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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- HORROR HOPEFULS -- 9/12/16


 
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BLAIR WITCH - CALLIE HERNANDEZ

BLAIR WITCH - CALLIE HERNANDEZ

OUJIA - SHELLEY HENIG

OUJIA - SHELLEY HENIG

DON'T BREATHE - JANE LEVY

DON'T BREATHE - JANE LEVY

MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT --

HORROR HOPEFULS -- 9/12/16

 

Horror hopefuls: Horror thrillers are one of Hollywood's hottest genres and with a half dozen more on the horizon, the boxoffice should continue to benefit.

September has already enjoyed a nice boost from Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films and Ghost House Pictures' R rated suspense thriller "Don't Breathe." Last weekend, it placed third with $8.2 million, bringing its domestic cume to $66.8 million after three weeks.

Having reportedly cost just under $10 million to produce, "Breathe" is a textbook case of how making horror films can be a very profitable business. It helps that its director and co-producer, Fede Alvarez, directed the successful franchise reboot "Evil Dead." Made for about $17 million, it opened Apr. 5, 2013 to $25.8 million and did $54.2 million domestically.

Alvarez's co-producer on "Breathe," Sam Raimi, also has very impressive horror film production credentials, including: "The Grudge"  (2004), "The Grudge 2" (2006), "Evil Dead" (2013) and "Poltergeist" (2015).

Of course, horror films don't automatically strike boxoffice gold. 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Productions' R rated thriller "Morgan" opened over Labor Day weekend and after two weeks has a cume of just $3.6 million. It was hurt by "Breathe," which had opened to bigger business than expected with very strong word-of-mouth and unusually positive reviews just one week earlier.

         Last weekend brought two more horror hopefuls. Screen Gems' PG-13 rated horror mystery "When the Bough Breaks," opened solidly in second place to $15 million. Directed by Jon Cassar ("Forsaken"), it stars Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland and Brian Cox. Its budget was reportedly about $10 million.

         Relativity Media's R rated horror thriller "The Disappointments Room" opened 17th to $1.4 million. Directed by D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia"), it stars Kate Beckinsale, Lucas Till and Michaela Conlin. It reportedly cost $15 million to produce.

         This weekend should see horror bounce back at the boxoffice with the return of a major horror franchise -- Lionsgate's R rated horror thriller "Blair Witch" at about 2,850 theatres. Directed by Adam Wingard ("The Guest"), it stars Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry. It should play best to young women, who are typically the core audience for horror films.

         It's episode three in the series that started with "The Blair Witch Project." After opening July 16, 1999 to $1.5 million at just 27 theatres, "BWP" went on to do $140.5 million domestically. Its budget was reportedly only $60,000.        

         The next chapter, "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," misfired. It arrived Oct. 27, 2000 to $13.2 million and ended up grossing $26.4 million domestically. It reportedly cost $15 million to produce.

         In episode three, James (James Allen McCune) finds video footage he thinks could be his sister in the scary Blair Witch woods. That discovery sends James and some friends deep into the forest to search for her.

Here's a look at some other horror hopefuls opening wide from now through year-end:

         OCT. 21: The PG-13 rated supernatural horror thriller "Ouija: Origin of Evil," from Universal, Blumhouse Productions, Platinum Dunes and Hasbro, is directed by Mike Flanagan ("Before I Wake ") and stars Doug Jones, Henry Thomas and Elizabeth Reaser. It reportedly cost $6 million to produce.

         Based on the Hasbro game "Ouija," the film's seasoned producing team includes: Michael Bay ("Ouija," "The Purge"), Andrew Form ("Ouija," "The Purge"), Brad Fuller ("Ouija," "The Purge"), Jason Blum ("Paranormal Activity" franchise, "The Purge" "Insidious," "Ouija"), Brian Goldner ("Ouija") and Stephen Davis ("Ouija").

         In "Origin," set in 1965 Los Angeles, when a widowed mother and her two daughters create a new stunt to bolster their scam séance business, they unknowingly bring authentic evil into their home. After a merciless spirit takes control of their youngest daughter, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and drive  her possessor back to the "other side."

         The franchise's first episode, "Ouija," opened Oct. 24, 2014 to $19.9 million and did $50.9 million domestically. It reportedly cost $5 million to produce.

         OCT. 28: Paramount and BenderSpink's horror thriller "Rings" is directed by F. Javier Gutierrez ("Before the Fall") and stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden and Laura Wiggins. It's the third film in "The Ring" series and reportedly was made for $33 million.

         In "Rings," Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) fears for her boyfriend, Holt (Alex Roe), after he watches a mysterious videotape that's said to kill those who view it seven days later.

         "The Ring," which reportedly cost $48 million to produce, opened Oct. 18, 2002 to $15 million and did $129.1 million domestically. It was a remake of the 1998 Japanese film "Ringu," and was directed by Hideo Nakata, who directed the Japanese original.

         "The Ring Two," an original story rather than a continuation of the first film's story, was also directed by Hideo Nakata. It opened Mar. 18, 2005 to $35.1 million and did $76.2 million domestically. It reportedly cost $50 million to produce.

         NOV. 11: EuropaCorp's "Shut In" may be more of a terrifying psychological thriller than a classic horror movie, but falls into the overall horror genre. Directed by Farren Blackburn ("Hammer of the Gods"), it stars Charlie Heaton, Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay.      Watts is well known to horror fans, having starred in "The Ring" and "The Ring Two." In "Shut In," she plays a widowed child psychologist living in an isolated part of New England. When a deadly winter storm hits, she must somehow rescue a young boy (Tremblay) before he disappears forever.

         DEC. 9: STX Entertainment and Intrepid Pictures' R rated horror thriller "The Bye Bye Man" is directed by Stacy Title ("Hood of Horror") and stars Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas. It reportedly cost $11 million to produce.

         It's the story of three college students who move into an old house off campus and unwittingly unleash a supernatural entity called The Bye Bye Man. After they learn his name, he begins to prey upon them. That leaves them to try to save each other while keeping his existence secret so others are spared the same deadly fate.

         Bottom line: Although horror can be a very profitable business, it's a genre whose appeal has built-in limitations that restrict its boxoffice upside.

         Hollywood's mainstream movies, on the other hand, can fly much higher. That was the case last weekend with Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and RatPac Entertainment's PG-13 rated biographical drama "Sully," which opened to a chart topping $35.5 million. It played best to adult women.

         Directed by four-time Oscar winning director Clint Eastwood, it stars Tom Hanks as heroic airline pilot Captain "Sully" Sullenberger, who in January 2009 glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.

         "Sully" helped propel the boxoffice year to date so that it's now about 5.7 percent ahead of last year, according to comScore -- $8.24 billion vs. $7.79 billion.

         This weekend should also reflect mainstream movie muscle as Universal, Studio Canal, Miramax and Working Title Films' R rated romantic comedy "Bridget Jones's Baby" arrives at about 2,900 theatres. It should play best to adult women.

         Directed by Sharon Maguire ("Bridget Jones's Diary"),  "Baby" stars Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey in the next chapter based on Helen Fielding's best selling novels about the world's favorite singleton.