My, isn’t this a strange yet inevitable situation – Disney, omnipotent purveyor of cash snatching, is competing with itself. They’re doing fine, by the way. Anyhoo, we have quite a roster of films up against Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther, with a solid chance T’Challa will lead for the fourth consecutive frame. Let’s dig in.
A Wrinkle in Time (Disney)
Adaptation of beloved children’s book that’s seen decades of exposure? Check. Promising director leading charge? Check. Oprah Winfrey rocking Hunger Games makeup x10? You fucking bet.
For all intents and purposes, Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time ought to be yet another easy cinch for the Mouse House. Unfortunately, everything’s shaping up to be quite reminiscent of Disney’s 2015 flop Tomorrowland ($33.03m debut/$93.44m total) – despite a talented director (oh, and this is the first film with a $100m+ budget helmed by an African-American woman) and a promising concept, reviews have been pretty lukewarm for A Wrinkle in Time, and there just doesn’t appear to be enough interest to propel a big debut. What was once believed to be an easy #1 finish is far from certain with Black Pantherlurking about.
That said, family-friendly movies can be more resistant to critical reception and if general audiences take to Wrinkle in Time, more the merrier. Helping Time’s case is its responsible $103m production cost (Tomorrowlandcost $190m, to compare), meaning it doesn’t have to clear milestones like a rat race to break even. It’ll definitely need some overseas muscle, though.
Prediction: $35 million, #2 rank
Nash Edgerton’s Gringo is interesting. For starters, it has a super strong cast, featuring the likes of Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, and Amanda Seyfried. Conversely, its reception is terrible and it’s barely registering on anyone’s radar (its YouTube greenband trailer has a meh 1.2m views and its official Facebook page boasts a non-starter 7.9k likes), so that’s kind of awkward.
I mean, there’s really precious little to say here. Gringohas all the makings of a flub and STX (a relatively new distributor) lacks the marketing power to offset that. There isn’t any budget information for the film, but here’s hoping it’s low.
Prediction: $6 million, #8 rank
The Hurricane Heist (Entertainment)
Before we get into this, I’d like to draw your attention to this massacre of a poster:
It is just spectacularly one of the ugliest things ever. So there’s where we stand with Rob Cohen’s The Hurricane Heist, not made any better by its lack of reviews prior to release. There’s a distinct possibility that Heistwill be Cohen’s lowest-grossing wide release as director in his career, which is just trivia, really, because it’s difficult to imagine this being among his highest. There’s little star power to speak of and the only “hook” is that it’s an action movie, despite a marketplace not really asking for one. Cohen directed The Fast and the Furious, yes, and that credit may entice a wayward action fan, but probably not enough to rescue it, considering its $40m production cost.
Prediction: $5 million, #9 rank
The Strangers: Prey at Night (Aviron)
Bryan Bertino’s The Strangersis pretty well-known, despite its okay $52.6m domestic gross back in 2008. A follow-up has been teased since then, and a decade’s waiting has blessed us with Johannes Robert’s The Strangers: Prey at Night. Or maybe not.
It’s hard to peg this one; firstly, it’s a sequel to a reasonably popular horror film, and secondly, horror’s going through a bit of a Golden Age – Jordan Peele’s Get Out won the Best Original Screenplay award at the Oscars, not to mention the monstrous success of Andres Muschietti’s IT, which became the highest-grossing horror pic ever with $327.48m domestic/$700.38m global, plus the achievements made by plenty of horror films of late. On the other hand, it’s doubtful Prey at Nightwill play much beyond the first film’s fanbase, though this may just be another case of a new distributor (Aviron, in this case, with only one film under their belt, last summer’s Halle Berry thriller Kidnap, which did sort of fine with $30.72m) not having the muscle to attract mainstream moviegoers.