×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: Tom Hanks’ ‘Inferno’ Looks to Ignite With $25 Million Debut

Tom Hanks is an indefatigable pitchman. The Oscar winner has been on the trail for the past few days, reciting the famous rap from “Big” during a press stop, hitting up Zoltar on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in the hopes of shaving 30 years off his age, and gracing the world with David S. Pumpkins on “SNL.” It’s all been in service of “Inferno,” the third adaptation of Dan Brown’s series of books about Robert Langdon, Harvard symbologist and exposer of Opus Dei shenanigans. Hanks and director Ron Howard previously partnered on “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons,” which tickled fans of shadowy conspiracy yarns to the tune of $1.2 billion globally.

Sony, the film’s distributor, is eyeing a debut of $20 million to $25 million when it opens on 3,563 locations. The film will be available with extra bells and whistles — 377 of those locations will be Imax and 400 will be premium large format theaters. That opening is a fraction of “The Da Vinci Code’s” $77.1 million kick-off way back in 2006 and it trails “Angels & Demons'” $46.2 million launch from 2009, but those films both opened in the midst of summer blockbuster season. Moreover, the movie business has changed dramatically in the seven years sense Langdon was last seen sifting through archaic documents and mixing it up with the papal conclave. It’s less star-driven and the adult dramas that made Hanks a star aren’t the surefire box office winners that they once were. Hanks scored with the fall’s “Sully,” and “Bridge of Spies” and “Saving Mr. Banks” did respectable business, but they weren’t exactly blockbusters. This isn’t “Forrest Gump”-era Hanks.

Tom Hanks isn’t what he used to be,” said Eric Handler, a box office analyst with MKM Partners. “He’s still a great actor, but he’s not the box office draw he once was.”

Still, Sony safe-guarded against the films’ downward box office trend. “Inferno” cost $75 million to produce, half of what the studio spent making “Angels & Demons.” That lowers its financial risk, even if the film falls short of previous installments.

“Inferno” finds Langdon suffering from amnesia brought on by a bullet wound to the head. Despite his addled state, he must piece together a series of clues in order to stop a mad man from releasing a deadly virus.

Don’t expect an Oscars push for the film. Reviewers are treating “Inferno” with the critical reverence usually reserved for a “Suicide Squad” sequel, handing it a doleful 27% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That probably won’t depress turnout, as the previous Langdon films and books were also bludgeoned by reviewers and still managed to be commercially successful. A bigger obstacle may be the World Series, which is generating lots of interest because it features the Cubs and the Indians, two teams who haven’t won the championship in generations.

There’s not much in the way of competition at the multiplexes. “Boo! A Madea Halloween” and “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” captured first and second place on the box office charts last weekend, and both should drop more than 50% in their sophomore round in theaters. Look for the latest “Madea” to generate roughly $12 million, while the new “Reacher” adventure is looking at $10 million or so.

Even it the reception stateside is muted, “Inferno” has built up a nice head of steam overseas before hitting these shores. The thriller has made $100 million in two weeks of release and has yet to open in China, Japan, and other significant markets. The Langdon films, which are set in Europe, tend to do well with foreign moviegoers. The previous two films made more than 70% of their box office revenues abroad.

“The domestic business is almost an afterthought,” said Handler. “A movie like this had much more appeal internationally.”

That could keep Langdon around for more adventures.

More Film

  • 'All About Yves" Review: Feeble French

    Cannes Film Review: 'All About Yves'

    Benoit Forgeard’s dorky “All About Yves,” bizarrely chosen as the closing film of 2019’s Directors’ Fortnight selection in Cannes, is literally about an intelligent refrigerator that ascends to Eurovision fame as a rapper. Imagine Spike Jonze’s “Her” played for the cheapest of laughs, shorn of atmosphere, and absent all melancholic insight into our relationship with [...]

  • 'The Bare Necessity' Review: Offbeat, Charming

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Bare Necessity'

    A perfectly charmant way to, as the song has it, forget about your worries and your strife for 100 airy minutes, writer-director Erwan le Duc’s “The Bare Necessity” is a breezy little sweetheart of a debut, that threatens to give the rather ominous description “quirky French romantic comedy” a good name. In its dappled countryside [...]

  • Adam

    Cannes Film Review: 'Adam'

    With her debut feature “Adam,” Maryam Touzani allows her audience to sit back and relax comfortably into a beautifully made, character-driven little gem that knows when and how to touch all the right buttons. Taking the stories of two women, both frozen in existential stasis, and bringing them together in a predictable yet deeply satisfying [...]

  • 'To Live to Sing' Review: A

    Cannes Film Review: 'To Live to Sing'

    After his taut, impressive debut “Old Stone” which tracked with nightmarish relentlessness the high cost of compassion in modern urban China, Canadian-Chinese director Johnny Ma loosens his grip a little to deliver a softer, if not necessarily less pessimistic examination of the failing fortunes of a regional Sichuan Opera troupe. “To Live to Sing” is [...]

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the

    Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the Movies Needed Every Inch of the Big Screen

    In the May 24 edition of The New York Times, there was a column by Timothy Egan, entitled “The Comeback of the Century: Why the Book Endures, Even in an Era of Disposable Digital Culture,” that celebrated those things that come between two hard covers as a larger phenomenon than mere nostalgia. The column keyed [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content