Box-Office Preview: 'Hotel Transylvania 2' Set to Sink Teeth Into 'Intern,' 'Everest'
Eli Roth's first directorial effort in eight years, 'The Green Inferno,' also opens, while '99 Homes' launches at the specialty box office.
Targeting families, Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 should easily draw enough blood to win the North American box-office race this weekend, while a crop of adult-skewing films will fight each other for attention.
Transylvania 2, including a voice cast of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James and Keegan-Michael Key, should open to $35 million or higher. Sony is being cautious, while more bullish observers believe it will hit $40 million, roughly on par with the first Hotel Transylvania (2012). The $80 million sequel, co-financed by LStar Capital, is the first family animated offering since Lionsgate's Shaun the Sheep in early August and rolls out in more than 3,600 theaters.
Going after women viewers is Nancy Meyers' The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. The $40 million film, about a young executive who hires an older man to be her intern, is Meyers' first film since It's Complicated in 2009 and the first she has made for Warner Bros.
Insiders at Warners are targeting a debut in the $15 million range for The Intern, which goes out in 3,305 locations. That would mark one of the lowest starts for a major studio title starring Hathaway, although it's true that Meyers' movies have never sported huge starts.
A big question mark this weekend is Everest, which expands into a total of 3,004 theaters after a limited 3D engagement last weekend. It's risky to open a film in an exclusive run, because if word of mouth isn't good, it could hurt the title when it opens nationwide.
Directed by Baltasar Kormakur, Everest, an action-adventure recounting two climbing expeditions left stranded high atop the world's highest mountain in 1996, will be playing in roughly 3,004 theaters on Friday after earning $7.2 million last weekend from 545 Imax and premium large-format theaters. Universal insiders are predicting a weekend gross in the mid-teens for Everest.
Another adult title still fresh in the marketplace is Johnny Depp's Black Mass, likewise from Warners. The Whitey Bulger biopic, opening to $22.6 million last weekend, is counting on a long run throughout awards season. This weekend will pose a crucial test in terms of how well Black Mass looks to hold.
Elsewhere, Eli Roth's first directorial effort in eight years, The Green Inferno, opens in roughly 1,500 locations. The long-delayed movie is the debut title from BH Tilt, a new distribution and marketing venture launched by Jason Blum's Blumhouse that's focused on targeting genre fare. By keeping the theater count at 1,500, BH Tilt avoided a big marketing spend. BH Tilt hopes for a debut ranging from $4 million to $5 million.
Filmed in Chile, Green Inferno, which made its world premiere two years ago at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, follows a group of college students who travel to the Amazon jungle, only to be taken prisoner by the indigenous tribe they have come to save.
Openings at the specialty box office include Ramin Bahrani's financial drama 99 Homes, starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern, which Broad Green goes out with in two theaters in New York.
Expanding into 50 theaters is Denis Villeneuve's border crime thriller Sicario, starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. The Lionsgate film posted the biggest theater average of the year to date when launching in New York and L.A. last weekend.