THIS WEEK’S TOP PICK
The Magnificent Seven
All eyes will be firmly on Sony’s remake of The Magnificent Seven this week as analysists are predicting a take somewhere just north of $40 million for the western re-telling. It will be relying solely on star power to get there since reviews are middling -it’s currently at 62% on Rotten Tomatoes- and the western genre has been almost unanimously ignored by audiences this century but the presence of Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington should go some way to luring audiences back to 19th century America.
The Magnificent Seven may be viewed as good ol’ fashioned entertainment by audiences going in but it’s surprisingly violent for a PG-13 and, in our opinion, does little to revitalize the genre. It may also have to swim against the current tide of disdain for remakes in a year that has held mixed fortunes for such projects. That said, the film is very unlikely to suffer the same fate as Paramount’s “epic” fail Ben-Hur and it would come as a huge shock if this re-tread of the classic tale isn’t the last man standing on top of the box office by Monday.
Box Office Predictions
If anything will be providing competition to Sony’s remake this weekend, it will be Warner’s animated take on the old wives’ tale of Storks. It’s the second effort from WB’s recently formed animation studio after the much-loved The LEGO Movie two years ago but Storks lacks the brand recognition of that joyous debut and is being given somewhat of a rough ride from critics with a mediocre rating of 51% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its current projection is around $30 million but don’t be surprised if it only manages two-thirds of that to finish in a distant second once the weekend is done.
Other than that, it’s the battle of the holdovers to see who can fill out the rest of the top five. Warner’s Sully can expect another small dip in takings thanks to its rapturous reception with audiences and critics so far and will almost certainly finish in third, whereas, last week’s non-starters, Blair Witch and Bridget Jones’ Baby, will be hoping their disappointing openings don’t suffer too much of a drop-off and try to remain in the top five. Universal’s rom-com probably stands the best chance of finishing in fourth but Lionsgate’s attempt to kickstart the Blair Witch franchise is seemingly being chased out of town faster than Elly Kedward in a Maryland settlement and will be grateful to receive something near $5 million. Indeed, Open Road’s Snowden could well hold its own to finish in fifth if it can avoid less than a 50% drop-off after doing decent business last week, ensuring that Lionsgate’s trip back into the Black Hills forest was as ill-advised as a group of young documentary makers doing likewise.
This weekend looks likely to equal last year’s equivalent in terms of total revenue (around $125 million) but it will come down to the two new releases to determine that as they could notch up anywhere between $50-90 million between them. The current trend is for vaunted releases to disappoint at the box office but many people could be returning to work humming Elmer Bernstein’s rousing western theme to prove otherwise.