'Pixels' movie weekend box office: Adam Sandler vs. 'Ant-Man'
Despite its underwhelming domestic box office debut last weekend, Marvel's Ant-Man may turn out to be the winner in North America this weekend, July 24–26, thanks to another underwhelming debut: that of the Adam Sandler Pixels movie.
According to weekend box office projections found at Variety, the Chris Columbus-directed Pixels is expected to open with $25 million from 3,723 locations – following a $10 million Friday take (including $1.5M from Thursday previews). If so, that'll place Adam Sandler's latest lowbrow comedy – now in 3D – on a par with Sandler domestic disappointments like Jack and Jill and Funny People. Deadline.com, for its part, is expecting $27-$28 million by Sunday evening.
Sat., July 25, update: According to studio box office estimates, Pixels underperformed on Friday, taking in $9.2 million. That's below figures for Jack and Jill and, adjusted for inflation (and without the Thursday evening boost), Funny People.
Sun., July 26, update: According to studio box office estimates, Pixels underperformed over the weekend, scoring $24 million.
Ahead of 'That's My Boy,' 'Blended'
Either way, Sandler can boast that Pixels will open quite a bit ahead of his domestic box office bombs That's My Boy ($13.45 million debut) and Blended ($14.28 million debut last year).
Now, remember that Pixels has the box office-boosting advantage of 3D surcharges (at least at some theaters). Adam Sandler's previous films – sigh – weren't blessed with 3D.
Funny People cumed at $51.85 million; Jack and Jill at $74.15 million. Pixels reportedly cost $88 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses. Its salvation will likely be the international market, which gave a much-needed boost to domestic Adam Sandler duds like Blended and Jack and Jill, and where braindead 3D movies have great popular appeal.
Pixels currently has a dismal 14 percent approval rating and 3.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.
'Pixels' movie: Latest Sony Pictures' domestic dud?
This past year has been tough for Pixels movie distributor Sony Pictures at the North American box office. Its last movie to – barely – hit the $100 million mark in the U.S. and Canada was the Antoine Fuqua-Denzel Washington actioner The Equalizer, which opened in early fall 2014.
Recent Sony releases have all been either domestic box office disappointments or downright bombs (Chappie, Aloha). Below are a few titles:
- Will Gluck's Annie remake starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Oscar winner Jamie Foxx (Ray), Rose Byrne, and Cameron Diaz. Budget: $65 million. Domestic gross: $85.91 million.
- Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi thriller Chappie, with Dev Patel, Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables), and three-time Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl). Budget: $49 million. Domestic gross: $31.56 million.
- The Kevin James comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Directed by Andy Fickman, the sequel grossed half ($70.7 million) of the original film's domestic take.
- Cameron Crowe's Aloha, toplining three-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and American Sniper), Oscar nominee Emma Stone (Birdman), Rachel McAdams, and Oscar nominee Bill Murray (Lost in Translation). Budget: $37 million. Domestic gross: $20.99 million.
'Ant-Man' Beaten by 'Minions'
Ant-Man, which has been trailing Minions in the last three days, is expected to rake in approximately $26 million Fri.-Sun. That represents a 54 percent drop from the previous weekend (whose numbers were inflated by Thursday evening screenings).
For comparison's sake: Thor was down 47 percent on its second weekend ($34.7 million). Captain America: The First Avenger, which, like Ant-Man, also opened in late July, was down 61 percent ($25.55 million). In North America, the former ultimately grossed $181.03 million; the latter $176.65 million.
It remains to be seen whether the Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest entry will have superhero-ish legs. To date, the reportedly $130 million-budgeted Ant-Man has taken in $81.31 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Of course, remember to take the above box office weekend estimates with a grain (or two or three) of salt. A week ago, Variety predicted that Ant-Man would open with $65 million – whereas Marvel's ant hero actually debuted with a much more modest $57.22 million.
Sat., July 25, update: Ant-Man scored an estimated $7.23 million on Friday.
Sun., July 26, update: According to studio box office estimates, Ant-Man topped the middling North American box office this weekend, grossing $24.76 million.
Needless to say, it's unclear whether or not the Lafayette, Louisiana, shootings – which left three people dead (including the murderer, who killed himself) and nine injured during a screening of the Judd Apatow-Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck – will have any impact on movie attendance this weekend, as mass murders in public places seem to have become weekly events in the United States.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a right-wing Republican, offered thoughts, prayers, and hugs following the tragedy. His state has one of the most lax gun laws in the U.S. and the highest murder rate (2013) anywhere in the country.
'Ant-Man,' 'Pixels' movie cast
Below is the list of key movies mentioned in this article, with their directors and top cast members.
- Pixels (2015).
Dir.: Chris Columbus.
Cast: Adam Sandler. Kevin James. Michelle Monaghan (instead of Jennifer Aniston). Peter Dinklage. Josh Gad. Brian Cox. Matt Lintz. Sean Bean. Jane Krakowski. Lainie Kazan. Ashley Benson. Dan Aykroyd. Tom McCarthy. Affion Crockett. Jared Sandler. Cameos: Serena Williams. Martha Stewart.
Scr.: Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling. From Patrick Jean's short film.
- Ant-Man (2015).
Dir.: Peyton Reed.
Cast: Paul Rudd. Oscar winner Michael Douglas (for Oliver Stone's Wall Street). Evangeline Lilly. Corey Stoll. Judy Greer. Bobby Cannavale. Michael Peña. Abby Ryder Fortson. David Dastmalchian. Garrett Morris. T.I. Martin Donovan. John Slattery. Woody Harris. Hayley Atwell. Cameos: Jordi Mollà. Chris Evans. Sebastian Stan. Anthony Mackie. Stan Lee.
- Blended (2014).
Dir.: Frank Coraci.
Cast: Adam Sandler. Drew Barrymore. Kevin Nealon. Wendi McLendon-Covey. Terry Crews. Emma Fuhrmann. Bella Thorne.
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
Dir.: Joe Johnston.
Cast: Chris Evans. Hayley Atwell. Sebastian Stan. Tommy Lee Jones. Dominic Cooper. Hugo Weaving. Richard Armitage. Stanley Tucci. Toby Jones. Neal McDonough. Samuel L. Jackson. Derek Luke.
- Thor (2011).
Dir.: Kenneth Branagh.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth. Natalie Portman. Tom Hiddleston. Anthony Hopkins. Stellan Skarsgård. Kat Dennings. Clark Gregg. Colm Feore. Josh Dallas. Idris Elba. Ray Stevenson. Tadanobu Asano. Jamie Alexander. Rene Russo. Adriana Barraza.
- Jack and Jill (2011).
Dir.: Dennis Dugan.
Cast: Adam Sandler. Katie Holmes. Al Pacino. Elodie Tougne. Rohan Chand. Eugenio Derbez. David Spade. Nick Swardson. Tim Meadows.
Official Friday box office estimates source: Box Office Mojo.
Donkey Kong and Adam Sandler Pixels movie images: Sony Pictures.
Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man image: Marvel / Walt Disney Studios.