WWE Studios hope to get fans out of the arena and into the multiplexes next weekend with the release of FightingwithMyFamily. The comedic drama is a biopic of female English wrestler Paige and her quirky brood. She’s played by Florence Pugh. Stephen Merchant (best known for his acting and collaborations with Ricky Gervais) directs with a supporting cast including Jack Lowden, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, and Vince Vaughn. The world’s most famous brawler turned thespian Dwayne Johnson executive produces and plays himself.
Family premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rather strong reviews. It stands at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. With a reported budget of just $11 million, this should have no trouble turning a profit.
It’s a little tricky to figure out how this sport’s fans will turn out. The film is being released on a very limited basis tomorrow in four venues and it will be worth keeping an eye on its per theater average. Some may choose to simply wait for the On Demand release and watch this tale like they typically view wrestling itself. The participation of Johnson only helps, however. I’ll estimate that this basically grosses its budget out of the gate.
FightingwithMyFamily opening weekend prediction: $10.8 million
For my HowtoTrainYourDragon: The Hidden World prediction, click here:
TombRaider finds Alicia Vikander following in the career footsteps of Angelina Jolie – win yourself a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and headline a big-budget adaptation of a well-known video game. Lara Croft is back in a reboot that finds this London girl’s life as a bike courier interrupted by her tomb raidin’ father’s discoveries on a remote island.
Vikander’s Croft has been separated from father Richard (Dominic West) for seven years after he took off on a mission called Himiko and vanished. His task was to locate the resting place of a mythical queen on a remote island who can destroy the world. When Lara finds clues to the island’s whereabouts, she sails off with Hong Kong captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to find it.
Once there, she finds ruthless archaeologist Mathias (Walton Goggins) also looking for the grave. He’s got a group of mercenaries commanding a slave labor force. This portion of the running time could be deemed “Get Back to Work!” on the Blu Ray, since that line of dialogue is shouted loudly and repeatedly. Lara also discovers a lot of Papa Croft’s motivations on the island when not preoccupied by grand action set pieces. Both Mathias and Richard are guilty of neglecting many a daddy/daughter dance due to their occupations.
One of these days, the protagonist in an adventure will be faced with an extremely long jump over an object that is disintegrating quickly. They will make said jump and clear the crumbling item by about ten feet and be shocked by their solid performance skills. In TombRaider and everything else, that hurdle is cleared by approximately one inch and then the fall and then the subsequent Herculean effort to pull oneself back up. The first feature where the hero manages to do it with room to spare will elicit deserved laughter from the audience, if set up correctly.
Moving on, TombRaider doesn’t reinvent the wheel but earns some points by embracing its video game heritage. There are segments where it truly feels like the action could be generated by a controller. And it’s a testament to the direction of Roar Uthaug, the sturdy work of Vikander, some gorgeous scenery and well-placed humor that TombRaider is as engaging as it is. It’s far from perfect, but it’s more impressive than your typical video game adaptation and that includes both of Jolie’s Croft works.
Warner Bros hopes to kick off a new franchise nearly two decades after the first one when TombRaider debuts next weekend. Based on the iconic video game, it finds Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft that was first portrayed by Angelina Jolie. Directed by the awesomely named Roar Uthaug, the adventure costars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Nick Frost, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
In the summer of 2001, original adaptation LaraCroft: TombRaider premiered to $47 million with an eventual $131 million overall gross. The 2003 sequel TheCradleofLife experienced a significant dip with a $21 million opening and $65 million total. That was a long time ago and it will be interesting to see if old and new fans of the many video games will turn out.
There is potential for a bigger than anticipated roll out. In fact, the nearly $50 million generated by the first Raider certainly exceeded projections. Yet I believe this is more likely to earn a touch higher than the sequel 15 years ago.
TombRaider opening weekend prediction: $26.4 million
Nearly four years after the original performed above expectations at the box office, the dark fairy tale sequel The Huntsman Winter’s War invades theaters next weekend and hopes to reach the levels of its predecessors. That could turn out to a fairy tale wish for Universal Pictures.
In the summer of 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman cast Kristen Stewart (still hot off the Twilight franchise) as the former title character with Liam Hemsworth costarring as the latter. Charlize Theron also was in the mix as the Evil Queen alongside Sam Chaflin and Nick Frost. Everyone with the exception of Stewart is back with Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain included this time around. Snow White director Rupert Sanders has been replaced with Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.
While reviews for the original were mixed, it blasted out of the gate with a $56 million opening weekend and $155 million eventual domestic gross. Yet its reviews practically look glowing compared to this follow-up. Snow White ended up with 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. Winter’s War currently sits at just 18%. Even audiences who went to see the predecessor gave it only a middling “B” Cinemascore grade.
This begs the question: are audiences clamoring for this sequel, which reportedly cost $115 million to produce? I suspect the answer is no. Winter’s War arrives during the second weekend of The Jungle Book, which should still be doing big business and two weeks before the juggernaut likely to be Captain America: Civil War. This could be somewhat lost in the shuffle.
I believe this will struggle to make even half of what Snow White made during its roll-out and will end up as a large-scale disappointment that many moviegoers won’t be bashful about sleeping on.
The Huntsman Winter’s War opening weekend prediction: $26.3 million
Focus Features tries to get some animation movie dollars with The Boxtrolls, out Friday. The 3D comedic fantasy features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Tracy Morgan.
The Boxtrolls will attempt to bring in family audiences and there is certainly a market out there with Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having made the vast bulk of their money. However, some of its target audience may look at this as a B team offering. Reviews are sturdy with 71% on Rotten Tomatoes at press time. The absence of similar genre titles could lead to this to a debut above $20 million, but I’m skeptical. I’ll predict it manages an opening in the mid to high teens for a respectable but unspectacular debut.
The Boxtrolls opening weekend prediction: $17.2 million