In one corner, a star-studded murder mystery from one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors. In the other, a family fable featuring a CGI crocodile that looks a lot like Shawn Mendes. As Hollywood heads for another quiet fall weekend at the box office, David O. Russell’s “Amsterdam” takes on “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” and both new releases face stiff competition from the defending champion “Smile”.
Of the two newcomers, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” seems to be in a strong position. There haven’t been many movies aimed at kids – the last one was “DC League of Super-Pets” in July. The $50 million production will open in more than 4,300 locations, where it is expected to gross $15 million or more. Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film, is more conservative and projects an opening of around $11-12 million. That could be enough for a top spot, depending on the steep drop in “Smile,” which opened at $22.6 million, in its second weekend of release.
“Amsterdam,” an $80 million period piece from 20th Century Studios and New Regency, had seemed like an awards season juggernaut. After all, Russell is a five-time Oscar nominee, which featured hits like “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” With “Amsterdam”, he commandeered a cast that included the likes of Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington and Taylor Swift. But all that buzz went up in smoke as soon as critics took a look at the film. Reviews have been fierce, with the film languishing at 32% on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote that audiences are “likely to ask: ‘What’s going on?’ for the bulk of 134 minutes. Bad reviews are expected to take a bite out of those box office receipts, with ‘Amsterdam’ eyeing a $10 million opening weekend. It will screen in more than 3,000 theaters. , including 390 Imax auditoriums and more than 700 high-end large format screens.
It’s shaping up to be a lackluster weekend at multiplexes, which is bad news for theater owners who could use a few big hits. “Black Adam” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” can’t come soon enough.