Blu-Ray Releases for May 31, 2016
Lionsgate bankrolled Gods Of Egypt for $140 million and mitigated their risk across numerous overseas distributors who snatched up the expensive rights at the American Film Market, where they sold out territories on this and Point Break. After AFM, Lionsgate’s exposure to the huge budget was around $10 million — plus the expense of domestic P&A, which leaves their investment in this critically reviled film between $40 million and $50 million. With their lucrative cash cow The Hunger Games series at an end, Lionsgate’s yearning for a new series led them to try to franchise the hell out of almost every property they released — from the ill fated Johnny Depp vehicle Mortdecai, Child 44, American Ultra, The Last Witch Hunter and even announcing intentions to have a spinoff of Sicario after it opened well in just 6 theaters. Gods Of Egypt joins that growing list of a would-be series. Lionsgate first announced its release date to be February 12, but then Deadpool and Zoolander 2 were scheduled for the date and it was pushed to April 8. Most IMAX screens on that date were booked for Batman v. Superman and it was moved again to February 26. For a VFX spectacle, the film was off to a poor start, when the first trailer boasted visual effects that would barely pass muster 15 years ago. Follow that with Lionsgate and director Alex Proyas apologizing for casting the film with almost entirely white actors and poor tracking up to its release. Even actor Gerard Butler distanced himself from this disaster, who had the film London Has Fallen open the following weekend and promoted only that sequel through social media. Atrocious reviews certainly didn’t help the bad buzz and predictably Gods Of Egypt flopped with $14,123,903 for its first weekend — placing #2 behind Deadpool in its third frame. Triple 9 and Eddie The Eagle also bowed. Gods Of Egypt took a 63.2% nosedive in frame two, with a $5,198,091 weekend. It continued to post large weekly declines and closed with $31,153,464. Lionsgate would see back about $17.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.
China based Le Vision acquired rights in November 2015 and saw the best overseas gross at $35.5 million. Gods Of Egypt cumed $11.4 million from Russia and posted mostly soft numbers overseas for a film of this expense and has so far pulled in $111 million, across many distributors. The film opens in a few more markets throughout June.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies had numerous attempts to reach production since the genre mash-up novel by Seth Grahame-Smith was released in 2009 — a handful of directors that came and went, multiple financiers that boarded the property and left, including Lionsgate (which acquired UK distribution rights). Cross Creek Pictures finally took over financing duties for the $28 million film and Sierra/Affinity sold international rights to distributors. Cross Creek Pictures moved from its home at Universal over to Sony for a three year agreement, where it hopes to be a major supplier and co-financier of films on the Sony slate after the two parties worked on a domestic distribution agreement for Pride And Prejudice And Zombies. Sony released the pic through their Screen Gems label and gave Pride And Prejudice And Zombies a solid marketing campaign and awareness and even a ridiculous partnership with Hot Topic for a PP&Z lingerie collection. The film opened in the US over the Super Bowl weekend, where it tried to court femme auds and would be competing for a similar crowd with the Nicholas Sparks movie The Choice. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies was expected to open in the $12 million range, but was dead on arrival with $5,324,240 — placing #6 for the weekend led by holdover Kung Fu Panda 3 and new opener Hail, Caesar! and it opened slightly lower than The Choice. The pic saw a second frame decline of 51.9% to $2,561,107 and promptly lost most of its theater count. It lost 2,455 theaters going into its third frame, which is the third biggest theater drop number on record after Meet Dave and Jonah Hex. Sony stopped reporting the box office numbers after only four weeks with a cume of $10,907,291. Sony would see back about $5.9 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below their P&A costs.
Overseas numbers have not been any more kind to the popular novel and the gross stands at just $5.4 million. The UK was the only market to reach $1 million in ticket sales. Germany marks the final overseas rollout on June 9th.
Race was the first of three Jesse Owen projects to make it into production. Anthony Mackie had a Owens pic in development at Relativity, but it was setback from their bankruptcy reorganization and Disney had Triumph, which also has not made it into production. And unlike the other projects that have been in development, Race had the full support and cooperation of the Owens family, the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group. During pre-sales, the film was originally shopped to buyers with John Boyega as the lead, but he exited to star in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Stephan James took over the role. Mister Smith Entertainment handled the pre-sales to distributors in Berlin, which covered the majority of the film’s budget which was just over $30 million. Additional equity was from Forecast Pictures, ID+, Solofilms and Trinity Race GmbH. Before production began, Focus took US distribution rights for $5 million and Focus CEO Peter Schlessel wanted to use parent company NBCUniversal to tie the pic into the 2016 Olympics, since NBC is the official Olympic broadcaster. That never materialized and instead Focus partnered with McDonald’s to screen the film in 5 different cities and give away Jesse Owens calendars in many of their locations. Hopefully those calendars inspired some people to not eat McDonald’s. Race was originally going to be released on April 8 but was moved to February 19 and on February 4 it was announced CEO Peter Schlessel would be forced from his post and replaced by Peter Kujawski. Schlessel lasted two years on the job and was originally tasked to make Focus more commercially friendly after they saw many prestige fare flops under the previous administration of James Schamus. Focus will go back to smaller prestige fare and acquisitions. Race opened against the religious pic Risen and The Witch and was tracking for a soft $8 – $10 million weekend and came in just under expectations with $7,353,922 in 2,369 theaters. It placed #6 when Deadpool led the weekend in its second frame and Race opened behind the two new releases. The film earned a solid A cinemascore from audiences, but attendance declined 44.2% the following weekend to $4,103,290 and it lost half of its theater count going into its third frame. Race left theaters with only $19,115,191. Focus would see back about $10.5 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which is far short of their expensive P&A spend and their acquisition cost.
Race has been released overseas in a few markets and Italy has posted $2 million in theatrical returns, comprising most of its $2.7 million cume and it has taken in mostly pocket change in most countries. Larger markets rollout through August. More after the numbers come in…
Triple 9 was financed by Worldview Entertainment, Anonymous Content, Sierra/Affinity and Surefire Entertainment Capital with an estimated budget north of $20 million. Sierra/Affinity handled international pre-sales to distributors and landed US distribution with Open Road (joint distribution between theater chains Regal and AMC) at the European Film Market in Berlin. The embattled Worldview Entertainment has not backed any more films since a slate of pictures that began production in 2014, when billionaire Sarah Johnson sued the company for $70 million for fraudulently mismanaging her investment in the company. Open Road originally scheduled Triple 9 for release on September 11, 2015 and then delayed the pic to March 4, 2016 and then shifted it to February 26, where it would open against the big budget fiasco Gods Of Egypt and the modestly budgeted Eddie The Eagle. Despite the pedigree of the ensemble cast and director John Hillcoat, Triple 9 received mixed reviews and was tracking for a modest $10 million opening. Open Road booked the pic in 2,205 theaters and it grossed a poor $6,109,085 — placing #5 for the weekend led by Deadpool in frame 3. Audiences gave Triple 9 a poor C+ cinemascore and it sank 62.9% to $2,263,668 the following weekend and promptly lost most of its theater count. It quickly vanished from theaters with only $12,639,297. Triple 9 has been a bust overseas for the numerous distributors who acquired the title and has so far cumed a mere $9.9 million, with $2.4 million from the UK as the highest gross. A Japan release is scheduled for June 18th.