Storks, Seven - Not So Magnificent
By John Hamann
September 25, 2016
This weekend featured a blockbuster with Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt and our first big kids pic since Kubo and the Two Strings opened more than a month ago. These two films should be big, right? Right?
Yes, it should be that turnaround weekend in September where we move from the dumping ground into the usually much more lucrative late-September time frame. Last year, the same weekend brought Hotel Transylvania 2, a Sony-animated release that opened to just short of $50 million. It was joined by the Robert De Niro/Anne Hathaway comedy The Intern, which opened to $17.7 million and finished with $200 million worldwide. This weekend provides fertile box office ground for the $90 million budgeted remake of The Magnificent Seven and for Warner Bros.' Storks, which cost $70 million to bring to the screen. However, instead of one of these films opening to $50 million, they have to combine to pull in the same amount.
Our number one film of the weekend is The Magnificent Seven, a film that stars box office superstars Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, as well as Ethan Hawke and Peter Sarsgaard, just to name a few. It had a lot going for it - a remake of a well-known classic, and itself a remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. It also had a solid director in Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, Training Day, Southpaw), a helmer who combines art with commerce, although he has only one over $100 million domestic earner (The Equalizer at $101.5 million). The Magnificent Seven got started with Thursday previews, but despite all it had going for it, only pulled in $1.75 million on Thursday night, a pedestrian score for a film with this kind of swagger.
The opening day gross, which combines the Friday gross with the Thursday preview amount, came in at $12.7 million, a number that would certainly keep the three-day gross below $40 million. The opening day for The Magnificent Seven was only on par with The Equalizer, which had an opening day of $12.5 million. The Magnificent Seven's Friday was less than the $13.6 million that the Washington/Ryan Reynolds combo Safe House earned, and well off the opening day of Washington's biggest, American Gangster, which had a first day of $15.9 million, on its way to an opening weekend at $43.6 million. Suffice to say that The Magnificent Seven was not going to be Washington's biggest debut, but it was going to open at the higher end of his usual $16-$35 million wheelhouse. Washington remains likely the most consistent box office draw of this era.
Over the weekend, The Magnificent Seven earned a softer than expected $35 million from 3,674 venues for Sony. With a budget of $90 million, Sony will have to hope that The Magnificent Seven reaches $100 million domestic, with overseas picking up the remaining $150 million. Washington is usually good for a 3.0 multiplier, so at least $100 million is still in play. Reviews were split fairly evenly, with Seven receiving a 63% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and most critics saying "meh." The Cinemascore came in at an A-, the same score that The Equalizer earned. Considering that this a remake of one of the greatest film ever, there is very little to get excited about here. The marketing was the same - boring and uninvolved - and I would have rather seen Quentin Tarantino or the Duffer Brothers take on this remake.