Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
September 24, 2013
Kim Hollis: Prisoners, the Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal/Terrence Howard thriller, earned $20.8 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Jason Barney: This is a pretty significant start. First, opening to a little bit less than half of the budget is great, as it ensures the film will make money when all is said and done. International revenue will be up in the air, but Jackman could be a pretty decent draw for a film like this one. Also, this opening means audiences have been able to look past the darker elements and embrace it to some degree. With a 79% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, people will be curious. Third, this continues a hot streak for Jackman, who a couple of years ago some people were wondering if his career meant much beyond the Wolverine character. Since 2011, he has had some big domestic and international draws. Real Steel, Les Miserables, Wolverine, and now this. He has definitely branched out beyond Wolfy.
Brett Ballard-Beach: A 153-minute bleakly grim, darkly palatted drama about child abduction, parental anguish, and torture managed to open on top. Slow weekend or no, it's a solid win. Considering the bounty of adult-targeted fare that will be sweeping through some combination of multiplexes and indie cinemas in the next three months, this needed to have a distinguished opening to avoid being the first casualty. Warner Bros had the faith to spring this in over 3,000 locations, and that was paid off. And as Jason points out, Hugh Jackman has built up a goodish resume of non-Wolvie hits and critical respect in recent years. He can bring an audience in for something out of the ordinary.
Edwin Davies: I kind of feel that any adult-oriented film released on this weekend could have come out on top, considering how ill-served grown ups have been over the last few months (with the obvious, tragic exception of the cast of Grown Ups) and the fact that such a dark and seemingly non-commercial film could take #1 is a testament to how much people were starved for something with a touch of substance about it. This is a very solid start, and even though opening this early probably precludes it from serious awards contention, it still strikes me as a smart move to get out ahead of the pack, if only because it means that it will be able to make a decent amount before the likes of Captain Phillips start crowding it out of theaters.
In terms of why the film was a success, I think it's largely due to Jackman, who has amassed considerable goodwill over the last few years and is still riding high of a Best Actor nomination for Les Mis. The trailers emphasized his intensity and the twisty, morally murky nature of the story, while the stars launched a great charm offensive on the night show circuit. That's a good approach to material this dark.