Clint Eastwood ‘Trouble with the Curve’: Disappointing debut
Trouble with the Curve, The House at the End of the Street, End of Watch, and Dredd: four new releases, four box office disappointments as the end of summer/early fall blues at the North American box office continue unabated. Particularly disappointing was the box office reception of the Robert Lorenz-directed Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams-Justin Timberlake baseball flick Trouble with the Curve, which opened at no. 3 on Friday with an anemic $4.16 million at 3,212 locations according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com.
Early predictions had the 82-year-old Clint Eastwood’s latest and possibly last starring vehicle grossing around $18-20 million by Sunday evening. With a whole lot of luck, Trouble with the Curve will reach $15 million, though $12–13 million – i.e., at most a mediocre $4,300 or so per venue – seems much more likely at this stage.
If so, that’ll place Trouble with the Curve on a similar level to that of other major Clint Eastwood domestic box office underperformers in the last three decades, among them Blood Work (cume: $26.23 million; adjusted $36.2 million), True Crime (cume: $16.64 million; adjusted $26.2 million), A Perfect World (cume: $31.13 million; adjusted $60.2 million), The Rookie (cume: $21.63m; adjusted $41 million), and Pink Cadillac (cume: $12.14 million; adjusted $24.5 million) – though still several notches above the disastrous Honkytonk Man (cume: $4.48 million; adjusted $12.2 million)
Trouble with the Curve affected by Clint Eastwood’s RNC anti-Obama speech?
So, does that mean Clint Eastwood’s embarrassing Empty Chair Chat at the Republican National Convention has hurt Trouble with the Curve‘s box office performance? Though Eastwood likely lost a number of admirers following his much ridiculed RNC appearance, it’s impossible to know for a fact how – or even if – Eastwood’s rambling conversation with an invisible Barack Obama affected his latest film, which has a so-so 60 percent approval rating and a 6.0/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.
For comparison’s sake: Gran Torino, whose poster featured Clint Eastwood holding a rifle bigger than Alaska, boasted a 72 percent approval rating and 6.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics, and grossed an excellent $29.48 million at 2,808 locations ($10,500 per site) in January 2009 – after four weeks doing sensational business in limited release. Gran Torino went on to earn $148.09 million in North America and $121.86 million overseas for a worldwide grand total of $269.95 million. Trouble with the Curve will almost surely earn less on its opening weekend than Gran Torino earned on its seventh weekend out ($16.24 million, not adjusted for inflation).
Here’s another comparison: After six weekends in limited release, the previous Clint Eastwood movie (as an actor), Million Dollar Baby, took in $12.26 million at 2,010 locations. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $15.5 million today. Chiefly thanks to Oscar buzz (and an eventual Best Picture Oscar win), Million Dollar Baby went on to collect $100.49 million in North America and $116.27 million overseas for a worldwide total of $216.76 million (or around $265 million today).
Baseball movies box office: Trouble with the Curve vs. Moneyball
Trouble with the Curve will be lucky if it passes $40 million domestic and/or if it manages to gross as much overseas, where baseball movies are about as popular as Westerns. Last year’s much better-received and eventual Oscar contender Moneyball, for one, starring none other than global superstar Brad Pitt – a much bigger box office draw internationally than Clint Eastwood ever was – collected a meager $34.6 million abroad. Domestic grosses weren’t exactly stellar, either: $75.6 million, after Moneyball opened with $19.5 million in late September 2011.
Distributed by Warner Bros., Trouble with the Curve marks the first time Clint Eastwood has not directed himself since Wolfgang Petersen’s In the Line of Fire in 1993. Robert Lorenz has been an Eastwood collaborator since The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and has either produced or executive-produced all of Eastwood’s recent films.
Clint Eastwood Trouble with the Curve picture: Warner Bros.
Jennifer Lawrence House at the End of the Street tops Friday box office
Jennifer Lawrence’s Horror House drama House at the End of the Street, reportedly budgeted at close to $10m, and the low-budget ($7m) cop drama End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, and Anna Kendrick, will be vying for the top spot at the struggling North American box office this weekend. Slightly ahead of the Clint Eastwood / Amy Adams baseball movie Trouble with the Curve, both new releases are expected to cume at somewhere around $13-13.5 million by Sunday evening. (Image: Jennifer Lawrence House at the End of the Street
Directed by Mark Tonderai, House at the End of the Street opened at the lower end of expectations, topping the Friday domestic box office chart with a measly $4.64 million at 3,083 locations, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. At no. 2, End of Watch was only $40,000 behind, with $4.6 million at 2,730 sites. Directed by Training Day screenwriter David Ayer, End of Watch will likely end its run on a par with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua’s pricier ($17 million budget) Brooklyn’s Finest, which cumed at $27.16 million in North America (plus a disastrous $9.27 million overseas), after debuting with $13.35 million about two years ago.
The no. 3 movie on Friday was Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve, already discussed above. At no. 4, Finding Nemo 3D added a quite weak – especially considering 3D surcharges – $2.38 million, followed by new entry Dredd with a dismal $2.23 million on Friday and probably around $6-6.5 million for the weekend.
The Master Stumbles following expansion
Another underperformer, somewhat surprisingly so, was Paul Thomas Anderson’s widely acclaimed The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Trouble with the Curve‘s Amy Adams. After a remarkable opening at five locations last weekend, The Master expanded to 788 sites, grossing a so-so $1.38 million at no. 7, or $1,759 per venue.
Those disappointing figures could potentially mean more modest plans for expanding the Weinstein Company release. Either way, The Master will likely get a late 2012 or early 2013 rerelease during the height of awards season, as the film is a strong contender in various categories, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
Compared to last year, which also had four new releases – Brad Pitt’s baseball drama Moneyball, the cute animal flick Dolphin Tale, Taylor Lautner’s Abduction, Jason Statham’s Killer Elite – in addition to strong holdover The Lion King 3D, business this weekend is expected to be down around 25 percent.
Jennifer Lawrence House at the End of the Street photo: Relativity Media.
Dredd 3D box office: One of 2012’s major domestic bombs
Dredd 3D, the much-anticipated (in some quarters) action sci-fier, opened at no. 5 on the North American box office chart, with a dismal $2.23 million at 2,506 venues on Friday according to studio estimates. Directed by Peter Travis and starring Karl Urban in the title role, Dredd will probably bring in around $6-6.5 million for the weekend – despite 3D surcharges. (Image: Karl Urban Dredd 3D.)
That would be a downright abysmal opening – worse than the already dreadful $8 million to $10 million that pundits had predicted – for the much-talked about reboot of the Sylvester Stallone movie Judge Dredd, which debuted with a already-not-that-impressive $12.29 million ($22.6 million adjusted for inflation) back in 1995. A Lionsgate release in North America, the international co-production Dredd has a reported $45-50 million budget; the film’s only chance of recovering its production budget (of course, not factoring in pre-sales, etc.) is the international box office, where 3D action movies perform much more strongly than in North America.
Box-office hope for Dredd 3D?
The good news: Judge Dredd cumed at a weak $34.69 million (approx. $64 million adjusted) in North America, but went on to earn more than twice as much abroad. The bad news: Despite grossing $113.49 million worldwide, Judge Dredd was still flop, as it cost a reported $90 million. (Remember: as a rule of thumb distributors / producing companies get about 50-55 percent of the domestic gross; 40 percent of the international gross.)
The worse news: Dredd will likely cume at $15-18 million in North America, which means it’ll need to gross about six times as much internationally so as to break even at the worldwide box office – despite having cost much less than the Stallone original, especially if inflation is taken into account. To date, things don’t look all that promising: $4.4 million in the UK and $784k in Spain after ten days (Sept. 16). But we’ll see.
In addition to Star Trek‘s Karl Urban, Dredd features Olivia Thirlby, and Lena Headey.