Weekend Forecast: Will Bad Buzz Spell Box Office ‘Doom’ for “Fantastic Four”?

Plauged by atrocious reviews and little online hype, it seems as though the latest Fantastic Four adaptation is set for a very poor debut this weekend.

While it has become customary to knock on the new reboot, there is some good reason. At first, the original teaser seemed okay. It had the hard sci-fi look with almost an Interstellar-like vibe, but it failed to really garner any attention in comparison to Ant-Man or Avengers: Age of Ultron. Many would likely be more excited for the film if it was being released into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rather than by 20th Century Fox. While X-Men: Days of Future Past was able to overcome this problem, that was mostly due to a much stronger franchise and excellent trailers and marketing. So far the advertising is all over the place for Four. Between some of the TV spots set to the Kanye West song “Power” showcasing ‘wise’cracks and action scenes, and trailers going for a much more serious vibe, it isn’t sure who this is being marketed towards, which is never a good sign, especially as far as studio hope goes. As far as that goes, it seems almost nonexistant.

For one, the studio scrapped its 3D conversion, which is almost unheard of for a major comic book film. Not that I’m complaining about a lack of 3D, but the fact that they aren’t pouring more money into it likely means they don’t have much hope for it. Not to mention the almost daily articles revealing some new damning piece of evidence – the cast hasn’t seen it yet, the reviews won’t be up until a day before release (which turned out to be untrue) and so on and so forth. Still, with 23 reviews the film is sitting at an atrocious 14%. (UPDATE: It is now down to just 7%) In comparison, the lowest in the MCU was Thor: The Dark World at 66%, the only one under 70%. Not that MCU films are a shining beacon of cinematic quality, but a difference in reception so drastic is a bit surprising. One final note is that the 14$% is lower than either of the two other Fantastic Four films, at 27% and 37% respectively.

With a reported budget of $122M, this reboot will likely rely on foreign grosses in order to turn a profit. The studio is already so set on it being successful, however, that they have already set a sequel for June 9th 2017, a release date set months ago. Whether or not that was simply the studio’s faith that the movie would be good or just that it would turn a profit is yet to be seen.

For holdovers, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation will probably fall around 50%, as word of mouth isn’t quite as strong as Ghost Protocol, but strong enough that it will likely avoid the typical summer drop of over 55%, looking at around $28M for its second weekend. Minions and Ant-Man will likely just continue to do solid business as they have been doing for the last few weekends.

The Gift also releases this weekend, a low budget thriller and directorial debut for Joel Edgerton. The film revolves around a stalker from Jason Bateman’s past, determined on digging up history with hopes of getting revenge on whatever it was Bateman did to him many years ago. While that hook is interesting, it’s basically just selling the film as finding out what the big twist at the end is, which can lead to mixed results. This seems like a very August film, a somewhat obscure looking microbudget thriller film with a few B-list actors. The only surprising thing about it is the 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, much higher than one could reasonably expect for a film of this magnitude. While it may turn some solid numbers, a debut over $10M seems unlikely.

Another wide release is Shaun the Sheep Movie, which opened on Thursday but currently has not reported numbers. It doesn’t exactly have a massive fanbase behind it, and August kids movies tend to have particularly poor debuts. The aspect of it not having dialogue will likely also hold it back, but with a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes it may bring out some of the Aardman fans. Even if it does perform poorly, it seems like the kind that will make most of its money from On Demand and DVD rentals.

Ricki and the Flash also hits 1,800 theaters, though with obscure marketing and a premise that doesn’t really seem to understand its audience, it doesn’t look like it will do very well at all this weekend.

One interesting limited release was anime adaptation Dragon Ball Z: Ressurection “F”, which took in almost $2M on Tuesday from just over 800 locations. That’s a pretty solid result for what it is, and shows how strong the fanbase for the show is. Though, given its audience, its likely that it drops like a rock after this for a total of well under $10M, as it is only going to be in theaters for a week. Still, an noteworthy little result.

Predictions

  1. Fantastic Four – $32M
  2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – $26.5M
  3. Minions – $7.5M
  4. Ant-Man – $7.2M
  5. Vacation – $6.5M
  6. The Gift – $5.8M
  7. Shaun the Sheep Movie – $5.2M ($7.6M Five Day)

? Ricki and the Flash – $3.1M

The Bottom Line

Fantastic Four is a big budget summer comic book film, and despite all its hurdles still needs $50M to be considered a win. The Gift is fine with high single digits, around $8M or so. Shaun the Sheep already did well overseas, but should do at least $10M over the five days to be a success. Finally, Ricki and the Flash only needs around $7M due to its limited release.

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