3rd UPDATE, Friday 10:10PM: No amount of prayers and candle lighting will save Sony’s Inferno from eternal damnation at the domestic box office as the $75M-budgeted production is crashing toward an estimated three-day No. 1 opening of $16.6M after a $5.5M-$6M Friday (that includes $800K previews).

At the present time, Inferno‘s FSS is -64% from its previous installment, 2009’s Angels & Demons ($46.2M), which was 40% off from 2006’s Da Vinci Code‘s $77M opening. Da Vinci Code continues to stand as a record opening for both director Ron Howard and leading man Tom Hanks’s live action features.


The opening figure is based off of east coast late night estimates, so there’s a chance that the number could go a tad higher by tomorrow morning, but don’t expect any miracles. It also doesn’t help that Inferno is following in the wake of a slew other solid-grossing adult thrillers at the B.O.: Girl on the Train ($66M), The Accountant ($61M), and Jack Reacher Never Go Back ($39.3M). The only saving grace that was bestowed on Inferno tonight was that the pic earned the same CinemaScore as its two previous Dan Brown installments Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons: a ‘B+’.

In The Heart Of The Sea

Given the author’s global fandom with 200M-plus books sold worldwide, Sony was wise to debut Inferno abroad first before hitting the U.S. When it comes to Hollywood tentpoles, foreign audiences are less severe in their reception, and by launching U.S. after several offshore markets, it prevented a global pandemic of bad buzz. By Sunday, the fifth collaboration between director Ron Howard and leading man Tom Hanks will count a foreign cume of $150M, which includes a solid China opening of $14M.  Inferno is in better shape than Howard’s previous title, the $100M-plus budgeted disaster In the Heart of the Sea ($93.9M). But with this type of start in the U.S., it’s unlikely that Inferno will break even. Counting an estimated global P&A between $70M and $80M, total theatrical expenses for Inferno stand at $155M. Inferno burns Howard’s box office track record more than Hank’s as it’s the director’s fourth back-to-back misfire after In the Heart of the Sea ($25M domestic, $93.9M global), Rush ($26.9M, $90.2M), and The Dilemma ($48.5M, $69.7M).

Why did Sony make Inferno? Business wise, they were looking to extend their Robert Langdon adult franchise which brought them $1.2B at the worldwide B.O. from two movies.  The 2013 book topped that year’s book sales, held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times hardcover list for 11 weeks, and supposedly sold 6M copies — a far cry from Da Vinci Code‘s 80M. Ron Howard opted to skip directing the big screen version of Brown’s 2009 novel The Lost Symbol, but boarded Inferno instead.


But the biggest problem with Inferno is that it’s part of a franchise that has grown horribly stale. More specifically, when it comes to the European-trotting hijinks of Robert Langdon, Da Vinci Code is an impossible act to follow. The first people to show up for a bestseller on the big screen are the hardcore readers, and Inferno received mixed book reviews, which also doesn’t assist in its start this weekend.

When Da Vinci Code first hit stands 13 years ago, the book was a controversial global bestseller, and the riveting tenet in the thriller was that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene married and had children. It was a plot that Harvard professor Langdon uncovered. The book and film also lifted the veil on Catholic Church secret society Opus Dei.

The stakes have been diluted in Inferno: Langdon is (yawn) trying to prevent a viral outbreak while decoding Dante’s Inferno as he’s pursued by adversaries throughout Florence, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey.

da vinci code protest

Before Da Vinci Code even opened in theaters, Sony was benefiting from a huge build-up in moviegoers’ interest around the globe.  Vatican officials denounced The Da Vinci Code and urged a boycott. The Greek Orthodox Church called Code false. Opus Dei and the Catholic League demanded that Sony add a disclaimer in the film’s opening credits noting the pic was based on fiction (which the studio didn’t do). In an effort to ward off a Last Temptation of Christ P.R. nightmare before the pic opened, Sony hired a slew of consultants including Allan Mayer of the crisis P.R. firm Sitrick & Co. (which also worked on Steven Spielberg’s Munich), faith-based Grace Hill Media to focus on Christian crowds, as well as theology professors from Notre Dame, Princeton, and the Harvard Divinity School. The Vatican screened the doc The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception before the Howard pic opened at the Cannes Film Festival. Sony held off press screenings to the last possible minute to quell any bad word of mouth that would spring up. This perfect storm fueled Da Vinci Code to a then best domestic opening of 2006 with $77M and final domestic cume of $217.5M, and global tally of $758.2M.

Distributors told us that Halloween falling on a Monday along with the World Series would only impact ticket sales between 1%-10% this weekend, however, if you look back at the last time Halloween fell on a Monday –October 2011– it shows that if you have the goods, audiences will indeed come to the theater. During that period, DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots opened to $34M followed by Parnormal Activity 3 in its second weekend with $18M.

What’s sending Inferno to Hades this weekend are the critics who’ve damned the pic with a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score. New York‘s David Edelstein blasts, “Ron Howard’s mostly lame adaptation of Dan Brown’s wholly lame novel” while New York Post‘s droll Kyle Smith exclaims that in Inferno, “nothing is what it seems, unless it seems ridiculous, in which case it’s exactly what it seems.” Social media monitor Relish Mix noticed that there wasn’t that much excitement online for Inferno with trailers being passed around at a lousy viral rate of 7:1 (10:1 is the average for a big studio release). Relish Mix also observed that Hanks, despite having 20M social media followers, avoids promoting his films on his channels (he didn’t even tubthump Sully which now counts $122.4M stateside). Reported RelishMix heading into the weekend, “Inferno is not on fire on social and there’s been some very lukewarm conversation. For example, many fans of the series are confused why the film franchise went to Inferno before the next installment after Angels & Demons, which was The Lost Symbol…Many are not impressed with the footage they’re seeing (on social).  They voice their frustrations with Angels & Demons and some of Brown’s other works.  Once again, the domestic audience seems lukewarm to Inferno while the foreign interest seems palpable.”

Moonlight Review

A24’s expansion of its awards hopeful Moonlight from four New York and Los Angeles venues to 36 sites is still looking at the top theater average on the chart in its second weekend with an estimated $23,300. Last weekend the Barry Jenkins-directed movie about an African American boy’s ascent in his urban Miami stomping ground drew the year’s highest grossing opening PTA to date with $100,519. Outside of any studio animated movies, Moonlight is one of 16 live action titles to post an opening PTA north of $100K.

The top 11 movies for Oct. 28-30 based off of early Friday night industry projections:

1). Inferno  (SONY), 3,576 theaters / $5.5M-$6M Fri. (includes $800K previews)/3-day cume: $16.6M /Wk 1

2). Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween  (LG), 2,299 theaters (+39) / $4.4M Fri. (-53%)/3-day cume: $15.1M (-47%)/Total B.O.: $50.5M/ Wk 2

3). Jack Reacher: Never Go Back  (PAR), 3,780 theaters / $2.8M Fri. (-68%) /3-day cume: $9.1M (-60%)/Total B.O.: $39.3M/Wk 2

4). The Accountant (WB), 3,402 theaters (+70) / $2.5M Fri. (-42%)/3-day cume: $8.3M (-39%)/Total: $61M/ Wk 3

5). Ouija: Origin of Evil  (UNI), 3,168 theaters (+1)/ $2.2M Fri. (-60%) /3-day cume: $6.5M (-54%)/Total:$24M/Wk 2

6). The Girl on the Train  (UNI/DW), 2,758 theaters  (-333) / $1.4M Fri. (-40%)/ 3-day cume: $4.4M (-39%)/Total: $66M/ Wk 4

7). Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children  (FOX), 2,797 theaters (-336) / $1.1M Fri. (-35%)  3-day cume: $3.8M (-35%)/Total: $79.8M/Wk 5

8). Keeping Up With the Joneses  (FOX), 3,022 theaters / $1.1M Fri. (-46%) /3-day cume: $3.5M (-36%)/Total: $10.9M/ Wk 2

9). Storks  (WB), 1,901 theaters (-244) / $682K Fri.  (-34%)/3-day cume: $2.6M(-34%) /Total: $68.1M/ Wk 6

10). Deepwater Horizon  (LG), 2,054 theaters (-774) / $595K Fri. (-45%)/ 3-day cume: $1.9M (-43%)/Total: $58.1M/ Wk 5

11). Ai Dil Hai Mushkil  (FIP), 302 theaters / $675k Fri. /3-day cume: $1.87M /Wk 1


Moonlight  (A24), 36 theaters (+32) / $263K Fri. (+100%)/PTA: $23,3k / 3-day cume: $838k (+108%)/Total: $1.4M/ Wk 2

I’m Not Ashamed  (PURE), 516 theaters (+11) / $149k Fri.(-55%)/ 3-day cume: $522k (-44%)/Total: $1.7M Wk 2

Gimme Danger  (MAG), 2 theaters /$15k Fri/PTA: $22,5k/ 3-day cume: $45K / Wk 1


2ND UPDATE, noon: It’s not looking so hot for Sony/LStar Capital’s Inferno right now. Matinees at the domestic box office are soft and are pointing toward an estimated Friday of $6.5 million and a three-day of $18M, which is below the low- to mid-$20M tracking. But wait a minute: Didn’t Tom Hanks’ movie Bridge Of Spies open to $15.4M last October and leg out to $72.3M? Yes, but Inferno is different. It’s getting pummeled by critics with a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score, and Bridge of Spies was beloved with a 91% fresh score. That’s what contributed to its 4.7 multiple. In addition, Bridge Of Spies cost close to 50% less than Inferno‘s $75M.

The midday report always comes with a disclaimer that grosses could improve, but as we mentioned previously, it’s a tough weekend…

Source link

Leave a comment