X Review

We’re used to the virgin in slasher movies. It’s typically a she and she’s usually the one that survives. Ti West’s homage  to that genre and other ones has a little demented fun with that character. There’s not a virgin to be found in X, but there’s one who loses her porn flick virginity.

A prologue clues us in that we’ll see a significant body count in what follows. Set in rural Texas circa 1979, a troupe of six travels to a farmhouse to shoot an adult film. The director RJ (Owen Campbell) fancies it to be a cut above the rest of them (they always do in these pics). His girlfriend Lorraine  (Jenna Ortega) is part of the skeleton crew who isn’t thrilled to be on the shoot. On the flip side, Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow) and her bf Jackson Hole (Scott Mescudi) are proud to be starring in the feature titled The Farmer’s Daughters. Mia Goth is Maxine, coke addled and desperate to be a star. She’s dating Wayne (Martin Henderson), executive producer of the big show.

The aforementioned farmhouse is owned by elderly couple Howard (Stephen Ure) and Pearl (played by Goth in heavy old age makeup). With a revivalist evangelical TV program playing on their set, we rightly assume they aren’t fully aware of what kind of shenanigans their guests are filming.  A slow build leads us to discover plenty of secrets about the couple.

is most obviously  a sadistic love letter to 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre though it telegraphs other influences. It even mentions 1960’s Psycho and how it became a different picture at midpoint. The same can be said here as the one day shoot is completed before a violent night rolls along. Halloween and The Shining get their due as do the cheapie grindhouse and skin flicks of the era it’s set in.

Where deviates a little from the formula is its occasional rumination on aging. Pearl, in particular, is reminded of what she’s lost in her elder state by the youngsters on her property. Her reaction won’t win her (or the script) any acclaim from the AARP. It does, however, give this a slightly unexpected and intriguing dimension.

My reaction was mixed overall. I found the lighting to be almost too dark at times. That said, there’s one scene in particular (you’ll know) where you’ll be glad it is. While is well-made and sometimes clever, its biggest fault is a common one for more high minded horror titles. I didn’t find it overly frightening. Furthermore, for a sendup of a brand where the killings are often violently creative – that’s in surprisingly short supply. The most passionate genre disciples will surely sing X‘s praises. I found myself somewhat less devoted.

**1/2 (out of four)

Men Box Office Prediction

Men is a later than usual addition to my box office predictions as it opens in just two days. This is Alex Garland’s latest feature after his acclaimed sci-fi pics Ex Machina (2015) and Annihilation (2018). More of a horror experience than his usual fare, the A24 distributed tale currently holds an 82% Rotten Tomatoes score. Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear star.

While that’s certainly solid, some critics have predicted that this won’t be an audience favorite. The best hope might be for a decent start as a hefty sophomore weekend drop is likely coming. It sounds as if it’s going quite wide at an estimated 2500 screens (something I wasn’t aware of until this late date). I could see Men debuting in the same range as from the same studio. It grossed just over $4 million and that sounds about right here.

Men opening weekend prediction: $4.1 million

For my Downton Abbey: A New Era prediction, click here:

Downton Abbey: A New Era Box Office Prediction

 

April 1-3 Box Office Predictions

After a lengthy COVID delay, Morbius with Jared Leto sinks its teeth into multiplexes this weekend. It’s the only new release and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Morbius Box Office Prediction

The third entry in the Spider-Man Extended Universe after the massively successful Venom flicks, Morbius likely won’t approach their numbers. Mid to high 40s, however, should easily nab it the #1 spot.

After an impressive start, look for the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum comedic adventure The Lost City to dip in the mid 40s with The Batman sliding to third. The five spot could be close between the sophomore frame of RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt (which should experience a steep decline) and Uncharted.

Here’s how I see it playing out:

1. Morbius

Predicted Gross: $45.8 million

2. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $16.4 million

3. The Batman

Predicted Gross: $12 million

4. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

5. RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

Box Office Results (March 25-27)

As mentioned, The Lost City premiered on the high end of estimates with $30.4 million (reaching just past my $28.4 million take). After a pair of Netflix hits, Bullock posted a pleasing debut and Tatum has his second solid performer in a row after Dog. 

The Batman fell to second after three weeks on top with $20.4 million, in range with my $21.6 million projection. The Caped Crusader reboot has amassed $331 million.

The Indian action drama RRR had the best per screen average as it began with $9.5 million, rising ahead of my $7.8 million prediction.

Uncharted was fourth with $5 million, falling short of my $6.1 million guesstimate. The six-week tally is $133 million.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 rounded out the top five with $4.5 million (I said $5 million) for a two-week haul of $27 million.

was sixth with $2.2 million, a tad under my $2.7 million prediction for $8 million overall in its first 10 days.

Dog was seventh with $2.2 million. I went with $2.7 million and the gross is $57 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

March 25-27 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Update (03/24): The Indian period adventure RRR is slated for a release on over 1100 screens and it could be a sleeper hit for the weekend based on buzz and pre-sales. I’m adding it in the mix for a third place debut.

Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, and Daniel Radcliffe will try to dislodge The Batman from its three-week perch atop the charts when The Lost City debuts this Friday. It’s the only newcomer this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on the comedic adventure here:

The Lost City Box Office Prediction

My mid to high 20s estimate for the well reviewed City gets it to first place as long as The Batman sees a drop in the high 30s to low 40s range. It could end up being a close race, but I’m giving Bullock and company the benefit of the doubt.

As for the rest of the top 5, current #2 Jujutsu Kaisen 0 easily surpassed expectations in its debut (more on that below), but the sophomore drop should be steep (similar to the 70% fall of animated manga tale Demon Slayer). That would leave Uncharted in third with Kaisen fourth. In the five spot, Dog (also with Channing Tatum) may have a slighter dip than in what might be a tight race for that position.

And with that, here’s my take on this Oscar frame’s top 7 performers:

1. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $28.4 million

2. The Batman 

Predicted Gross: $21.6 million

3. RRR

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

4. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

5. Jujutsu Kaisen 0

Predicted Gross: $5 million

6. Dog

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

7. X

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

 

Box Office Results (March 18-20)

While there were newbies to view, The Batman ruled the roost while Jujutsu had a terrific premiere. Robert Pattinson’s debut as the DCEU Crusader took in $36.7 million, below my projection of $42.1 million. The three-week tally sits at an impressive $300 million.

Jujutsu blew away prognostications with $17.6 million. The FUNimation entry (which was already a hit overseas) easily toppled my meager $9.8 million take. Like other genre fare, its opening frame should represent a large portion of the overall domestic gross.

Uncharted was third with $7.8 million. I was right on target at $7.7 million. Total earnings are $125 million.

Horror pic from A24 capitalized on solid reviews and came in fourth with a decent $4.4 million. That’s ahead of my $2.9 million estimate and it will hope for solid holds in coming weekends.

Dog rounded out the top five with $3.9 million, a touch below my $4.6 million prediction. It’s up to $54 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was sixth with $3.1 million (I said $3.7 million) and the massive haul is $797 million.

Finally, crime drama The Outfit with Mark Rylance started in 8th place with a muted $1.4 million. That is better than my $1 million forecast, however.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

X Box Office Prediction

Set in 1979 and melding the genres of horror with adult filmmaking, Ti West’s is slated for spots in over 2000 theaters this weekend. The slasher pic (which premiered at South by Southwest days ago) stars Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega (just coming off Scream), Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, and Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi).

Reviews are sharp with a current 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. That said, I do believe its box office potential is limited. Unlike most recent horror titles, it’s not a sequel/remake/prequel/requel. While A24 materials often receives acclaim, they can struggle at multiplexes.

Despite the hefty screen count, I’ll project this struggles to reach $3 million.

opening weekend prediction: $2.9 million

For my Jujutsu Kaisen 0 prediction, click here:

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Box Office Prediction

For my The Outfit prediction, click here:

The Outfit Box Office Prediction