Tag: African-American thrillers

Sanaa Lathan Thriller “The Perfect Guy” Takes 1st Place at Weekend Box Office with $26.7 Million

the-perfect-guy

Thriller “The Perfect Guy” narrowly beat out horror film “The Visit” for first place at the weekend box office, picking up a leading $26.7 million.

“The Visit,” M. Night Shyamalan’s return to the shock and chills genre that made him famous with “The Sixth Sense,” was close behind with a sterling $25.7 million. Going into the weekend, both films were expected to pull in between $15 million and $17 million.

“The Perfect Guy” has more than doubled its $12 million budget in a single weekend, putting it on a path to profitability. The story of a successful lobbyist (Sanaa Lathan) who rebounds from a breakup by embarking on a new relationship with a Mr. Wrong (Michael Ealy) was backed by Sony’s ScreenGems division. The studio had a similar success on the same weekend last year when “No Good Deed,” a thriller with Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, debuted to $24.2 million.

“It’s ideal timing, because there’s not a lot of competition in the marketplace and you can really stand out with a slightly lower [ad] spend,” said Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Sony.

In order to bring in its audience while keeping costs at a minimum, the studio aggressively went after African-American moviegoers. It launched a BET Awards takeover for “The Perfect Guy” and also debuted a customized trailer to appear alongside “Straight Outta Compton” that was wordless save for a sultry rendition of “I Put a Spell On You.”

“We wanted to sell it as a sexy, taut thriller,” said Greenstein. The picture marks the first ScreenGems title he has handled the marketing campaign for since he was brought over to Sony from Paramount Pictures in 2014.

article by Brent Lang via Variety.com

 

Kerry Washington to Star in Warner Bros. Thriller “Unforgettable”

Kerry Washington Starring in Unforgettable
Kerry Washington (AMY GRAVES/GETTY IMAGES)

“Scandal” actress Kerry Washington is in talks to star in the Warner Bros. thriller “Unforgettable,” sources confirm. The deal is still in the early stages but sources say both sides are determined to get a deal worked out.

“Belle” director Amma Asante is set to direct the film, which centers on a man whose new wife is menaced by his ex-wife. Warner Bros.-based Denise DiNovi is producing with partner Alison Greenspan. Christina Hodson is writing the script for “Unforgettable.”

article by Justin Kroll via Variety.com

Chadwick Boseman to Star in Thriller “Message From the King”

Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman (JASON KEMPIN/GETTY IMAGES)

Before he suits up to play Marvel’s Black PantherChadwick Boseman will star as a man seeking vengeance in the Ink Factory and EOne thriller “Message From the King.”

Fabrice Du Welz is set to direct from a script by Stephen Cornwell and Oliver Butcher. The movie follows a man from South Africa who comes to Los Angeles to avenge the death of his sister.

Boseman’s star has been on a fast rise after he logged starring roles in the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” and played music legend James Brown this year in “Get On Up.” His lead role in Marvel’s upcoming “Black Panther” will further boost his profile.  Boseman will next be seen in “Gods of Egypt.”

article by Justin Kroll via Variety.com

Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba Thriller “No Good Deed” Earns Top Spot at Box Office with $24.5 Million Weekend

Taraji P Henson, Taraji P HensonIdris Elba, Idris Elba

“No Good Deed” lead the box office this weekend by taking in $24.5 million from 2,175 theaters, easily beating expectations.  Going into the weekend, analysts expected the home invasion thriller to hover around $20 million. Females made up the bulk of the audience, taking up 60% of the seats in theaters, and 41% of ticket-buyers were under 30 years old.

“It’s not a full reversal of the weakness at the box office, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “It’s good to see new films enter the marketplace and do all right.”

“No Good Deed’s” success is a feather in the cap of stars Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, both of whom actively hawked the film on social media.

“They absolutely elevated it,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution. “They’re so hard working. It was a great collaboration.”

It also helps that “No Good Deed” cost a mere $13 million to produce.  “It’s going to be hugely successful for the studio,” said Bruer.

Both actors will likely see their stars rise as a result. Elba has had showy supporting roles in “Thor” and “Prometheus,” but hasn’t carried a film to these kind of heights on his own shoulders since 2009’s “Obsessed.” He retains a passionate following from his days playing a drug kingpin on HBO’s “The Wire.”

Henson has an Oscar nomination on her resumé thanks to 2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and was part of the “Think Like a Man” ensemble, but hasn’t been front-and-center in a promotional campaign like she was here.

“I wouldn’t call them full on movie stars in their own right,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and analyst with BoxOffice.com. “They’re not bankable on their own terms, but this could certainly change that. Sometimes all it takes is one film.”

The concept of movie stardom has taken its knocks in recent years, as Hollywood has tried and failed to launch a new generation of A-listers to rival the Tom Cruises and Julia Roberts of an earlier era. The old days where an actor’s name above the title was enough to guarantee a big opening weekend have vanished. However, pairing the right actor with the right vehicle can still reap dividends, as evidenced by Liam Neeson’s success playing avenging angels and Melissa McCarthy’s track record with R-rated comedies.

“Taraji and Idris are terrific actors and they both so own their roles in this film,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution. “In spots and trailers, they delivered such a great intensity. It’s a terrific opening.”

Sony didn’t rely on star power alone to sell “No Good Deed.” It also orchestrated a clever social media campaign that unspooled across Twitter and Instagram.

On Twitter, the studio put a fresh spin on the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, presenting users with a set of challenges that dared them to outwit a murderer. For fans of Instagram, Sony created an interactive experience made up of images and videos that teased out parts of the film’s plot. That’s cheaper and potentially more potent than a costly television campaign.

“In this new world we live in, you want to be aggressive, and there are more means to do that and interact directly with fans than ever before,” said Contrino.

article by Brent Lang via variety.com (additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson)

Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Thriller “No Good Deed” Easily Dominates at Friday Box Office

No-Good-Deed-poster

According to Variety.com, Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson’s “No Good Deed,” is poised to knock box-office leader “Guardians of the Galaxy” out of first place this weekend. The Sony Pictures thriller opened to $8.8 million Stateside on Friday and is headed for a $24 to $25 million launch that will provide a much-needed boost to the historically low U.S. box office earnings.

“No Good Deed” stars Elba as an escaped convict who terrorizes Henson (a DA-turned-stay-at-home) and her two children in their own house.

The film, which carries a modest $13 million production budget, stands to benefit from targeting under-served African American audiences. It reunites Elba with his “Luther” TV show director, Sam Miller, and “Obsessed” producer, Will Packer, who is also behind the “Think Like a Man” franchise, which stars Henson. Lee Clay co-produced with Packer.

Alcon Entertainment’s “Dolphin Tale 2”, which stars Morgan Freeman, also kicked past the competition with $4.3 million on Friday. The family film will likely debut to $15 million.

If weekend estimates hold, the sequel will be a bit behind the 2011 original, which opened to $19.2 million, then went on to earn $72.3 million domestic. Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Freeman, and Kris Kristofferson all returned for the sequel, along with director Charles Martin Smith.

This year’s box office champ and summer savior, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” made $2 million on Friday to place third after three consecutive wins. It’s set to gross $7.5 million by Sunday and pass $305 million.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)