×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Eyes $45 Million Debut

Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” is on pace to open to between $45 million to $55 million over its four-day opening weekend.

The fantasy adventure would score the Oscar-winning director’s biggest debut since 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” kicked off to $100.1 million. However, “Ready Player One” with its elaborate special effects likely cost well in excess of $100 million and boasts a promotional and distribution over $100 million, so it needs to be a major hit if it wants to make its money back at the box office. To do that, “Ready Player One” must broaden its appeal. It is tracking well with male moviegoers, but has yet to garner as much interest with female audiences.

Some tracking services have “Ready Player One” opening to $38 million in its first four days of release, which would be a disappointing start. Still, analysts aren’t counting out the actioner just yet.

“There’s still time to build buzz,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, told Variety. “Three weeks is an eternity to build an audience. In three weeks, we could be looking at a whole different environment.”

He added, “Any time you have Spielberg’s name attached, there’s going to be a lot of interest, high expectations, but I do think there’s time.”

While Spielberg’s involvement is the film’s strongest strongest selling point, it’s worth noting that he isn’t the box office draw he was in the 1980s and ’90s. His last fantasy film, “The BFG,” bombed at the box office. More recent successes, such as “The Post” and “Lincoln,” have been adult dramas that are aimed at a much different crowd than the audience that’s expected to turn out for “Ready Player One.”

Warner Bros.’ “Ready Player One,” which hits theaters on March 29, is an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name. It is set in an elaborate virtual reality world, one that deploys pop culture totems from the likes of “The Iron Giant” and “Back to the Future.” A decade ago, “Ready Player One” would have the pedigree of a major summer release, but the culture as shifted, and that terrain is dominated by Marvel movies and “Jurassic Park” spin-offs.

However, Dergarabedian pointed to the film’s spring release date as an advantage.

“In the summer, you’re lucky to even get one week between films to pass the baton to one film from another. It’s like a foot race. Every week audiences are migrating from one big blockbuster to the next,” he said. “You get a narrow window to make your mark and to make an impression.”

The cast includes Tye Sheridan, Mark Rylance, Olivia Cooke, and Ben Mendelsohn, none of whom are draws in their own right. Warner Bros. hopes that it can generate buzz for the film this weekend when it has several promotional events planned for SXSW (including a rumored secret screening).

“You hope the fan base will get into it,” Dergarabedian said. “These innovating marketing campaigns, the VR experiences, fan art, you never know. I wouldn’t write any movie off right now.”

More Film

  • 'Changing the Game' Documentary

    Watch the First Trailer for Trans Documentary 'Changing the Game' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Another hurdle for trans rights could quite literally be the track and field hurdle. Transgender student athletes are put in the spotlight in the forthcoming documentary “Changing the Game,” set to premiere at 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Variety has the world premiere of the doc’s first teaser trailer, which gives an in-depth look into the [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Box Office

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Conjures $2.8 Million on Thursday Night

    “The Curse of La Llorona,” the latest entry in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” universe, conjured $2.75 million from Thursday preview showings, while “Breakthrough,” a faith-based offering from Fox-Disney, brought in $1.5 million from its second day of screenings. “La Llorona’s” haul tops recent horror counterparts “Pet Sematary” and “Escape Room,” which each took [...]

  • Chinese Films Make the Cannes Lineup,

    Cannes: Chinese Films Make the Lineup, but Will They Make It to France?

    Cannes has chosen two mainland Chinese titles for its official selection: Diao Yinan’s “Wild Goose Lake,” in competition, and Zu Feng’s “Summer of Changsha,” for Un Certain Regard. Both films appear to have received the necessary official approvals from Chinese authorities to premiere overseas. But their journey to the Cote d’Azur is by no means [...]

  • Festival director Thierry Fremaux speaks to

    Cannes: Thierry Fremaux on the Lineup's Record Number of Female Directors, American Cinema and Political Films

    The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled a lineup for its 72nd edition that includes some high-profile Hollywood titles, genre movies and films from 13 female directors. The official selection has been applauded by many for mixing established auteurs like Pedro Almodovar (“Pain and Glory”), Terrence Malick (“A Hidden Life”) and Xavier Dolan (“Matthias and Maxime”) [...]

  • RUDOLF NUREYEV 1961

    Film Review: 'Nureyev'

    It would be absurd to say that Rudolf Nureyev lived, or danced, in anyone’s shadow. He was a man who leapt and twirled and flew onstage, all muscle but light as a feather, with a freedom and force that reconfigured the human spirit. There’s no denying, though, that over the last few decades, and especially [...]

  • Die Kinder Der Toten review

    Film Review: 'Die Kinder Der Toten'

    The hills are alive (or rather, undead), with the sound of music (also mastication and the moaning of zombies) in Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s experimental, dialogue-free, home-movie-style riff on Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder Der Toten” (The Children of the Dead). A seminal text in Jelinek’s native Austria, the 1995 book has never been translated [...]

  • Idol review

    Film Review: 'Idol'

    How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content