This weekend, the expectation is that there will be a cluster of films in the $20M range toward the top of the chart, with Sony’s Adam Sandler ’80s arcade comedy Pixels having the edge. Pixels is making a play for dads and sons, and will be sharing most of the family business that Disney Marvel’s Ant-Man and Universal Illumination Entertainment’s Minions have been garnering.
Conservative estimates peg Pixels in the mid $20M, however, it has a shot at making $30M. Minions shouldn’t be too far behind, also in the mid $20M range. Ant-Man will fall 55%-60% per industry estimates, putting him at $22M-$25.7M.
Similar to recent Adam Sandler films such as Grown Ups, Pixels is an ensemble comedy starring Kevin James, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan and Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage. In Pixels, the earth is invaded by alien forces after they misinterpret video feeds from classic ’80s arcade games as threats of war. The film was inspired by Patrick Jean’s short. Rather than sell the film on the faces of Sandler and James, Sony crafted a global print campaign around the edgy images of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong seen in Jean’s short film. Both installments of Grown Ups skewed female, however, with Pixels, Sandler is going back to his tried-and-true male fan base.
20th Century Fox’s feature adaptation of author John Green’s Paper Towns, which is targeting teen girls, looks to make $20M. The studio released the film version of Green’s The Fault in Our Stars last summer, posting a $48M opening and a final cume of $124.8M. That film had the added benefit of actress Shailene Woodley at the B.O., fresh off her success with Divergent. 20th Century Fox with Fathom Events will be hosting a special Thursday preview in about 500 locations, starting at 8:30PM EST/5:30PM PST with an exclusive Q&A with stars Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage and Jaz Sinclair; author John Green; director Jake Schreier; and producer Wyck Godfrey. In addition, there will be acoustic performances by Saint Motel and Nat & Alex Wolff. Paper Towns will then go wider on Thursday in previews. Weekend’s estimated theater count is 3,100.
With the bulk of family tentpoles this summers, Weinstein Co.’s Southpaw comes as a breath of fresh air for adult crowds. The Jake Gyllenhaal vehicle scripted by Kurt Sutter and directed by Antoine Fuqua follows the story of boxer Billy Hope who looks to get his life in order after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to protection services. While males will definitely show up, the film in its testing has been playing through the roof with women over 25. Overall test scores have been in the 90% range with a 77% definite recommend. Southpaw, with an estimated budget of $30M, looks to pull in an opening in the teens, however, the m.o. for this film is to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee all summer long. Southpaw will bow in an estimated 2,750 theaters with Thursday showtimes starting at 7PM and 7:30PM in about 2,000 locations.
Uni’s R-rated Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck, which has been a destination for older women, looks to bring in $15M-$17M. That’s a 44%-50% drop, which is the worst case scenario for the film. Distrib insiders, after watching Trainwreck beat expectations, are pondering whether the film will have the holding power of Bridesmaids, in which the female fan base continually came back. Bridesmaids slipped 26% in its second weekend.
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