Box-Office Preview: Troubled Summer Closes With 'November Man,' 'As Above, So Below'
Unless they surprise, neither film is tracking to make much noise over the long Labor Day holiday
An adult-minded espionage film starring Pierce Brosnan and a found-footage thriller targeting younger moviegoers are closing out the troubled summer season at the North American box office, where revenue could hit an eight-year low.
Director Roger Donaldson's The November Man is getting a jump on the long Labor Day weekend by opening Wednesday and is projected to make $12 million in its six-day debut. The $20 million-plus movie was made by The Solution Entertainment Group, Palmstar Media Capital and Merced Media Partners, with Relativity Media acquiring U.S. rights for a reported $3 million.
The holiday's second new nationwide player is Legendary Entertainment's micro-budgeted As Above, So Below, about a team of explorers who confront their past sins while caught in the twisting catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris. Universal is releasing the film per its deal with Legendary.
Labor Day is never a big moviegoing weekend, although this year could be even slower than usual. It's also possible that holdover Guardians of the Galaxy could stay at the No. 1 spot.
Despite gains made in August, thanks in large part to Guardians and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, domestic summer revenue is still down down nearly 15 percent from last year, and isn't likely to get much past $4 billion by the end of Labor Day. That's the lowest number in eight years.
November Man will rely on adults interested in seeing Brosnan play a James Bond-like character. He stars opposite Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey in the action title, about an extremely dangerous ex-CIA agent who is lured out of retirement to protect a witness. The assignment makes him the target of his former friend and CIA protege.
The movie is based on Bill Granger's bestselling November Man book series. Irish Dreamtime and Das Films produced the movie.
As Above, So Below, which begins rolling out in select theaters Thursday night before opening wide Friday, is tracking to open in the $8 million to $10 million range. The movie cost a modest $5 million to make, minimizing Legendary's risk. Moreover, the company and Universal relied almost entirely on a digital marketing campaign designed to win over younger moviegoers, versus television ads. Hollywood will be watching to see how well the unconventional approach works.
John Erick Dowdle directed the psychological thriller from a script he wrote with his brother, Drew Dowdle. Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks and Edwin Hodge star.
The digital marketing campaign included a partnership with YouTubepersonality PewDiePie, who creates a series of custom videos in the Paris catacombs that generated more than 15 million views of content and trailer. There was also a heavy Hispanic media campaign on major TV networks and digital outlets with customized spots.
As Above, So Below has already begun rolling in France, Belgium and French-speaking Switzerland, grossing $900,000 for Legendary and Universal. It opens in additional territories this weekend, including the U.K.