A particularly quiet Labor Day weekend in terms of both box office potential and quality makes it look like Hollywood is trying to do us a favor. Like, maybe it's time to clean our your garage, go for a hike, or like, talk to your family or something. Thanks, I think?
Weekend Forecast for August 30-September 1, 2013
By Reagen Sulewski
August 30, 2013
That last bit might only work if you don't have a preteen or teenage girl in your family, as a sizable number of them will be out at This Is Us, the One Direction concert/behind the scenes documentary. A Simon Cowell-created band of five British singers who have been on the UK cover of Non-Threatening Boys for eight months straight, they might be most famous this side of the Atlantic for one member having dated Taylor Swift for 12 seconds and thus inspiring a new album. Directed by Morgan Spurlock of all people, this documentary allows fans to see the elements of the singers' personalities that their PR people will let out there.
Concert docs came to a resurgence about five years ago with the Hannah Montana/Best of Both Worlds hybrid film, which is a weird irony given recent events. That film's surprising $60 million take seeded things for films about the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. Only the last of those really had much of an impact on the box office, coming as it did pre-Bieber's dangerous driving and bucket peeing era. But I digress. The success of these films tends to be a combination of striking while the iron is hot, and finding a hot enough iron. In the case of One Direction, I don't think it's quite the right timing – maybe about six months past sell by date. Think back to last year's Katy Perry doc, which managed just $7 million on opening weekend. That this is about “BOYS!” might bump it up a little, but we're still looking at about $10 million and a one-weekend wonder situation.
The second film of this weekend, Getaway, gives us that Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez pairing that we've been clamoring for since never. Hawke stars as a former race-car driver whose wife is kidnapped by a mysterious villain (Jon Voight hamming it up with a pointless German accent) and press-ganged into robbing a bank for him using his particular set of skills, along with Gomez's expert hacker character... wait, what? Essentially an extended chase sequence, it looks a little bit like a less ridiculous version of Drive Angry, Nic Cage's notorious bomb in 2011 which paired with Amber Beard. Driving movies not with Vin Diesel just don't seem to sell these days.
Hawke had a decent hit this summer with The Purge, but I'd caution against putting much if any of the credit towards him instead of the premise. This looks as generic as can be, and the director, one Courtney Solomon, is responsible for such classics as An American Haunting and Dungeons & Dragons, one of the worst things ever committed to celluloid. With an astounding 2% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, we're getting the international sign for “stay away”, and a constant stream of generic looking ads aren't helping any. This might earn $5 million this weekend and should feel lucky for it.
Ordinarily I'd discuss mid-week openers first, but Closed Circuit barely merits any attention at all. Starting out in 870 venues, the conspiracy thriller starring Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall and Jim Broadbent earned just over a quarter million on Wednesday and debuted in 15th (!) place. Talking about it any more almost seems cruel, like we're encouraging it. It'll be lucky to earn $1 million this weekend.
So, hey, The Butler likely takes a third weekend at the top by default, although a late break by the One Direction could change things. The Weinstein drama about race relations in the 1960s as filtered through U.S. presidents has earned about $55 million so far, and showed some decent legs. While it's unlikely to get a lot of guild attention, it's exactly the kind of crowd-pleasing Oscar bait that will maybe get carried through to around five or six nominations. It should slide in with about $11 million this frame.
We're the Millers probably has a small shot at winning this weekend if it can pull off some amazing legs, though its $9 million should be short of both The Butler and This Is Us. Still, that will put it over the $100 million mark, and makes it the mini-Hangover of this summer's comedy slate (and one might note, just $10 million or so behind the actual Hangover of the summer).
Planes continues to hang around despite its general disappointment, and should earn another $5 million or so on the broken hopes and dreams of Pixar animators. That should put it just over the earnings of The World's End this weekend, which at least has the excuse of being British and a cult film. Falling out of relevance very quickly will be The Mortal Instruments, Sony's attempt to make "fetch" happen, and which should make the makers of Divergent scared out of their minds.