Blu-Ray Releases for August 23, 2016
After the solid $396.5 million worldwide cume of its predecessor, The Huntsman: Winter’s War began development with director Frank Darabont in January 2014 and creative differences led to his departing the project in January 2015. Universal kept the April 22, 2016 release date and a few days later hired Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who was the vfx supervisor of the first installment to helm the picture. Universal landed a $500 million slate financing deal with China based Perfect World Pictures, which would cover co-financing of 50 films or last 5 years and give up to 25% revenue participation. The Huntsman was the first film released under this arrangement and its budget is reported at $115 million. Universal gave the film an expensive domestic marketing spend, with over $30 million just in national TV spots and millions more in print, online, poster, radio, booking fees, etc. The Huntsman: Winter’s War was the only wide release scheduled for April 22, but it was tracking softly up to its release and it would be competing for auds against the over-performing The Jungle Book, which was released the week before. The Huntsman received mostly awful reviews and was estimated to pull in $25 million over its first weekend, but came in below expectations with $19,445,035 — placing #2 for the weekend led by the Disney hit. Showing poor legs, the pic lost half its audience in its second frame, declining 50.5% to $9,619,300 despite none of the new releases (Keanu, Mother’s Day or Ratchet & Clank) competing for a similar audience. The Huntsman took a 58.9% third frame tumble to $3,948,835 when Captain America: Civil War opened and siphoned it’s remaining audience. It closed its domestic run with a poor $48,003,015. Universal would see back about $26.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover P&A expenses.
Overseas, The Huntsman was released in most markets two weeks before its domestic bow, to give it some breathing room before Civil War began its overseas rollout. Early estimates pegged the overseas total near $150 million, since it landed a coveted China release with Perfect World Pictures distributing, but it underperformed in the Middle Kingdom opening with $10.5 million. It was pulled from most of its theaters in its second week to give screens to local fare and has cumed only $16.9 million. The overseas total stalled at $116.1 million with China posting the highest gross. The pic is estimated to end as a write-down north of $30 million. Producer Joe Roth saw another unwanted fantasy sequel, Alice Through The Looking Glass post awful numbers just 6 weeks later.
The Nice Guys began development in the early 2000s as a film set in contemporary Los Angeles, but the project went nowhere and then was retooled as a CBS TV show, which also never materialized. After director Shane Black’s success with Iron Man 3, he was able to secure financing as feature film set in the 1970s. The Nice Guys reunited Shane Black with producer Joel Silver, which both paired on Black’s 2005 first directorial effort Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and his screenplays for The Last Boy Scout and Lethal Weapon. Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures arranged the financing for The Nice Guys and partnered with billionaire Ken Kao to co-finance the picture through his company Waypoint Entertainment. In an interview with Kao from the hollywoodreporter, the budget for The Nice Guys is revealed as $60 million. Ken Kao sold the pic to international distributors through his sales company Bloom. Warner Bros attached themselves as domestic distributor and Bloom sold the pre-sale rights at the American Film Market in 2014 and sold out every territory, which would help limit their exposure to the ambitious budget for an indie. Warner Bros initially set the date for release on June 17, 2016 but swapped the dates with another action-comedy Central Intelligence and moved The Nice Guys to May 20 and soon Neighbors 2 shifted to that date. Despite only having domestic rights on the line, Warner Bros heavily invested in a strong marketing campaign for the movie, but The Nice Guys was tracking soft up to its release, with a $10 million opening expected. Reviews were very positive and it opened just above expectations with $11,203,270 in 2,865 theaters, but The Nice Guys and Neighbors 2 ate into each other’s audience and both suffered. It placed #4 for the weekend led by new opener The Angry Birds Movie and holdover Captain America: Civil War. The pic declined 41.8% the following weekend to $6,516,234 and 47% in its third frame to $3,453,344. The Nice Guys closed its domestic run with $35,261,763, sadly continuing the decline in attendance for adult skewing mid-budget pictures. Warner Bros would see returned about $19.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which does not cover their P&A expenses.