A roundup of the latest trailers for the most anticipated films.
This Week in Trailers: Amy Adams in 'Nocturnal Animals,' 'Fifty Shades Darker,' Dwayne Johnson's 'Moana,' Jessica Chastain in 'Miss Sloane'
Conversely, ‘Bridget Jones’ wins the overseas race after opening to record numbers in the U.K.; back in the U.S, ‘Blair Witch’ also disappoints, while ‘Snowden’ marks the lowest opening for an Oliver Stone film rolling out in more than 2,000 theaters.
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow’s biographical drama Sully continued to fly high in its second weekend at the U.S. box office, while moviegoers grounded new offerings Blair Witch and Bridget Jones’s Baby, both of which came in well behind predictions with $9.7 million and $8.2 million, respectively.
Oliver Stone’s Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, wasn’t as much of a disappointment in debuting to $8 million, since it hadn’t been expected to do much beyond $10 million. Still, it’s the lowest opening of Stone’s career for a movie opening in more than 2,000 theaters.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, Sully fell a scant 37 percent to $22 million for a domestic total of $70.5 million, according to weekend results. Hanks stars in the film as Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberg, the pilot who made a forced water landing on the Hudson River when his US Airways jet was disabled. Overseas, Sully flew to another $7 million from 44 markets for a foreign total of $23.4 million and global cume of $93.9 million.
Sully easily came in No. 1 domestically, followed by Lionsgate’s Blair Witch, playing in 3,202 locations. Heading into the weekend, the direct sequel to the 1999 found-footage classic horror film had been expected to earn in the mid- to high-teens. While it isn’t unusual for horror films to be slapped with some variation of a C CinemaScore, Blair Witch earned a rare D+ from Friday moviegoers.
Blair Witch certainly isn’t a financial disaster, having cost $5 million to make. Directed by Adam Wingard, the movie stars James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry. For months, the movie was given the fake title The Woods to obscure its connection to the Blair Witch franchise.
Bridget Jones’s Baby, reuniting Renee Zellweger with Colin Firth and introducing Patrick Dempsey to the series, opened in 2,927 locations domestically. The filmmakers had hoped the threequel would match My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which opened to $17.8 million domestically earlier this year.
The female skewing film (79 percent) opens 15 years after Bridget Jones’s Diary became a cultural phenomenon. Sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason followed in 2004. The latest outing was once again produced by the British-based Working Title Films, with StudioCanal and Miramax (distributor of the first film) partnering with Universal.
The British-made film cost a relatively modest $35 million to make and should end up in the black thanks to the overseas box office, where it opened to a rousing $30 million from 38 markets, enough to top the foreign weekend chart during a relatively quiet weekend.
Bridget Jones, opening to $38.1 million globally, did bang-up business in the U.K. with a record-breaking $11.3 million, the biggest launch ever for a romantic comedy and the biggest opening to date for Working Title. Australia followed with $4.2 million, while the film also did well in Spain ($1.7 million) and a raft of Eastern European markets.
“Opening No. 1 in 24 markets internationally is a really big deal and a record-setter in the U.K. Obviously globally there is interest in Bridget and a well-beloved character, going back to the book,” said Universal domestic distribution Nick Carpou.
(One clear win for Universal over the weekend was Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets, which jumped the $800 million mark globally to become the sixth top-grossing film of 2016 to date.)
In North America, Bridget Jones’s Baby earned a B+ CinemaScore. Carpou said it was a “challenging weekend for newcomers” overall.
Close attention will be paid to the ongoing performance of Stone’s Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo and Tom Wilkinson also star in the film, which cost a pricey $40 million to make, a pricey number for an independent film. While it certainly fared better than Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate, which tanked with a $1.7 million debut in fall 2013, Snowden is a big question mark, although it did earn an A CinemaScore.
Stone’s movie, playing in 2,443 theaters, is being distributed in the U.S. by Open Road Films. It hopes to be an awards-season player and recently made a stop at the Toronto International Film Festival (as did Blair Witch). Open Road distributed last year’s Oscar-winning Spotlight.
“Snowden is a smart and provocative thriller that connected strongly with audiences. While we’d like to have seen a slightly bigger number for the opening weekend, we are very encouraged by the A Cinemascore and exit polls and we expect the movie to thrive for several more weeks,” said Open Road marketing president Jonathan Helfgot in a statement.
Opening in far fewer theaters, or 816 locations, was the faith-based documentary Hillsong: Let Hope Rise chronicling the popular Australia-based Christian band. The film opened to $1.3 million, likewise behind expectations.
New offerings at the specialty box office included Ron Howard’s documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years. The movie opened in 85 theaters with a weekend gross 615,632 and location average of $7,243 at the same time that it is being made available on Hulu. Including special Thursday-night screenings, the doc has grossed a total of $772,467.
Mr. Church, marking Eddie Murphy’s first turn on the big screen since 2012, opened to $407,151 from 354 theaters for a paltry location average of $1,150.
Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m. Updated with foreign numbers.
The first-window deal sees the video streamer keep ‘The Rolling Stones ‘Ole! Ole! Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America’ away from Netflix.
The subscription VOD platform Crave TV has bid against Netflix for movie titles at the Toronto Film Festival, and nabbed the concert feature The Rolling Stones Ole! Ole! Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America from Eagle Rock Entertainment. CraveTV bought out the Canadian theatrical and all other windows to keep the concert film and travelogue away from Netflix.
Otherwise Netflix had a busy TIFF, having snapped up the worldwide rights to the Justin Timberlake concert film Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids, which debuted earlier in the festival. And Netflix launched in Toronto four documentaries — Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn’s Amanda Knox; Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer’s Into the Inferno; Leonardo DiCaprio’s executive produced The Ivory Game, by directors Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson; and The White Helmets, from director Orlando von Einsiedel.
CraveTV has spent heavily on U.S. TV shows to fend off Netflix in Canada via package deals with HBO, Showtime and the major Hollywood studios.
The deal for The Rolling Stones doc, the first by CraveTV at the Toronto Film Festival, followed director Paul Dugdale’s film having its own world premiere in Toronto on Friday night, with Rolling Stones band members Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on the red carpet.
As part of the deal, CraveTV also acquired the Stones’ companion concert film, The Rolling Stones Havana Moon, a film based on the mega group’s Havana show, and also directed by Dugdale. Previously CraveTV acquired music specials in post theatrical or pay TV windows. This makes taking all Canadian rights a first.
The SVOD will stream The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole: A Trip Across Latin America from Oct. 14, with The Rolling Stones Havana Moon to follow with a Jan. 2017 launch. After their exclusive first-windows on CraveTV, the concert specials will move to parent Bell Media’s pay TV platform, The Movie Network, and then to cable channels like Bravo! and MUCH.
The specials will then air in Canada on the top-rated CTV network.
Bujar Alimani’s sensitive coming-of-age drama is about a boy’s search for independence in a dysfunctional family.
Albania has submitted Bujar Alimani’s coming-of-age drama Chromium to the Oscars in the foreign-language category.
A sensitive story about a 15-year-old boy’s search for independence as he strives to pull away from his mute and lonely mother, it is the director’s second time as the national Oscar nominee. In 2011 Alimani’s last feature, Amnesty – about conjugal visits in a prison – was submitted in the foreign-language category but failed to make the final shortlist.
In Chromium Fredjon Ruci plays Adi, a quiet boy living in a small house on the edge of town with his younger brother and deaf-mute mother. Hoping to find some independence and earn extra money, the teenager goes to work illegally in a chromium mine, not realizing that the decision will have consequences for his entire family.
Told largely through long, carefully composed shots where body language and the character’s internal experiences are more important than dialogue, the boy’s rebellious nature is mirrored in that of a young female teacher (Mirela Naska) who is the only person to trust him.
The film, which had its world premiere in Karlovy Vary’s East of the West section in 2015 is a co-production between Albania, Germany, Greece and Kosovo. Producers are 90 Production Gegnia Film and Tefta Bejko, Valon Jakupaj, Anita Elsani, Thanos Anastopoulos and Stella Theodorakis.
Albania has submitted films in the foreign-language category to the Academy Awards nine times since 1996 but never made the final shortlist.