight at the box office is very much in question. The pic casts the Oscar winner as a hapless businessman who strikes you know what in the jungles of Indonesia. Stephen Gaghan makes his first directorial effort since 2005’s Syriana and costars include Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Corey Stoll, Stacy Keach, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson, and Bruce Greenwood.
The early 90s set adventure comedy/drama faces some obstacles in breaking through. First, while it received a very late 2016 limited release for Academy consideration, that didn’t bear fruit. Gold stands at only 43% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. While McConaughey has been a draw in various genres, this may not stand out enough to strike… you get it.
I believe a decent comp for this could be the star’s previous headlining role – last summer’s Free State of Jones, which managed only $7.5 million in its premiere. Bottom line: I don’t see audiences rushing to it and I’m not totally convinced it even reaches the Jones number.