Paramount Live-Action Family Comedy ‘IF’ Looking to Supplant ‘Apes’ at Weekend Box Office

Paramount Pictures’ live-action and animated fantasy comedy IF is looking to generate $34 million in revenue across more than 4,000 North American screens through May 19. The tally, which includes $1.75 million in Thursday screenings, could be enough to supplant reigning box office champ, 20th Century’s Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, to the runner-up position with a projected $26 million in second-weekend ticket sales ($173 million globally), according to new data from

Written by, directed by and co-starring John Krasinski, IF follows a young girl (Cailey Fleming) who can see everyone’s imaginary friends, and then sets out to connect them with their favorite IFs. The movie also stars Ryan Reynolds and an extensive voice-cast that includes Steve Carell, Matt Damon, Jon Stewart, Emily Blunt, Maya Rudolph, Sam Rockwell, Sebastian Maniscalco, Christopher Meloni, Richard Jenkins, Awkwafina, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the late Louis Gossett Jr., Alan Kim and Liza Colón-Zayas.

The new Lionsgate horror release The Strangers: Chapter 1 opened with $1.2 million in Thursday preview screenings. The film opens across 2,856 screens in North America with a projected $9 million opening tally. In the film, after their car breaks down in a small town, a young couple (Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez) are forced to spend the night in a remote cabin. Panic ensues as they are terrorized by three masked strangers who strike with no mercy and seemingly no motive.

Close behind, former box office No. 1 Universal Pictures’ The Fall Guy — starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt — should add $8.9 million in ticket sales to ups its North American tally past $62 million ($116 million globally).

Focus Features’ Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black, starring Marisa Abela as the troubled, late singer, is projected to open at No. 4 over the weekend with $3.9 million in ticket sales across more than 2,000 North American screens.

Other box office returnees include Amazon MGM Studios’ tennis romance triangle Challengers (projected $2.6 million for the weekend), Screen Gems horror film Tarot ($1.7 million), Warner Bros. Pictures’ Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire ($1.55 million) and Lionsgate’s Unsung Hero ($1.45 million).

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Disney Brass Surprised at Fox Studio Underperformance

Back when Rupert Murdoch weighed in on 21st Century Fox fiscal calls, the senior media mogul was quick to praise the success of movies such as Avatar and Planet of the Apes. He was also quick to dismiss box office misses as part of a studio’s rollercoaster existence.

The fickle nature of theatrical releases in an age of over-the-top video, ultimately, is one of the reasons Murdoch put Fox Studio up for sale along with other media assets.

Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. was in part for the studio’s catalog, majority ownership of Hulu and future box office releases.

Apparently, Disney CEO Bob Iger and CFO Christine McCarthy weren’t prepared for a fiscal downturn at Fox Studio so soon after completion of the acquisition earlier this year.

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On the Aug. 6 fiscal call McCarthy disclosed that Fox posted a third-quarter (ended June 29) operating loss of $170 million — the opposite of a projected $180 million operating profit.

“One of the biggest issues we faced in the quarter was the performance of the Fox film business,” Iger said. “It was well below what it had been and well below what we thought it would be when we did the acquisition.”

Disney was quick to lay the blame on Dark Phoenix, whose reported $200 million production budget dwarfed its $65.8 million domestic box office. The film did generate more than $252 million internationally.

“I know what happens when a company gets bought,” Iger said, “Typically, operations and decision making comes to a halt. We avoided that when we acquired Pixar and Lucasfilm, but this was a very different position for Fox.”

Indeed, Disney announced the Fox deal in 2018, but the transaction wasn’t finalized until this March. While Fox will likely bounce back theatrically (Iger has high hopes for Ford vs. Ferrari), in the meantime, Disney’s theatrical prowess shows no sign of slowing.

With Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm content overperforming, Disney has generated a record $8 billion at the box office thus far in 2019.

Fox Bows Anniversary Editions of ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Sandlot’

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is celebrating milestone anniversaries for 1968’s Planet of the Apes and 1993’s The Sandlot.

Feb. 6 saw the release of Planet of the Apes: 50th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, with special features including a behind the scenes documentary, “Beyond the Forbidden Zone” adventure game, original make-up tests, original on-site footage, and audio commentaries by key actors and cast. The digital versions, available through online retailers and Movies Anywhere, offer an exclusive new 50th anniversary bonus feature.

The Sandlot: 25th Anniversary Collector Edition arrives on Blu-ray March 27. Set in the early 1960s, the film follows a group of friends in a magical summer of baseball and other adventures. The gift set includes 10 custom Topps baseball cards — featuring Scotty Smalls, Benny “The Jet” and the rest of the ragtag roster — created exclusively for the release. It also includes an all-new booklet filled with behind-the-scenes photos from the film director’s personal archive, and an all-new, full-color poster. Extras include a featurette, theatrical trailer and TV spots.