Last Stop for MGM: ‘Amityville’
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The historic and no longer independent MGM will take a final bow this weekend without any direct competition in the marketplace.
Friday (April 15) marks the debut of the remake “The Amityville Horror,” the last wide release to be managed solely by MGM’s distribution team and the first MGM-produced film to count as part of Sony Pictures’ market share as Sony takes over distribution of MGM titles. The film also is a co-production with Miramax’s Dimension Films.
Based on the best-seller by Jay Anson, the remake from director Andrew Douglas follows the Lutz family, who move into their dream home only to find that demonic forces reside there too. Screenwriter Scott Kosar also wrote 2003’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” the film “Amityville” is most closely modeling itself on as it aims for opening-weekend grosses.
But while “Chainsaw” opened to $28 million before going on to earn $80 million, industry insiders believe the R-rated “Amityville” should scare up closer to $20 million, though it might climb into the mid-$20 million range. Like “Chainsaw,” this “Amityville” comes from Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, which produced along with Ted Field’s Radar Pictures. Commercial and music video director Douglas is making his feature film debut.
The 1979 original, starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder, opened to $7.8 million on 748 screens before grossing $86 million. The remake features up-and-coming actors Ryan Reynolds (“Blade: Trinity”) and Melissa George (“Down With Love,” “Mulholland Drive”). It will bow in 3,323 theaters and should easily take hold of the No. 1 spot.
The other films opening this weekend are all in limited release.
Lions Gate will bow two films this frame. “State Property 2,” from rap impresario Damon Dash, is an R-rated film revolving around three gangsters who vie for control of the streets of Philadelphia. Dash directs and stars in the film, which will bow in 202 theaters. The original, released in 2002, made $2 million.
The company’s other release is David Duchovny’s directorial debut, “House of D.” The film, which was screened at ShoWest and last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, opens on two screens in Los Angeles and New York. Starring Duchovny, wife Tea Leoni and Robin Williams, “House of D” centers on Duchovny’s character, who is seen in flashback as a teenager and begins working through problems stemming from his past.
Subversive director Todd Solondz (“Welcome to the Dollhouse,” “Storytelling”) is back with his fourth film, “Palindromes,” and is likely to polarize audiences again. This time around, Solondz tells the story of 12-year-old Aviva, played by a handful of actresses, who runs away from home after her parents force her to have an abortion and ends up in the hands of several abusers. The unrated film, from Wellspring Media, bowed Wednesday in New York. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ellen Barkin co-star.
Fine Line Features also will bow one of its last films, the documentary “The Year of the Yao,” before it is swallowed up by the newly formed company run by Bob Berney and featuring the production assets of HBO and New Line/Fine Line. The uplifting story follows a year in the life of Yao Ming, the basketball star who left China and his career with the Shanghai Sharks to become the first pick in the 2002 NBA draft. The PG-rated documentary from directors Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern opens Friday on 12 screens.
Freestyle Releasing will bow “Down and Derby” Friday on 58 screens. The film, from director Eric Hendershot, centers on Phil Davis (Greg Germann), your average dad-next-door, who becomes obsessed with his son’s Pinewood Derby competition. Lauren Holly and Pat Morita co-star in one of Freestyle’s first releases as a distributor.
Bye, bye MGM! It was great knowing you!
Last Stop for MGM: ‘Amityville’