Box Office: ‘Spectre,’ ‘Peanuts Movie’ to Hold Off ‘By the Sea,’ Crop of Female Driven Films

By the Sea box office
Courtesy of Universal

Most fans of Angelina Jolie Pitt, as she has rechristened herself, will have to wait to see the actress’ latest big screen effort.

By the Sea,” a drama about marital dysfunction that Jolie Pitt directed, wrote and co-stars in opposite her real life husband Brad Pitt, will open this Friday in 10 theaters in a handful of major cities. The film cost $10 million to produce and Universal, the studio behind the project, insists that it was always intended to be an homage to European art films, not a commercial enterprise.

That’s a departure from the prior Brangelina venture, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” which was one of the biggest hits of 2005, racking up nearly $480 million globally. Expectations are pretty low for this one and critics have been cool, knocking the picture for being a tad precious. But Universal is having a monster year at the box office and betting on Jolie Pitt paid off with “Unbroken,” which hauled $161.4 million at the global box office, so even if it losses money, the studio should be in good shape.

With the Jolie Pitts busy getting their Antonioni on, it’s looking like a sleepy weekend at the box office. “Spectre,” the latest James Bond adventure, should top charts for the second weekend in a row, but will likely drop significantly from its opening haul of $70.4 million. The picture scored an A- CinemaScore, but some reviews were dismissive and there have been a number of “think pieces” poking holes in the film’s plotting.

Previous Craig ventures have declined anywhere from 24.6% (much loved “Casino Royale”) to 60.4% (much loathed “Quantum of Solace”) in their second weekends. Look for “Spectre” to drop by more than half, picking up roughly $32 million. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions film carries a $250 million production budget and has to gross at least $650 million to break even. It will depend heavily on foreign markets as it searches for profits.

Another holdover, Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie,” should come in slightly behind “Spectre.” Bolstered by strong reviews and word-of-mouth, the film will likely make $27 million, a modest drop from its $44.2 million launch.

The weekend is notable for one reason. At a time when gender disparity in Hollywood is making headlines, it’s a rare instance where three new pictures are directed by women. In addition to Jolie Pitt’s “By the Sea,” there’s “The 33” from Mexican filmmaker Patricia Riggen and “Love the Coopers” from “Stepmom” screenwriter Jessie Nelson.

It’s not necessarily a sign that a resilient glass ceiling has been shattered. Only 7% of the top films last year were directed by women and as this week’s Variety cover story points out, female stars are chronically paid less than their male counterparts.

“The 33,” a drama about a group of trapped Chilean miners whose underground ordeal in 2010 captivated the world, is looking at an opening of $9 million when it bows across 2,400 theaters. Alcon Entertainment financed the $25 million production, which Warner Bros. is distributing.

“Love the Coopers,” a holiday comedy with an ensemble cast that include Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin and Amanda Seyfried, is trying to carve out a niche with older audiences looking for some Christmas cheer. The CBS Films production is being distributed in conjunction with Lionsgate. It cost $17 million to make and is eyeing an $8 million debut. “Love the Coopers” will screen in roughly 2,500 theaters. The studio is hoping that the picture will be a slow-burner that opens modestly but sticks around, much as older-skewing comedies like “Last Vegas” and “The Intern” have done.

That leaves Clarius Entertainment’s “My All American,” the story of Freddie Steinmark, a plucky member of the University of Texas football team whose playing career was cut short after his leg was amputated. It’s a true life tale, and one that the studio expects will resonate with the faith-based crowds that made “War Room” and “God’s Not Dead” hits. Traditional tracking is erratic with these types of movies, but projections suggest that “My All American” will kick off to $3 million from 1,565 screens.

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  1. By the Sea cost $10 million to make, with hardly any advertising, paid advertising, that is. Brad and Angie did a TV interview, there were various magazine interviews, mostly rehash jobs of a couple of interviews Brad and Angie actually did.

    Brad and Angie’s own Production companies produced the film, it’ll have no problems making the budget and more.

    Please Variety, don’t be so “precious” when talking about Angelina Jolie Pitt’s name. She didn’t change her name, she got married.

  2. This got hammered by the critics in the UK, really torn apart.

  3. Spider says:

    I’ll be seeing “The 33” opening weekend. The Jolie-Pitt flick looks like a snooze fest.

  4. CelluloidFan35mm says:

    Love the Coopers looks like another lazy, crappy rehash of The Family Stone, This Christmas or any other tired dysfunctional family Christmas movie.

    The 33 is not exactly getting stellar reviews and doesn’t look to be any different than the typical “based on a true story” dramas but with better acting. The movie actually could be something though.

    My All-American will not get God’s Not Dead or War Room numbers it may go towards something like When The Game Stands Tall or any other faith-based sports film.

    By The Sea screams vanity project to me. I’m not a fan of Angelina Jolie’s though I do have respect for her as an actress but I can’t think of a movie that she has appeared in that I actually enjoyed though Unbroken was a valiant effort as a director.

    Look for Spectre and The Peanuts to rule the weekend once again.

  5. Lucifer says:

    “Only 7% of the top films last year were directed by women”

    I wish people would stop repeating this like it holds any weight. A more realistic factor would be how many female directors had a film released within a calendar year or how many had a film receive a wide release. Also, ensemble casts of A-listers and Christmas movies about families routinely bomb, so get ready for “Love the Coopers” to flop.

  6. LOL says:

    America hates anything described as ‘grownup,’ and not containing some buffed-up idiot flying around in spandex that has infantile-pleasing superpowers.

  7. 85wzen says:

    Most fans of Angelina Jolie Pitt, as she has rechristened herself, will have to wait to see the actress’ latest big screen effort.
    Is what you wrote, are you sure she is a Christian, writer of this… I know you need to show everyone what a Christian you are but can’t you use words in Secular life here, that doesn’t include the Christian Religion. Which is Offensive to Quite a Few Americans.

    • mightymad says:

      past tense: rechristened; past participle: rechristened
      give a new name to.
      “he rechristened Zaire the Democratic Republic of Congo”


      As a Christian myself… your comment is the dumbest thing I’ve read today. And yes, it’s quite early in the morning, but there’s a fairly good chance it will be one of, if not the dumbest thing I’ll see all day.

      For the sake of our share religion… would it possible for you and your likes to refrain from making such outlandishly idiotic statements in the future, which would seriously help the rest of us to not look like a bunch of buffoons? I mean… just take the time to think for a little bit before you start writing something, which will prevent you from writing such dumb comments. Hopefully.

      … Thanks in advance, dummy.

  8. C.M. Brandt says:

    Two weeks ago By The Sea cost $27 million.

    • You are wrong, By the Sea cost $10 million, that has never been a secret. A certain site with an agenda has been reporting the inflated budget.
      There is no way BTS had an advertising budget of $17 to $20 million. A couple magazine interviews, a TV interview, a few TV spots, that was all the advertising the film did.
      Does anyone think Brad or Angie had to pay to be on TV or do a magazine interview? They are who every magazine in the world wants to interview.

    • adele says:

      Two months ago, “By the Sea” cost $30 million and was slated to open “wide” (2000+ screens). A friend caught an early screening and reported that this 2-hour dirge doesn’t even succeed as a “so bad its funny” disaster. Ms. Jolie is to be commended for her humanitarian work on behalf of mistreated children. But with “By the Sea”, she may now be condemned for adult-moviegoer-abuse.

      • Stick to singing “Adele”, your interview skills are lacking. Don’t believe “that” site, the know the one, it starts with “dead” and ends with ‘line”. It has an agenda, remember the hatchet job it did on WWZ, Maleficent, and Unbroken.
        I do believe there is a pattern, here.

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