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The J.J. Abrams-produced 10 Cloverfield Lane — his “spiritual successor” to found-footage monster pic Cloverfield — looks to devour Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comedy, The Brothers Grimsby, at the multiplex this weekend.
10 Cloverfield has a shot at crossing $20 million in its debut, although Paramount is being more conservative. The movie stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher, Jr. and cost in the mid-teen millions. Dan Trachtenberg directed the film from a script by Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken and Damien Chazelle.
Still, not even 10 Cloverfield is likely to take down Disney Animation Studios’ holdover Zootopia, which opened to a record $75.1 million last weekend. Zootopia is tipped to stay at No. 1 in its second weekend with $35 million or more domestically; globally, it’s only days away from zooming past the $300 million mark.
Cohen’s Grimsby is tracking to debut in the $8 million range, the lowest domestic opening of the British actor’s career. Sony took over distribution duties from Paramount in 2014 and planned to unfurl the pic in July 2015. But following the hack and a change in leadership, the film’s release was pushed back several times, eventually landing on March 11. Both Grimsby and 10 Cloverfield will compete for male moviegoers’ attention.
Sony doesn’t need another misfire at the box office following a string of misses, including The Walk, The 5th Wave and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Concussion also underperformed financially, topping out at $45.7 million worldwide.
In the Louis Leterrier-directed Brothers Grimsby, Cohen stars as Nobby, a sweet but dimwitted English football hooligan from the town of Grimsby who reunites with his long-lost brother Sebastian (Mark Strong), a deadly MI6 agent. Together, they set out to stop a massive global terror attack. (The raunchy, R-rated film boasts a scene in which presidential contender Donald Trump accidentally contracts AIDs.)
Cohen’s last comedy, The Dictator, opened to $17.4 million domestically in 2012, while Bruno debuted to $30.6 million in 2009. And in 2006, box-office sensation Borat launched with $26.5 million.
Grimsby is faring poorly in the U.K., where it opened two weeks ago to $2.7 million, compared to $6.9 million for The Dictator and $11.9 million for Borat. In total, the film has grossed $7.3 million internationally to date from five markets, the majority from Britain ($5.1 million). Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher (Cohen’s wife), Annabelle Wallis, Gabourey Sidibe, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane also star.
Two other films debut nationwide this weekend: romantic comedy The Perfect Match and faith-based offering The Young Messiah, based on Anne Rice’s book about Jesus as a boy. Both are looking at modest openings, although there’s potential for upside.
Perfect Match, executive produced by Queen Latifah, is from Codeblack Films and Lionsgate. Terrence J, Cassie Ventura, Paula Patton and Donald Faison lead the ensemble cast. Directed by Billie Woodruff, the pic tells the story of a committed bachelor who accepts a bet to stick to one woman for a month. Look for an opening in the $5 million-$7 million range.
Young Messiah, from Focus Features and produced by Chris Columbus, is targeting faith-based moviegoers of all ages. Director Cyrus Nowrasteh has promoted the film at religious conferences across the country, as well as doing extensive outreach in the Hispanic community. Tracking suggests the biblical tale will open in the $7 million-$8 million range.
Faith-based titles can be incredibly lucrative. However, Young Messiah faces competition from holdover Risen and opens only a week before Sony’s Jennifer Garner film, Miracles From Heaven, enters the fray. (Risen is also from Sony, and has earned $29.6 million since bowing three weekends ago.)
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