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Universal and Illumination’s CG animated The Grinch, the latest adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss holiday tale, will see plenty of green in its North American box office bow with $55 million-$60 million, if not more.
With a Grinch voiced this time out by Benedict Cumberbatch, the big-budget pic will easily top the chart, thanks to being the first family tentpole of the year-end corridor. The weekend’s other new nationwide offerings, The Girl in the Spider’s Web and the J.J. Abrams-produced Overlord, are looking at far more modest openings.
The Grinch, directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, will play in more than 4,100 theaters. The voice cast also includes Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, Cameron Seely and Pharrell Williams, who narrates the tale about the infamous Grinch who tries to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s review notes that The Grinch is much closer in spirit to Dr. Seuss’ beloved book How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the 1966 TV special than the 2000 film directed by Ron Howard and voice-starring Jim Carrey. The Illumination film cost a reported $75 million to produce.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web, starring The Crown‘s Claire Foy and directed by Fede Alvarez, hopes to revive the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo book and film franchise. Tracking suggests the movie will open in the $10 million-$15 million range, although Sony is being more conservative in suggesting $8 million for the adult-skewing, R-rated pic
Sony made Girl in the Spider’s Web, which continues the adventures of Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander, in partnership with MGM and New Regency. Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks and Stephen Merchant co-star.
Studio insiders say Spider’s Web cost $43 million to produce, less than half the production budget of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, based on the first novel in late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. The original Millennium trilogy was adapted for the screen by Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev and starred Noomi Rapace as Salander in a breakout role. The first film was released in February 2009, with sequels in September and November of the same year, both directed by Daniel Alfredsson.
In 2011, Sony released the English-language adaptation of the first novel in the Millennium series, directed by David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara as Salander opposite Daniel Craig. The film debuted domestically to $12.7 million in December 2011 on its way to earning $230 million globally.
Girl in the Spider’s Web, playing in approximately 2,400 cinemas, will face keen competition for adult attention from holdover Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic that opened to a champion-like $51 million last weekend.
From Paramount and Abrams’ Bad Robot, the World War II horror-thriller Overlord looks set to bow in the $9 million-$13 million range from 2,850 theaters. The $35 million film boasts the advantage of being the sole new offering for the younger genre crowd. It also lords over the other new offerings in terms of reviews, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 86 percent, versus 59 percent for Spider’s Web.
Overlord‘s up-and-coming cast includes Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro and Iain de Caestecker. Julius Avery directed the R-rated film, which follows a group of American paratroopers who drop into Nazi-occupied France on the eve of D-Day, only to discover the horrors of a Nazi lab carrying out terrifying and supernatural experiments that bring the dead back to life.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Jason Reitman’s political pic The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman as scandal-ridden Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart. The awards hopeful, playing initially in New York and Los Angeles, was acquired by Sony at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Sony is opening the movie timed to Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Among other awards contenders, Amazon Studios is expanding Beautiful Boy, starring Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell, nationwide into roughly 840 theaters.
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