Two action-packed, star-studded films hit multiplexes this weekend, but will anyone notice?
We’re heading for another sleepy weekend at the domestic box office, as Lionsgate’s “Hitman’s Bodyguard” and Bleecker Street/Fingerprint’s “Logan Lucky” seem unlikely to boost an extremely slow summer — more than 12% behind the same point in the season last year.
That said, “Hitman’s Bodyguard” should lead the pack. Tracking puts the R-rated action comedy between $15 million and $20 million from 3,350 screens. Sometimes, as is the case here, the setup is right there in the title: Ryan Reynolds plays a bodyguard who is assigned to a notorious hitman (Samuel L. Jackson). The mismatched duo work together to bring down a common enemy — an Eastern European dictator played by Gary Oldman. The product comes courtesy of director Patrick Hughes (“The Expendables 3”) and writer Tom O’Connor. So far critics have been mixed, earning “Hitman’s Bodyguard” a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Logan Lucky,” meanwhile, looks to make less of an impact. Steven Soderbergh’s heist comedy is rolling to somewhere in the high-single-digit millions from over 3,000 screens. The low end of tracking has it at $5 million, and the higher pegs it at $12 million. Either way, that’s lower than the $15 million bar Soderbergh set in a New York Times feature that addressed the film’s unusual financing and distribution model, that aimed to give the director more creative control and make the project less of a financial gamble. The story — penned by Rebecca Blunt, who likely doesn’t exist — centers on a trio of siblings played by Channing Tatum, Riley Keough, and Adam Driver, who attempt to pull off a massive robbery. It’s set at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race. While the film does not have a whole lot in common with Kathryn Bigelow’s recent release “Detroit,” the two are both critical successes with low financial expectations — “Logan Lucky” currently has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Meanwhile, it’s another interesting weekend at the arthouse. FilmRise is launching “Marjorie Prime,” which stars Jon Hamm as an ultra-realistic hologram version of Lois Smith’s dead husband. And “Patti Cake$,” the story of a plus-sized white girl who also happens to be an aspiring rapper is coming out from Fox Searchlight Pictures. The flick sparked a bidding war at Sundance that ended with a price tag north of $10 million.
Only “Annabelle: Creation” will pose a threat to “Hitman’s Bodyguard” and “Logan Lucky.” Coming off a $35 million opening weekend, a 60% drop in the second week put the horror film at $14 million. Otherwise, the summer of hell only looks to heat up. August isn’t typically a boom time for the movie business. This time last year, “Suicide Squad” topped the charts for the third consecutive weekend with $20.9 million, while “Ben-Hur” opened with a thud. But with the numbers for this summer so far behind the benchmark, a surprise hit is in high-demand.