Los Angeles Times reporter John Horn takes a look at the box-office prospects for “Red,” Summit Entertainment’s very loose adaptation of the Warren Ellis three-issue comics miniseries. The film opens Friday. Here’s an excerpt:
When producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura shopped “Red” around town a couple of years back, every studio but one passed on the movie. The reasons for rejection were consistent: They already had other films about the CIA, the source material (an obscure graphic novel by Warren Ellis) was overly dark, and the characters were too elderly.
That final excuse has turned into “Red’s” strongest selling point, as older movie-goers — and perhaps more than a few younger ticket buyers — are poised to push the Bruce Willis action-comedy toward a first-place finish this weekend.
Premiering in theaters two months after Sylvester Stallone‘s over-the-hill ensemble yarn, “The Expendables,“ generated robust business of nearly $250 million worldwide, Summit Entertainment’s “Red” is sparking so much early interest from audience members in their 40s and 50s that it could challenge Paramount’s “Jackass 3-D“ for the top box-office spot, with each film estimated to gross more than $20 million.
While Summit and Di Bonaventura have yet to move forward with a sequel, the movie that almost nobody wanted to make could soon become a franchise — not a bad outcome for a principal cast that includes two people in their 50s, three in their 60s, one in his 70s and 93-year-old Ernest Borgnine. “To me, it’s all about attitude. It’s not about age,” says Di Bonaventura. “This movie is fun, irreverent and action-packed …”
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– John Horn
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