Before Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 and Universal’s Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom arrive to stomp and completely own the June landscape, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s gender twist Ocean’s 8 is poised to be a solid piece of counter-programming at the summer box office.
Warner Bros. is estimating low to mid-$30 millions, which is around what the Steven Soderbergh-directed George Clooney-Brad Pitt trilogy saw in those openings, ranging from $36M-$39M. More aggressive estimates for the reported $70M Village Roadshow co-production are above $40M, but forecasting has been so wonky lately it pays to be conservative. The 2001 version of Ocean’s Eleven, itself a reboot of the famed Rat Pack 1960s films, posted a 4.8x multiple for $183M stateside, while Ocean’s Thirteen off a $36.1M opening churned a 3.2x multiple for $117.1M.
While Sony’s all-femme Ghostbusters ($46M) divided fans with its gender swap, Ocean’s 8 arguably doesn’t have that baggage; its fans not so precious about the property. Plus, it should be an easy segue to get fans of the Clooney-Pitt films to get in seats when you consider the fact that they skewed around 55% female in their exit polls. Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of Clooney’s Danny, who spearheads a heist at the New York Met gala. Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina are along for the ride.
Also good to note that Ocean’s has more overseas playing power in its brand than Ghostbusters given its chic, fashionista, stylized tone (on this film and the early aught versions) with foreign repping over 60% on each title. WB Int’l and Village Roadshow have averaged foreign ticket sales on the Soderbergh titles around $200M-plus. Foreign openings are staggered for Ocean’s 8.
Previews literally start tonight in AMC locations for Ocean’s 8 and those ticket sales will be rolled into Thursday previews, which will be rolled into Friday’s opening number. The Gary Ross-directed pic will play in 4,000 locations by Friday. Rotten Tomatoes is at 78% fresh which is higher than Ocean’s Thirteen (70%), but lower than Ocean’s Eleven (82% Certified fresh). Ocean’s Twelve with its eccentric French New Wave plotting turned critics off at 54% Rotten.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story will slow down by -55% in weekend 3 for $13M, bringing its running cume to around $172M. A continued ugh. Last night, audiences erupted with joy during the end credits at the Incredibles 2 premiere, a pic which is poised to open to $150M next Friday.
Two other titles looking to counterprogram event titles this weekend are Global Road’s Hotel Artemis and A24’s horror film Hereditary,however, they don’t look like they’re going to break out, though the latter distributor always surprises and knows how to dial into their hipster crowds. Both are tracking in the mid-to-high single digits with Hereditary having better reviews (93% RT fresh) than Hotel Artemis (68%).
Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce makes his feature directorial debut with Hotel Artemis, an artsy thriller set in an ER for criminals in a dystopian future Los Angeles. Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella and Dave Bautista star. Global Road acquired domestic in February. Pic will play in 2,340 theaters.
Ari Aster also makes his feature directorial debut with Hereditary starring Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne. The Sundance title received great reviews out of the festival and is co-financed by A24 and Palmstar. In the pic, the matriarch of a family dies, and her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. Pic will play in 2,800 sites. Thursday previews start at 7PM for both pics.