You Don’t Mess With the ‘Ant-Man': Marvel declares win over Sandler’s ‘Pixels’

27 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: Adam Sandler’s ‘Pixels’ Snags $50M Global Bow.

If Sunday’s horse-race estimates hold tomorrow, then “Ant-Man’s” sophomore weekend will have beaten the debut of the highly promoted (and highly derided) “Pixels,” the latest big-budget “comedy” from Adam Sandler.The problem with the domestic box office debut of Adam Sandler’s isn’t necessarily that it underperformed in terms of theoretical potential, but rather that you can make the case that having Adam Sandler in the film may have actually hurt it this weekend.

The sci-fi action film featuring the former “Saturday Night Live” star opened in second place this weekend in North American cinemas with sales of $24 million, Rentrak Corp. said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. “Ant-Man,” from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios, claimed first place in its second week, with $24.8 million.The new family-friendly Adam Sandler alien invasion comedy “Pixels” topped the box office on Friday, coming out ahead of other newcomers “Paper Towns” and “Southpaw.” Directed by Chris Columbus, “Pixels” materialized an estimated $9.2 million at the box office and earned a B grade from audiences via Cinemascore despite largely negative reviews from critics.

According to early studio numbers, Disney/Marvel’s “Ant-Man” has won the weekend at the North American box office with a take of $24.76-million — a sliver ahead of the $24-million that Sony’s “Pixels” grossed in its domestic debut. (Right on the tail of both is Universal’s “Minions,” still going strong with a $22.1-million take.) And even if “Pixels” somehow nudges ahead at the finish in Monday’s final numbers, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. The concept was pretty solid, that of former arcade champions recruited to save the world from aliens who attack in the form of 80′s video game characters. Last week’s No. 1 movie, the Marvel superhero story “Ant-Man,” still looks like it will nudge past “Pixels” to take the top spot for a second weekend in a row. To put the opening in a longer context: Since Sandler became a film star 20 years ago, “Pixels” (when adjusted for inflation) represents the worst opening for any major-release comedy he’s starred in. The film, directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd as the titular hero, pulled in an estimated $7.2 million on Friday. “Paper Towns,” an adaptation of the young adult novel by John Green and starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigne, grossed an estimated $6.3 million on Friday.

Ever since last year’s Sony hack, it’s been interesting to see how the dirty laundry emailed between studio suits and agents has played out this year in commercial terms. It really feels like the last minute deluge of ghastly reviews and the confirmation that it was a lowest-common-denominator Adam Sandler vehicle (with all of the sexism, PG-13 smarm, and lazy male entitlement that stereotypically goes along with that) may well have scared off any number of families who would arguably have flocked to a somewhat more wholesome version of the same movie. Last year, the adaptation of Green’s novel “The Fault in Our Stars,” starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, took in some $26 million on its opening day.

For instance, one Sony gripe revealed last year complained about the “ridiculous” script for Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha,” which had an extremely soft $10-million opening this summer. Well, if “Pixels” doesn’t pick up its business — and if the version that was sanitized to appease Chinese censors doesn’t do boffo box office in that monster market — then the exposed Sony emailers may get their wish sooner than foreseen. * In comparing recent ’80s-nostalgia geek fare, “Pixels” couldn’t even muster half of last year’s debut for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” ($65.6-million). * Speaking of a monster take: “Jurassic World” is now the third-biggest film ever, having passed “The Avengers” both domestically ($623.8-million to $623.4-million) and globally ($1.54-billion to $1.52-billion). The movie debuted with a $24 million opening weekend; not terrible per-se but arguably at the lowest end of what might have been respectable for the picture. Even if overseas rescues it, this isn’t necessarily the franchise that Sony may have wanted, nor is it the big hit they needed or the renewed affirmation of Sandler’s box office star power.

I still think that PG-13 was a mistake, but at this point targeting kids harder would have put it in the path of Universal/Comcast Corps.’ Minions and Walt Disney’s “also shoulda been PG” Ant-Man. I can’t fault Sony marketing, and I’m not just saying that because Sony has a bunch of interesting films lined up for the rest of the year that I want to see as early as possible (not just Spectre, but yeah, totally Spectre).

He had fourteen $100 million domestic grossers between 1998 and 2013, which puts in in a crowd alongside the likes of Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Will Smith. He clearly sees the writing on the wall, which is part of what fueled his move to Netflix, but he was a pure face-on-the-poster movie star before, during, and after a seismic shift in Hollywood and its would-be star system. The somewhat good news is that the film snagged a halfway decent $25.4 million overseas bow in a debut representing around 40% of the market at this time. That gives the film a $49.4m worldwide bow, which isn’t necessarily a disaster if the 100% global debut (the remaining 60 markets) perform accordingly.

Maybe I’m bending over backwards to be fair because I’m being so hard on the domestic front, but it’s not implausible for the film to pull in around $65m in a “total” overseas opening weekend (the $25.4m combined with the remaining 60% of the overseas market) which would give it a global debut of $89m, which is basically it’s production budget. That’s no blockbuster figure, but considering Adam Sandler has never had a live-action worldwide grosser over $271m (Grown Ups, with the next highest being Grown Ups 2 with $247m), I don’t think I should have necessarily seen mega-blockbuster figures.

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