Warner Bros. is about to find out if there’s another box-office gem in the “Ocean’s” saga. The Burbank-based studio this weekend will release its female-led reboot of the successful heist franchise, more than a decade after the most recent film in the star-studded series.
The new “Ocean’s 8,” starring Sandra Bullock and a team of women including Sarah Paulson and Cate Blanchett, probably will open at No. 1 at the box office in the U.S. and Canada and unseat Disney’s struggling “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
The question is whether the “Ocean’s” revival can become a global hit like its trio of predecessors, which collected a total of $1.1 billion in worldwide box-office receipts.
Rolling the dice again
“Ocean’s 8” is expected to open with roughly $35 million in the United States and Canada, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys. That would be a softer start than 2007’s “Ocean’s Thirteen,” which opened with $36 million on its way to a domestic total of $117 million.
The movie is a risky bet. “Ocean’s 8,” co-produced by Village Roadshow, has inevitably drawn comparisons with Sony Pictures’ female-focused “Ghostbusters” reboot, which sparked a sexist backlash online and disappointed at the box office. “Ocean’s 8” reportedly cost about $70 million to make.
Time Warner-owned Warner Bros. is hoping the “Ocean’s” films will still have international appeal, and that its crowded and diverse lineup of popular actresses (including Rihanna, Mindy Kaling and Anne Hathaway) will serve as a refreshing take on the series that relied on leading men such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. The 2001 “Ocean’s 11” was itself a remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra film.
The trilogy, directed by Steven Soderbergh, made more than 60% of their riches overseas, and international grosses have become even more important to Hollywood’s bottom line in the last 10 years. Directed by Gary Ross (“The Hunger Games”), “Ocean’s 8” features Bullock as a criminal who assembles a skilled crew to pull off a lucrative theft at the Met Gala in New York.
“Ocean’s” should have a clear path as “Solo” continues to slide. The latest “Star Wars” spinoff is expected to add about $15 million to its haul Friday through Sunday. “Solo” has made $264 million globally.
Can independents make a dent?
As “Ocean’s 8” battles “Solo,” two smaller movies will compete for audiences’ attention: A24’s acclaimed horror film “Hereditary” and Global Road Entertainment’s Jodie Foster action-thriller “Hotel Artemis.” Both are expected to gross $5 million to $9 million.
“Hereditary,” which features Toni Collette as a mother of two whose life spins terrifyingly out of control after the death of her own mom, boasts a 93% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes and made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Its opening is expected to be similar to A24’s artsy 2016 horror movie “The Witch,” which opened with nearly $9 million and ended up with $25 million from North America.