Sunday , October 21 2018

‘Blockers’, ‘Place’ bet SXSW buzz equals big box office – Wright directing ‘Woman in Window’

LOS ANGELES, April 2, (RTRS): “Blockers” and “A Quiet Place” are both hoping to leverage film festival raves into box office success when they open in theaters this month.

On paper, the two films couldn’t be more different. “Blockers,” is a comedy. Think of it as a feminist spin on “Superbad.”

In contrast, “A Quiet Place” is a brutal thriller about a dystopian future in which arthropod-like monsters hunt humans using their superior sense of sound. It also functions as a meditation on parenthood and paranoia.

Despite their stylistic differences and divergent subject matters, the two movies share more than just a common release date of April 6. They’re trying to prove that audiences will come out for a movie that isn’t “Black Panther.” So far this winter, that’s the only film that’s really been able to tap into the cultural zeitgeist. Other new entries, such as “Red Sparrow” and “Pacific Rim Uprising” have largely gotten the cold shoulder from audiences.

Analysts think that “A Quiet Place” and “Blockers” will fare better, and with budgets of $17 million and $21 million, the pictures represent modest risks for their backers. Part of the optimism stems from their experiences at SXSW, where the movies received a raucous response from audiences. Buzz for the films has been building since they screened at the Austin-based gathering, but history is rife with examples of movies such as “Everybody Wants Some” and “Scott vs the World” that were embraced in festivals like SXSW or Comic-Con, only to fail to attract a great deal of mainstream attention in their theatrical release.

“Huge awareness doesn’t always translate to big box office,” Paul Dergarabedian, a film analyst a comScore, warned. “You can have movies that everyone is talking about, but people still have to want to see the movie.”

Though Dergarabedian says it will be a highly competitive weekend, he believes that people are hungry for a good horror movie or comedy.

“Horror movies and comedies generally can find an audience,” he said. “They are the best to see in the communal environment of a movie theater. There is an electricity that’s created in the air when a bunch of people are scared, likewise when people are laughing or discovering something humorous for the first time.”

Projections

With two weeks to go, there’s still a wide range of projections on where the films will open. Universal’s “Blockers” is eyeing a release between $13 million and $21 million, while Paramount’s “A Quiet Place” is tracking to open between $16 million and $30 million. If the films land on the higher end of those estimates it will be a major win for their producers and help ensure they will be profitable.

Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, thinks the it’s risky to open against one another. He notes their mature content means that they may lean heavily on the same older teen and adult crowds, which could result in some cannibalization.

John Krasinski, who also co-wrote, directed and executive produced “A Quiet Place,” stars along with his wife, Emily Blunt. This marks their first on-screen collaboration, a fact that could draw more awareness and interest in the film, particularly as they play a married couple.

It also helps that the picture isn’t just a fest, analysts say. While horror movies are having a moment at the box office, given the acclaim of Jordan Peele’s Academy Award winning “Get Out,” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” and Andy Muschietti’s “It,” the genre-bending “A Quiet Place” could add another twist on horror to work in the film’s favor.

Also:

LOS ANGELES: Joe Wright will direct “The Woman in the Window,” a big screen adaptation of A.J. Finn’s best-seller, Variety has learned. Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of “August, Osage County,” will pen the script, and Scott Rudin (“No Country for Old Men,” “The Social Network”) and Eli Bush (“Lady Bird”) will produce the picture. Fox 2000 is backing the project.

“The Woman in the Window” centers on the reclusive Dr Anna Fox, who spends her days holed in in her New York City brownstone, fortifying herself with too much wine, binge watching old movies, and spying on her neighbors. In the “Rear Window” vein, Anna eventually witnesses something she shouldn’t while keeping tabs on the Russell family, the seemingly picture perfect clan that lives across the way. The thriller has been a brisk seller since debuting in stores in January.

LOS ANGELES: Malik Vitthal has been tapped to direct “Body Cam” for Paramount Players, sources tell Variety.

The project was the first major purchase for Paramount Players chief Brian Robbins after coming over from AwesomenessTV last year and is now a top priority for the studio.

Nick McCarthy wrote the latest draft of the spec originally penned by Richmond Riedel.

Described as “Get Out” meets “End of Watch,” the story follows several LAPD officers who are haunted by a malevolent spirit that is tied to the murder of a black youth at the hands of two white cops — all of which was caught on a body cam video that was destroyed in a cover-up.

Matt Kaplan is producing.

A division of Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players has been extremely active setting up a slate since Robbins’ arrival, mixing in original material like “Body Cam” with more branded IP like a “48 Hours” reboot and a film based on the popular Nickelodeon TV show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”

The pic is Vitthal’s first big job at a major studio. He’s been a rising star in the industry, cutting his teeth for some time with numerous shorts that include “Leela,” “Watts and Volts,” and “Pastor Stuart.” He was also tapped to direct the John Boyega film “Imperial Dreams,” which Netflix would go on to acquire.

 

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