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.
After a decade away from behind the camera, Hacksaw Ridge marks Mel Gibson’s directorial return. The World War II true-life tale casts Andrew Garfield as a conscientious objector who nevertheless ended up being awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic exploits on the battlefield. Costars include Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, and Rachel Griffiths.
The reported $45 million production debuted at Venice Film Festival in September to very positive word of mouth. Its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 94% and it seems to be gaining some traction as a potential awards contender. Ridge is the first war drama of November, but will be followed up quickly just a week later with Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Gibson, of course, is an Oscar winner for his direction of 1995’s Braveheart and struck box office gold in 2004 with his follow-up, The Passion of the Christ. 2006’s Apocalypto was his last job as director and it grossed $50M domestic. The last decade has been an interesting one for Mr. Gibson – notable more for tabloid fodder than anything on the silver screen. His acting jobs have ranged from supporting roles in Machete Kills and The Expendables 3 to direct to On Demand action flicks like Get the Gringo and Blood Father.
It’s a legitimate question whether or not his name adds anything here. None of its stars carry much box office potency either (though Garfield will also soon headline this fall’s eagerly awaited Martin Scorsese drama Silence). What might help is the encouraging critical buzz swirling around it. I don’t expect an opening above $15 million, yet this could be a slow burner that experiences small declines in subsequent weekends. I’ll predict the most likely scenario is a low double digits opening and potential for growth as the season wears on.
Hacksaw Ridge opening weekend prediction: $12.1 million
Nearly 25 years ago, eventual Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow made Point Break, an effective mix of action and surfing that starred Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. It turned into quite a cult hit and Warner Bros. has teed up a Christmas Day remake that comes with a reported $120 million budget.
The pic stars Edgar Ramirez (pulling double duty over the holidays in Joy), Luke Bracey, and Ray Winstone. Break has already opened overseas to so-so results. The questions begs itself: are audiences clamoring for a Point Break remake? While the original deserves its solid reputation, is the remembrance of it fond enough so that action fans will see it? And there’s also the fact that genre fans might be taking in Star Wars in its second weekend for the first time. Or second or third.
Considering those factors, I’m even skeptical that this breaks double digits in its debut. To be fair, another recent action remake Red Dawn opened to $14 million and $21 million over the Thanksgiving 2012 holiday, which was more than I predicted by quite a bit. That aside, I’ll estimate that Point Break just squeaks by the double digit mark for a disappointing start.
Point Break opening weekend prediction: $11 million