Notes from seeing “Lucy” last night. It’s refreshing that every once in a while a moviegoer is expected to actually THINK in an action movie, especially during the summer. I mean, how dare Luc Besson!? The nerve of the French! The film is less of a shoot-em-up, though there is plenty of that, but more of a mind-bend, almost in a David Cronenberg/Funny,-I-don’t-remember-consuming-funky-mushrooms, kind of way. There’s even a brief “2001: A Space Odyssey” moment not far from the end. WTF? In a summer popcorn movie? What is this industry coming to, I ask you? All of this deviation from the action film norm would understandably account for the film’s C+ Cinemascore (post-screening men’s room comments seemed to concur with the C+ rating), so as I said yesterday, look for a quick burn on the film, that is unless Johansson’s character allows the film to expand its appeal to a female audience which wouldn’t normally come to a high octane action offering. Also, look for International prospects to be through the roof as Scar Jo and Morgan are the only two American actors in the movie. But make no mistake, Luc Besson has provided a thinking person’s actioner and isn’t that desperately needed these days?
And as a final footnote, yes I do know the movie isn’t grounded in exact science so please don’t add comments below, lecturing me on how the movie misrepresented the basics of molecular cell reproduction. I get it, you paid attention during Biology 101 and I did not.
Domestic box office desperately needed a jolt this weekend and lo and behold Scarlett Johansson came to the rescue as Universal’s “Lucy” opens to a surprisingly strong $44 million. Hats off to Josh Goldstine and everyone in the Universal marketing department for the handling of the film, taking what amounts to “The Professional”-On-Molly and turning it into a down-the-middle summer action movie hit. Moviegoers wanted a strong female lead and Scarlett is terrific in the role and having Morgan Freeman along for the ride never hurts, even if he and Scar Jo barely have any scenes together.
Elsewhere, Paramount’s “Hercules” slightly outperformed expectations with a $29 million weekend. Toss in another $29 million opening overseas in only 10 markets and it’s a good start for the Dwayne Johnson rocker, which has a long way to go before it turns a profit. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final starring outing, “A Most Wanted Man”, surprisingly cracked the top 10 for Roadside Attractions, “Boyhood” continues its magical limited run and Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” opened to acceptable numbers.
STUDIO ESTIMATE TOP 10
1) LUCY—UNIVERSAL—$44.0 MILLION
2) HERCULES—PARAMOUNT—$29.0 MILLION
3) DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES—FOX—$16.4 MILLION—DOWN 54%—$172 MILLION CUME
4) THE PURGE: ANARCHY—$9.8 MILLION—DOWN 66%—$51 MILLION CUME
5) PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE—BUENA VISTA—$9.3 MILLION—DOWN 46%—$35 MILLION CUME
6) SEX TAPE—SONY—$6.0 MILLION—DOWN 59%—$26 MILLION CUME
7) TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION—PARAMOUNT—$4.6 MILLION—DOWN 53%—$236 MILLION CUME
8) AND SO IT GOES—CLARIUS—$4.5 MILLION
9) TAMMY—WARNER BROTHERS—$3.4 MILLION—DOWN 54%—$78 MILLION CUME
10) A MOST WANTED MAN–RSA—$2.7 MILLION
OUTSIDE THE TOP 10…
IFC’s “Boyhood” continued its amazing run, grossing $1.7 million in 107 theatres for a $16,100 per screen average. The film further expands this coming weekend. Open Road’s “The Fluffy Movie” topped off at $1.3 million in only 432 theatres, plus their “Chef” is now over $27 million ($27.2 to be exact). Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” opened to a just-ok $426,000 from its first 17 theatres.