Blu-Ray Releases for November 22, 2016
Hands Of Stone was originally in development with Al Pacino and Gael García Bernal but financing was never secured, so writer/director/producer Jonathan Jakubowicz went to Panama to raise the financing himself. He raised $24 million through his production company Epicentral Studios, which he owns with his wife Claudine Jakubowicz. In order to keep the production about the Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán in Panama, the Panamanian government gave a $2.8 million advance through the Panama Film Commission. Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramírez top lined the cast and the film completed production in early 2014. Lotus Entertainment handled international sales and The Weinstein Company picked up international rights in 2015 and a few months later TWC took domestic rights at the Cannes Film Festival. TWC was committed to a strong P&A spend and a 2,000 screen release set for 2016.
TWC dated Hands Of Stone for an end of summer August 26 release and it received some of the highest test screening scores of any movie from the studio, but it was not tracking well in the weeks approaching its release. In a last minute decision, TWC decided to open the film moderately wide in 810 theaters, in hopes to spread strong word of mouth and they would expand the picture wide the following weekend, over the Labor Day frame. Hands Of Stone pulled in an underwhelming $1,751,388 in 810 locations, with a $2,162 per screen average. Despite the muted opening, TWC still pumped millions into national TV ads going into its wide release, bringing the TV spend to $13.45 million (as per iSpotTV), plus millions more in print, radio, online, poster, etc. Hands Of Stone expanded to 2,011 theaters over the slow Labor Day holiday against The Light Between Oceans and Morgan. It posted a disastrous weekend cume of just $1,263,660 — the third worst bow in over 2,000 theaters on record. It placed #20 for the weekend led by the holdover Don’t Breathe. Hands Of Stone is The Weinstein Company’s second wide release in 2016, as they acted as a rent-a-distributor for Jane Got A Gun, which opened with an awful $835,572 in January. Hands Of Stone tumbled a massive 86.1% to $175,163 in its third frame (second wide frame) and promptly lost most of its theater count. The domestic run closed with only $4,712,792. Overseas numbers have so far amounted to a mere $200k.
Laika financed the stop-motion animated Kubo And The Two Strings for $63 million and received a $5.2 million rebate from the state of Oregon, bringing the net budget to $57.8 million. After a good working relationship between Laika and Universal’s Focus, which collaborated on Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls, in late 2015 the two companies entered a three picture pact. Focus would handle domestic distribution and Universal International would handle most offshore markets. Kubo And The Two Strings marked the first movie of the deal. Focus dated Kubo for August 19, where it would bow against War Dogs and the disastrous remake of Ben-Hur. Focus heavily invested in an expensive marketing push for the picture, spending $32.53 million just on national TV spots (as per iSpotTV), plus millions more on print, online, radio, etc — for a P&A spend far north of $40 million. Kubo was also heavily promoted during the summer 2016 Olympics, which was broadcast by NBCUniversal. Despite the marketing blitz and fantastic reviews, Kubo And The Two Strings was tracking for a modest $14 million weekend. Focus booked the pic into 3,260 theaters and it came in slightly below expectations with $12,608,372 — placing #4 for the frame led by Suicide Squad in its third weekend. Audiences gave Kubo a great A cinemascore and it saw a decent second weekend hold, declining 37.8% to $7,844,822 and it fell a mere 18.7% in its third frame to $6,375,278. Even with decent legs at the box office, Kubo And The Two Strings will close its domestic run with a disappointing cume near $48 million. Focus would see returned about $26.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross. After ancillary sales are factored in, the film will likely be a wash for Focus, but little to no cash overages would flow back to Laika. More after the US run ends…
The three previous Laika features pulled in overseas numbers around $50 million and Kubo has struggled during its foreign rollout. Markets that had been receptive to Laika’s previous fare, have mostly ignored Kubo And The Two Strings. The UK gross was just $3.9 million, which has so far posted the highest overseas receipts. With just a few markets left to open in, the overseas numbers are currently at 21,398,587.