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Will EON's 'The Rhythm Section' succeed?

29-Jan-2020 • Bond News

EON Productions' most high-profile 'non-Bond' film is about to open in cinemas. 'The Rhythm Section,' based on the best-selling book by Mark Burnell, has had a somewhat tortured production journey.

It was announced that EON had partnered with Paramount Pictures to secure the rights to the book back in August 2017. Production began in December 2017 in Ireland but was then halted when the film's lead Blake Lively suffered an injury. Production picked back up in June 2018.  That delay pushed back the original release date of February 22nd, 2019 to November 22nd, 2019. Unexpectedly, the film was delayed yet again to January 31, 2020.

With a reported production budget of $50m, the film will probably need to take $150m at the worldwide box-office to be profitable. Launching an 'R' rated thriller in January is an uphill struggle. A lot of its success depends on how much marketing budget Paramount is putting behind the film. Which appears to be not a lot. The official Twitter account for the film, which has been releasing content in the run-up to its debut, has only 613 followers at the time of writing.

Another worry is that there are no critics reviews for the film yet, even though it opens in theatres in two days. Other films releasing this week have already screened for the press and have initial Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic ratings - the latest barometers favoured by audiences and studios alike. Not screening for the press is usually a red flag that the studio isn't confident of good reviews, but given this film's arduous journey to the screen, the promotional playbook may have been ripped up.

Up against the film in US cinemas this week will be strong holder-overs from Sony's 'Bad Boys For Life' and Universal's '1917.' And there is the small matter of the Super Bowl on Sunday, which will decimate theatre takings.

Long-range box-office forecasts suggest a similar performance to Jennifer Garner’s 'Peppermint' which saw a $10-$15 million opening and a $35-$45 million domestic finish. But some industry analysts have pegged its opening weekend as low as $8m.

By Monday morning we will know if EON's new franchise has any future beyond one film.

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