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The Call Surprises + Burt Wonderstone Is Mammoth Bomb

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Halle Berry The Call
The Call with Halle Berry.

Halle Berry ‘The Call’ box office surprises

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

Oz the Great and Powerful will maintain a strong lead at the North American box office this weekend, chiefly because Friday’s two new releases, the Halle Berry thriller The Call and the Steve Carell / Jim Carrey comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, were from the get-go bound to become modest grossers. Having said that, the Friday box office performances of both The Call and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone turned out to be quite unexpected: whereas the Halle Berry movie way overperformed, the Steve Carell / Jim Carrey flick totally bombed. (Image: Halle Berry The Call.)

Directed by Sam Raimi, and starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz, Oz the Great and Powerful added $11.4 million on Friday, according to studio estimates found at By Sunday evening, this critically derided prequel to the 1939 Victor Fleming / Judy Garland classic The Wizard of Oz should take in around $40 million. That’ll represent approximately a 50 percent drop compared to Oz the Great and Powerful‘s first weekend. (See also: James Franco gay sex movie ‘replaces’ banned gay sex movie at Australian Film Festival and Interior. Leather Bar recreates Cruising‘s “lost” kinky gay sex footage.)

Halle Berry The Call: $17-$18 million weekend?

Expectations for the Halle Berry thriller The Call were quite modest. Sony Pictures announced the film’s release date only a couple of months ago, and the Best Actress Academy Award winner Halle Berry’s most recent non-X-Men star vehicle to open with more than $20 million at the North American box office – even adjusting for inflation – was the $100 million-budgeted (and eventual box office bomb) Catwoman, which took in $16.72 million (approx. $21.68 million today) in late July 2004, nearly nine years ago.

Once inflation is factored in, The Call won’t gross as much as Catwoman. In fact, The Call should trail even the non-adjusted amount earned by Halle Berry’s horror thriller Gothika ($19.28m) in Nov. 2003. Even so, the Brad Anderson-directed thriller co-starring Little Miss Sunshine‘s Abigail Breslin may reach a not inconsiderable $18 million by Sunday evening. A minimum of $17 million seems guaranteed after the film raked in $6.2 million at 2,507 locations on Friday. Early predictions had the $13 million-budgeted The Call scoring at most $10 million this weekend.

Halle Berry movies

Halle Berry won her Best Actress Academy Award for Marc Forster’s drama Monster’s Ball in early 2002. Among Berry’s other film credits are Boomerang (1992), with Eddie Murphy; Losing Isaiah (1995), with Jessica Lange; Bulworth (1998), with Warren Beatty; and the Lee Tamahori-directed James Bond thriller Die Another Day (2001), with Pierce Brosnan.

Halle Berry’s biggest movie at the North American box office is X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), in which Berry is part of an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, James Marsden and others. X-Men: The Last Stand took in $234.36 million. The vast majority of Berry’s recent releases, however, have been domestic box office disappointments – or downright bombs – including last year’s costly Cloud Atlas, co-starring Tom Hanks. Cloud Atlas raked in a disastrous $27.1 million in the US and Canada, though the offbeat drama directed by Tom Tykwer, and Andy and Lana Wachowski fared much better internationally, collecting $94.39 million.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Steve CarellThe Incredible Burt Wonderstone, with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey: Warner Bros. drops another bomb

But if Halle Berry and The Call were good news, Steve Carell and Jim Carrey and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone were bad news indeed – especially for distributor Warner Bros. After all, the $30 million-budgeted The Incredible Burt Wonderstone may have trouble reaching $12 million at the U.S. and Canada box office this weekend after bringing in a paltry $3.72 million at 3,160 venues on Friday as per studio estimates found at For comparison’s sake: Josh Gordon and Will Speck’s (somewhat) similarly themed comedy Blades of Glory, starring Will Ferrell, debuted with $33.01 million (not adjusted for inflation) in March 2007. That’s likely more than The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will earn during its entire domestic run. (Image: Steve Carell The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.)

In all likelihood, the Don Scardino-directed comedy, will be unable to match its budget at the domestic box office. International prospects don’t look all too promising, either, considering that Hollywood comedies usually perform better at home than abroad, while neither Steve Carell nor Jim Carrey is a big box office draw overseas. Besides Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone cast includes Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, and Alan Arkin (coincidentally, a Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for Little Miss Sunshine, mentioned in the previous article).

‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’ is Warner Bros.’ fifth box office bomb this year

As for Warner Bros., The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has become the studio’s fifth 2013 bomb, following the Ryan Gosling / Josh Brolin / Emma Stone period thriller Gangster Squad; the Sylvester Stallone box office disaster Bullet to the Head; the fantasy Beautiful Creatures; and, most recently, the Bryan Singer-directed $195 million-budgeted Jack the Giant Slayer, starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, and which to date has collected approximately $72 million worldwide.

Although Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Kay Francis, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Rin Tin Tin are no longer around to come rescue the Burbank studio, there’s still hope. Baz Luhrmann’s much-delayed The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton, opens in May.

If that period drama fails, there’s always Todd Phillips’ lowbrow humor by way of The Hangover Part III, which opens that same month and brings back Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper, now boasting in his resume a Best Actor Academy Award nomination (for David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook). And in June there’s Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill in the old Christopher Reeve role, plus a quartet of performers with Academy Award pedigrees: Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and Russell Crowe.

At least one of these three entries should pan out for Warner Bros. Perhaps all three will. The studio surely needs it.

Of note: As a rule of thumb, Hollywood studios earn 50 percent of a movie’s domestic box office gross and 40 percent from the international gross; the rest chiefly goes to exhibitors. Budget figures don’t include marketing and distribution expenses, which can be considerable – and let’s not forget the percentages of a film’s box office gross (or net) that goes to top talent; that’s a form of “latter-day budgetary cost” as well.

Steve Carell The Incredible Burt Wonderstone photo: Warner Bros.

Halle Berry The Call photo: Sony Pictures.

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