In a summer filled with prequels, sequels and big-budget reboots, Paramount Pictures is hoping that an original concept film starring mostly unknown actors will be more than just a well-kept box office secret.
This weekend the studio will release “Super 8”, a film directed by JJ Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg about a group of young friends who witnessed a mysterious train crash in 1979. Paramount estimates the film will gross around $ 30 million. of dollars. his debut, which means he could be in a tight race for first place with last weekend’s # 1 movie, “X-Men: First Class”.
The previous installment of the “X-Men” franchise, 2009 “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” saw ticket sales drop 69% on its second weekend of release. If “First Class” has a more modest drop of around 50%, it might have a chance to beat “Super 8”.
Either way, the two films will net much more than the other new weekend release, “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer”. The children’s film, distributed by Relativity Media, is only expected to raise around $ 6 million, according to those who saw audience polls before release.
Before the weekend, the follow-up on “Super 8” was good but not great. Part of the reason, Paramount says, is that Abrams and the studio chose to keep much of the film’s plot a secret in its marketing campaign.
Instead of featuring a monster that ravages the city of Ohio in the film, the commercials for “Super 8” focused on the friendship between the young protagonists of the film who have an affinity for the cinema.
To create additional buzz ahead of the film’s opening, Paramount announced on Twitter this week that it will be hosting “Super 8” screenings at around 250 theaters nationwide on Thursday. The studio encourages those who attend the premieres to tweet about the film.
If the projections are correct, the film will still start well this weekend as Paramount spent around $ 50 million to produce the film. “Super 8” received positive reviews – but its ultimate success will depend on the strength of its word of mouth after its opening weekend.
While the film features a young ensemble cast, Paramount hopes it will also appeal to those in their 30s and 40s who see a similarity between “Super 8” and classic 80s films like “ET: The Extra- Terrestrial “,” The Goonies “and” Stand By Me “.
Based on author Megan McDonald’s eponymous book series, “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” about a third-grader in search of the best summer ever, should appeal to young girls – but not. In large numbers.
Luckily for Relativity, the company doesn’t have much to lose on the film, as it has stated that it has not invested any money in the production or marketing of the film.
Instead, Relativity received a fee from the film’s sole financier Smokewood Entertainment Group to market and distribute the film in the United States. Smokewood, the production company behind 2009’s “Precious”, paid nearly $ 20 million to make “Judy Moody”. [Correction, 3:52 p.m.: An earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to Smokewood Entertainment Group as Smokehouse Entertainment Group.]
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Word of mouth: “Super 8” seeks audience among summer tent poles
– Amy Kaufman
Top photo: Kyle Chandler, left, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning and Ron Eldard featured in “Super 8”.
Bottom photo: Heather Graham, left, and Jordana Beatty in “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer”.