Box Office: ‘Pixels,’ ‘Paper Towns’ Jump Into Crowded Summer Field

Box Office: 'Pixels,' 'Paper Towns' to
Courtesy of Sony

It’s getting harder and harder for summer releases to avoid getting stampeded by the popcorn season herd.

This weekend, “Pixels,” a gaming comedy with Adam Sandler; “Southpaw,” a boxing drama with Jake Gyllenhaal; and “Paper Towns,” a tween weepie from John Green, the author of “Fault in Our Stars,” all enter the fray. The issue is that holdovers like last weekend’s champ, “Ant-Man,” and the critically heralded “Trainwreck” are both expected to do solid business in their second weekends, and juggernauts like “Jurassic World” and “Minions” continue to draw big crowds. Something’s got to give.

Sony, the studio behind “Pixels,” is predicting a muted debut of roughly $25 million for the comedy, while analysts are pegging an opening of $30 million. If the film fails to hit $30 million it could have difficulty being profitable unless foreign audiences lift it into the black. Bringing together Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Tetris together in one film was pricey, setting the studio back $88 million before marketing and distribution costs are taken into account. Sony will roll out the film in 3,500 theaters domestically and 47 overseas markets with the hopes that the videogame concept and colorful special effects will attract audiences across the globe.

Sandler, once a reliable box office draw, has struggled of late at the multiplexes, with the likes of “Jack & Jill,” “That’s My Boy” and “Blended” all failing to ignite. Only “Grown Ups 2” has recaptured his winning ways, so he could use a summer hit if he wants to prove he still should command a big paycheck.

As for “Paper Towns,” the picture doesn’t need to do “Fault in Our Stars“-type numbers to make money. That film stunned the industry last summer when it made $307 million globally on a $12 million budget — a figure “Paper Towns” won’t hit given that it lacks a movie star on the level of Shailene Woodley among its cast and “Fault in Our Stars” was Green’s best selling book. Fox, the studio behind the picture, didn’t release a budget, but it is in the range of “Fault’s” cost. Look for “Paper Towns,” which follows a young man’s scavenger hunt for his missing love, to pull in $20 million when it premieres on roughly 3,100 locations. That number could move northwards if teens embrace the picture and word-of-mouth goes viral, analysts say.

“Southpaw,” the story of a boxer who must resurrect his live inside and outside the ring after enduring a series of personal tragedies and professional setbacks, is looking at an opening of $13 million. The adult drama is hoping to show some endurance as the alternative to all the superhero films and franchise pictures. The Weinstein Company backed the roughly $30 million production and will push the picture into approximately 2,750 venues.

Competition among the trio of new releases could allow “Ant-Man” to retain its box office crown. The film debuted to $57.2 million and could be headed to a sophomore weekend of roughly $30 million.

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  1. Al Patrickson says:

    I hope Ant-Man stays #1 with $30M, especially given its “A” on Cinemascore and that it’s 80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

  2. rjbailey says:

    Reblogged this on Locating Frankenstein's Brain and commented:
    It’ll be an interesting weekend, I tell you what. ;)

  3. Paully says:

    Adam S has become a parody of himself.. And that’s not funny at all..

  4. LOL says:

    America has crap taste.

    Its release schedule is akin to a special needs event programme, with feature after feature taking its commitment to intellectual simplicity to lower depths. It’s embarrassing. In fact, my analogy greatly insults special needs people because America has taken things to another level of cultural lowliness.

    • Jedi77 says:

      I am not sure that you are aware of this, though of-course you are (you’re so smart!), but the release schedule is the same all over the world. And people, all over the world, watch these films.

      As a matter of fact, crapfests like “Pacific Rimjob” and “Tranformers 17” actually make more money anywhere but in the US.
      One might then argue that America is getting a better and better taste, while the rest of the world is experiencing a cultural degeneration.

      • Rationalist says:

        “Lol” writes the same thing every week. He’s just a turd-bucket troll. Don’t feed him.

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