That’s it. It’s almost the end of summer.
Sony gets involved High-speed train, the last big tent pole of a summer that brought in $2.9 billion domestically through the end of July per Comscore, +142% from the same pandemic period a year ago, but in down 17% from the May-July summer frame of 2019. July alone clocked $1.1 billion, the first month over $1 billion since December 2019. However, after High-speed trainTo begin, brace yourself for a dry two-and-a-half-month streak that’s vastly lacking in mainstream appealing films, but cluttered with adult counter-programming. Global estimates for High-speed train are at $60 million with at least $30 million in the United States for the role of Brad Pitt, David Leitch directed the R-rated film 87 North.
Even though the Rotten Tomatoes critics score is low on the film at 58%, the hope is that the good word of mouth on RT’s audience score will spark an over-indexing here for Kōtarō’s thriller novel feature. Isaac in 2010. High-speed train follows several hitmen aboard a Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate train and also stars Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Zazie Beetz, Masi Oka, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada and Sandra Bullock. The photo, taken during the pandemic, cost $90 million before P&A.
Leitch previously starred in late summer with Focus Features’ Charlize Theron Atomic Blonde in 2017 with a national start of $18.2 million as well as the Universal fast furious spin off Hobbs & Shaw which opened at $60m in early August 2019. Atomic Blonde was positioned on arthouse when it opened and reached $51.6 million domestic, while Hobbs & Shaw made $174 million. Deadpool 2 remains Leitch’s highest-grossing film as a director in the United States and Canada ($325 million) and worldwide ($786 million).
In the United States, we hear High-speed train is solid with guys over 35. The hope is that the dynamic demographics of 18-34 moviegoers will show up big. Previews begin Thursday at 3 p.m. in 3,600 locations. The photo will be reserved in 4,300 rooms, including the PLF and Imax auditoriums.
Overseas, adult audiences are back and hungry for something new, which might help High-speed train lean, especially in Europe. High-speed train hits nearly every overseas market this weekend, except for select Southeast Asian countries and the majors in Korea, Italy and Japan which depart later in the month. China is undated. The film arrives in France and the UK today, followed by Australia, Brazil, Germany and Mexico on Thursday with Spain on Friday.
Overseas we don’t have exact identical compositions yet, but in the future we will consider the Pitt-starrer Once upon a time in Hollywood which was also an August Sony release (albeit following a mega premiere at Cannes and with Quentin Tarantino loyalists lined up); Sony 2017 baby driver and Fox’s original Kingsman. The domestic opening lineup of two of these films is also compiled for High-speed train, that’s to say Once upon a time… debuted at $41 million and 2014 Kingsman at $36 million.
One of the downsides here is that the euro and the dollar are currently essentially at parity. On the other hand, some complaints about hard-to-understand dialogue in English-speaking markets won’t be a problem for foreign dubs.
High-speed train tomorrow opens the Locarno Film Festival to boost the European launch.
Sony teased the first 20 minutes of High-speed train at Cinema-Con.
Universal has the PG-13 family comedy Easter Sunday featuring stand-up comedian Jo Koy. He plays a guy in the DreamWork movie returning home for an Easter celebration with his rowdy family, bickering, eating, drinking, laughing and loving in what is a love letter to his Filipino-American community. Reviews have not been recorded on Easter Sunday yet but it should deliver in the simple mid-figures this weekend in 3,200 theaters. The photo, which cost before P&A $17 million, was made by super soldiers Jay Chandrasekhar from a screenplay by Ken Cheng and Kate Angelo.
A24 has the New York and Los Angeles launch of Helina Reijn’s horror-comedy Body Body Body in six rooms. The photo made its world premiere at SXSW and is certified 98% fresh. The film follows a group of wealthy 20-somethings who play a board game at a friend’s mansion who is in dire straits. Pete Davidson of SNL also stars with Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova.
The R-rated photo goes wide next weekend.