The Weekend Warrior 10/28/16: Inferno, Gimme Danger and More

– by Edward Douglas

Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out. 

THIS PAST WEEKEND:

In one of the busier weekends of the month, two of the movies did better than I predicted and two did worse. The real winner of the weekend was Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, which did far better than anyone thought with an opening weekend of $28.5 million in just 2,260 theaters or $12,611 per theater. It ended up completely demolishing Tom Cruise’s action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which opened in almost 1,500 more theaters, but at least that ended up around where I predicted with $22.9 million. Ouija: Origin of Evil came out slightly below my prediction to take third place with $14 million, while the Fox comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses bombed even worse than I expected with $5.5 million in 3,000 theaters.


Just one wide release this weekend, probably because it’s Halloween weekend and many people will be throwing or attending their Halloween parties on Friday and Saturday rather than on the holiday itself, which falls on Monday this year.

 INFERNO (Sony)

Cast: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Director: Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush, Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, Cinderella Man, Rush)
Genre:  Action, Thriller
Rated PG-13
Plot:
Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in a hospital room in Florence, Italy, not knowing how he got there, but he immediately goes on the run with his doctor (Felicity Jones).
Theater Count (est.): 3,400

Back in 1984, Ron Howard was only a few years into his directing career when he teamed with a 28-year-old actor named Tom Hanks for the romantic comedy Splash, neither one probably realizing that they’d continue working together over the next 30 years. After the 1995 Oscar-winning hit Apollo 13, they took a ten year break until Howard and his production partner Brian Grazer got the rights to Dan Brown’s bestselling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code.  It was a huge bestseller that sold more books than that year’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, mainly due to the religious controversy surrounding it, and Hanks was the only choice to play history professor detective (of sorts) Robert Langdon.

Released in the summer of 2006, the movie grossed $217.5 million in North America alone, but another $540 million overseas. Three years later, they tackled Brown’s previous book Angels & Demons, but it didn’t do nearly as well with just $485.5 million worldwide, which still was profitable. In the time since then, Brown continued to release novels including The Lost Symbol in 2009 and then 2013’s Inferno, neither which was as big or well received as The Da Vinci Code but Robert Langdon still had his share of fans.  (A fifth book called Origin is due out next year.)

At this point, considering that it’s been almost seven years since the last Robert Langdon movie and three years since the book, which wasn’t nearly as well received, one has to wonder if Inferno might be able even to do as well as Angels & Demons which opened with $46 million in the early summer.

Tom Hanks is coming off his latest hit Sully with Clint Eastwood, which is the biggest hit of the Fall so far, having grossed $120.8 million, and that certainly should help motivate his fans to come out see his latest movie. Hanks has also been doing the talk show rounds and even hosted “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, to help remind audiences why they like him, even if they don’t necessarily care much for him returning to Dan Brown territory.

His long-time friend Ron Howard, on the other hand, has had a number of disappointments in recent years including 2013’s Rush and last year’s Moby Dick movie In the Heart of the Sea, both which earned less than $30 million. His previous comedy The Dilemma with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James wsa also a disappointment, so he’s certainly not achieving the success he had in 2001 when he won an Oscar for directing A Beautiful Mind. Even so, that teaming is still solid enough to get a movie like Inferno made, and those who liked their previous Robert Langdon movies will probably be interested in seeing the third.

Hanks does have some help from the likes of Felicity Jones, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Theory of Everything and is the lead in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story out in a couple months. It also stars an international cast including Omar Sy (Jurassic World) and Irrfan Khan (The Amazing Spider-Man).

In any other weekend, opening with no competition would be a huge advantage for Inferno, but it’s also a thriller opening during a weekend where many people would probably rather go to Halloween parties. It also won't help that the movie has literally dozens of negative reviews from when it opened internationally two weeks ago. Fortunately, this will likely attract moviegoers over 30, and probably won’t have much luck with the African-American market who have other choices in theaters.


BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS:

Tom Hanks and Ron Howard’s Inferno should win the weekend by a nice margin, although it’s not likely to be anywhere in the range of their previous Dan Brown adaptations, especially opening over Halloween weekend.

(NOTE: Check back on Thursday night for any updates to these predictions due to changing theater counts, etc.)

1. Inferno (Sony) - $27.4 million N/A

2. Boo! A Madea Halloween (Lionsgate)  - $13.7 million -52%

3. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Paramount) - $12 million -48%

4. The Accountant (Warner Bros.) - $7.3 million -46%

5. Ouija: Origin of Evil (Universal) - $6.6 million -53%

6. The Girl on the Train (Universal) - $4 million -45%

7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Fox) - $3.5 million -40%

8. Keeping Up with the Joneses (20th Century Fox) - $2.6 million -52%

9. Storks (Warner Bros.) - $2.4 million -40%

10. Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate) - $1.9 million -44%

LAST YEAR:

Last year’s Halloween weekend saw three out of three bombs as Ridley Scott’s The Martian remained atop for its fourth weekend and none of the new movies even cracked the Top 5.  The biggest opener was the Bradley Cooper cooking comedy Burnt (The Weinstein Company) with $5 million in 3,000 theaters or $1,666 per theater. It did better than Cooper’s co-star Sandra Bullock and her political comedy Our Brand is Crisis (Warner Bros.), which bombed with just $3.2 million, opening in eighth place. Bombing even worse was Paramount’s Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, which opened in twelfth place with $1.8 million in 1,509 theaters or $1,220 per theater.


THIS WEEK’S PICKS:

 Not nearly as many limited releases this week as last weekend (phew!) but I’m going with three docs that I really liked, including two about cool bands.

Before we get to that, I’m excited to say that this weekend will finally see the opening of the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn, built on the fourth and fifth floors of the immense City Point mall complex in downtown Brooklyn, and boy, it’s really going to be a special place to see movies and grab a bite to eat.  What’s amazing about this Drafthouse is that it’s not going to be your typical “arthouse” and they’re going to be mixing it up with blockbusters like Doctor Strange and Rogue One playing there their opening weekends as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. All of these big studio movies they’ll be offering with special exclusive Alamo incentives.  They’ll also be playing more arthouse fare like Kent Osborne’s upcoming indie Uncle Kent 2, and their repertory fare will be on par with the Drafthouse in other cities including the original Austin locations. If you’re just interested in grabbing a drink in downtown Brooklyn then you might want to swing by House of Wax on the fourth floor, an amazing mix of bar and museum of oddities, with over 90 local beers on tap at various times and many signature drinks.

The Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn will officially open on Friday with a couple smaller films like last week’s Top Pick We Are X and Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, as well as the oddball horror-comedy The Greasy Strangler. They’ll also be showing a series of gory Asian flicks under the banner “In the Mood for Gore” done with our pals at Subway Cinema, as well as having a family event, The Addams Family Party, meant for kids 6 and up. The Weekend Warrior is super-excited to have the Alamo in his backyard and if you’re in the New York City area, we hope to cover some of the theater’s upcoming events.

Not to turn our back on our favorite neighborhood theater, the Metrograph will also have a horror film series this weekend under the banner “Trouble Every Day.”


GIMME DANGER (Magnolia)

Cast: Iggy Pop, James Williamson, Danny Fields, Ron Asheton, Mike Watt
Director: Jim Jarmusch  (Ghost Dog, Broken Flowers, Only Lovers Left Alive, Coffee and Cigarettes and many more)
Genre:  Documentary, Music
Unrated
Plot:
The incredible history of Iggy Pop and the Stooges is documented in Jim Jarmusch’s labor of love film. 

Not sure what to say about this rock doc—a genre which regular Weekend Warrior readers know I love—but when Jim Jarmusch declares Iggy and the Stooges to be the “greatest rock ‘n’ roll band ever” and then spends the next hour and 45 minutes proving his case quite thoroughly. The Detroit-based band never achieved the fame or success it hoped for during its original tenure in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, but the influence they had on early punk bands like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and The Damned, as well as hard rock and even metal, turned the Stooges into one of the most iconic and influential bands after maybe The Beatles.

As we see, it wasn’t all wine and roses as they go through various line-ups after the sudden death of their first guitar player and try to keep a record deal with Elektra and an exec there who just doesn’t get their appeal.  Thank heavens for Danny Fields, who was the subject of another recent “Top Pick” called Danny Says, for realizing their potential and championing them in their early days.

A lifelong fan, Jarmusch gets to sit down with Iggy Pop and some of the surviving members to hear all sorts of great stories about touring, recording and even gets into the 2003 reunion that would become the swan song for some of the remaining members. Sadly, all but Iggy and third guitarist James Williamson, have passed since being interviewed for the film, but Gimme Danger is a more than fitting tribute as well as a great introduction to the Stooges if you aren’t aware how influential they really were.

Gimme Danger will open in New York and Detroit Friday then expand to other cities next week. You can see the full list of theaters here.


OASIS: SUPERSONIC (A24)

Cast: Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Bonehead,
Director: Mat Whitecross
Genre:  Documentary, Music
Unrated
Plot:
Covering the first three years in the British band Oasis’ meteoric rise to fame, leading up to their two sold out concerts at Knebworth playing for 250,000 people.

It’s surprising that it’s been over 20 years since Manchester’s Oasis first came onto the scene with two amazing albums, and this new doc directed by Mat Whitecross--who previously directed the Ian Dury biopic Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll, starring Andy Serkis--is a great movie that covers the band’s earliest days.

Since then, the band has famously broken up, mostly due to the constant feuding by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, though fans still hold out hope the band might eventually regroup. The fact that Noel and Liam are interviewed separately (and never appear on camera) for this documentary doesn't make it feel like they might reunite. Even so, those interviews are used to narrate over lots of rare photos and archival footage of the band, which might have been easier to find than the stuff Jarmusch put together for the Stooges doc mentioned above.  Other band members and musical collaborators are also interviewed to help corroborate the Gallaghers' version of how the band hit such heights in just a few short years. But it still works and there’s a lot of great concert footage and rarer stuff that will thrill the band’s fans, especially when the brothers talk about each other. Not sure why I was surprised this film works as well as it does—possibly because I’ve never been the biggest Oasis fan—but it certainly seems like something the band’s fans will want to see and for those just vaguely curious, it’s a great introduction to them.

Supersonic will open in select cities for ONE NIGHT ONLY, on Wednesday, October 26. (TONIGHT!) Some of the screenings are already sold out but you can find if it’s playing near you on the Official Site.


BY SIDNEY LUMET (Augusta Films/ American Masters Pictures)

Cast: Sidney Lumet
Director: Nancy Buirski (The Loving Story)
Genre:  Documentary
Plot: An overview of the career and directing style of the late Sidney Lumet in the director’s own words.

I don’t have a ton to say about this doc that will get a limited release Friday, but will also be on PBS sometime next year, but needless to say, if you’re a film fan, you’ll already be familiar with Lumet’s filmography and you’re likely to want to know more about what separated from his contemporaries. Buirski, whose earlier doc was the basis for next week's "Top Pick" Loving, did a great interview with Lumet before his passing that covers a lot of territory in a similar way as the recent De Palma doc.


OTHER LIMITED RELEASES:

Werner Herzog’s latest documentary Into the Inferno (Netflix)—not to be confused with the Tom Hanks movie mentioned above—which is the prolific German’s filmmakers exploration of volcanoes and how they’re connected to regional spiritual customs. It will open in New York and L.A. as well as be available on Netflix starting Friday.

Nick Jogerius’ thriller The Windmill (XLRator Media) follows a group of tourists who waken an evil entity while on a trip through the Dutch countryside, while Sheldon Wilson’s thriller The Unspoken (Paladin), starring Jodelle Ferland and Neal McDonough, is about a family that disappears from their country home in a small town without a trace. Both will open in select cities and on VOD or Digital HD Friday.

Opening Wednesday at New York’s Film Forum is Dutch filmmaker Rosie Stapel’s Portrait of a Garden, which takes a look at the oldest “kitchen garden” in the Netherlands that dates back to 1630. 

David Novack’s documentary Finding Babel follows Andrei Malaev-Babel, the grandson of executed Soviet writer Isaac Babel, who explores his heritage through his grandfather’s subversive writing.  It opens at the Cinema Village in New York

Even docs get sequels as seen by the release of Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped, Too (Participant Media), which is indeed a sequel to his 2012 doc You’ve Been Trumped, this one exploring the feud between a 92-year-old Scottish widow and Trump over real estate. It will open in New York Friday and other places later. (Warning: If you're already sick of Trump, watching the below trailer is probably not a great idea.)

That’s it for this week, but join us again next Wednesday right here on LRM Online for a look at new movies including the last Marvel superhero movie of the year… Doctor Strange (Disney), as well as the DreamWorks Animation musical-comedy Trolls and Mel Gibson’s war drama Hackswaw Ridge (Lionsgate).

(Text copyright Edward Douglas 2016. The Weekend Warrior logo designed by and copyright Tim Nardelli 2016.)

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