Who says adults don’t go to the movies?
Well, the numbers don’t entirely lie: Movies aimed at older audiences have largely struggled at the box office in the COVID era.In most cases, they no Go to the movies. But Sony’s “A Man Called Otto,” a heartwarming drama starring Tom Hanks as a curmudgeon widower, seemed to ignore that by opening to $12.6 million in 3,802 theaters in North America. a possibility. It is expected to gross $15 million during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and $21.2 million domestically after two weeks of limited release. That’s a better-than-expected result, at least in the pandemic era.
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With a $50 million budget, will “Otto” maintain its theatrical appeal throughout the rest of the winter? This is far from conclusive. But box office watchers are already optimistic about Hanks’ latest big-screen adventure.
David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy, classified the opening weekend as “above average” for the genre. “It’s a really good start to a character-driven comedy, and the older fans turned out well,” he said. “When these types of films are connected, they can keep going — and that’s already starting to happen.”
Only a handful of adult films, such as “Where the Crayfish Sing” ($17 million), “Elvis” ($31 million), “The Queen” ($19 million) and “Don’t Worry, Honey” ($19.3 million) ) ), has been a box office success since March 2020.
This reality resulted in a lower bar for success than Hanks had at the box office. In another era, actors’ names appeared in movies ranging from war stories like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Bridge of Spies” to heart-warming dramas like “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia” to “Seattle” Romantic comedies like “Get the Mail” and “You,” the animated “Toy Story” franchise, and dozens of other memorable films in between — representing hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. box office returns. These days, it’s hard to imagine a studio green-lighting a more outlandish venture like “Forrest Gump,” let alone watching it climb to $678 million at the global box office. Indeed, times and tastes have changed dramatically.
So given the constraints a film like “Otto” faces, exhibitor relations analyst Jeff Bock reckons it “won the adult-slanted lottery.”
“In retrospect, Sony probably left money on the table. With ‘Babylon’ bombing, there’s definitely room for an adult-oriented drama in the holiday frame,” Bock said, referring to Paramount’s big The budget Hollywood epic, which has done well over the Christmas period, has only made $14 million so far. “That said, when a critically acclaimed film — especially a genre that’s been overlooked for too long — opens in a depressed market, audiences usually show up.”
Sony originally planned to release “A Man Called Otto” nationwide around Christmas, which is traditionally a prime time for feel-good movies. But the studio changed its mind several times, pushing the debut to Dec. 14 before canceling the national premiere entirely. Instead, “Otto” opened in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 30 before expanding its footprint nationwide on January 13.
With its platform release, “Otto” becomes one of the few pandemic-era films targeting an adult audience that has effectively maintained its momentum. Despite positive reviews and a potential Oscar, Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age story “The Fabermans,” Cate Blanchett’s “Tar” and Sarah Polley’s timely Fables like “Women Speak” — none of which grossed more than $15 million domestically — have failed to bring older audiences (or none at all) to theaters recently.
Sony’s unconventional approach to the crowd-pleaser “Otto” is more mainstream and less like a prestige art show than other dramas. The studio still opens at its traditional four locations in New York City and Los Angeles, as is customary for platform releases. But in its second weekend in theaters, Sony brought the film to 637 venues, with a focus on heartland theaters, confident the heartwarming story will resonate deeply across the country, not just on the coast. By that Sunday, “Otto” had made $3.76 million and was No. 4 on the domestic box office chart, despite playing in significantly fewer theaters than its competitors. Ticket sales were particularly strong in Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix and Salt City, as well as Columbus, Minneapolis, Nashville and Milwaukee.
“It aired nationally and reflected the general appeal of Tom Hanks as a star,” said Comscore analyst Paul Degarabedian. “And the tone of the film has great appeal to all audiences.”
Audiences liked the film more than critics, resulting in an “A” CinemaScore for ticket buyers and an average critic score of 68% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Marc Forster directs A Man Called Otto, a follow-up to the 2015 Swedish film of the same name, based on Fredrik Backman’s 2012 The second film of the 2010 novel A Man Called Ove. Hanks plays Otto Anderson, a short-tempered man who falls into depression after the death of his wife. But his attitude begins to change after he forms an unexpected but life-changing friendship with a young family who moves next door. SF Studios and TSG co-financed the film.
Variety Chief film critic Owen Gleiberman wasn’t a fan of the film, but he praised Hanks’ cast.”We’ve seen this unruly grump many times before,” he wrote. “But with the right cast and the right script, it’s a formula […] Audiences never tire of it – there’s no question that Hanks is the right actor for the role. “
Now, movie theater owners hope he’s still the right actor to fill his seat.
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