Tavern Talk: Video Review - AD ASTRA & RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

What an odd weekend this was as over at Tavern Talk as we delivered two new video reviews and yet neither movie we discussed topped the weekend box office as Downton Abbey had a record weekend for Focus Features in that not only did the spin-off film top the weekend box office, but it became the studio's largest opener ever with just over $30 million domestic. Having never seen a single episode of the television series I didn't even consider it as an option as far as viewing for fear of being completely lost or reviewing (given I had zero point of reference), but instead was laser focused on the latest Brad Pitt feature from director James Gray (The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z) in Ad Astra while one of our producers and his dad enjoyed (or seemed to) the latest (and presumably last?) Rambo flick from Sylvester Stallone appropriately titled Last Blood. It was in second place where we would find these two films as they battled it out for the silver medal. Second place was neck-and-neck for most of the weekend, but it was Disney's release of the Fox-produced Ad Astra that ultimately edged out Lionsgate and Millennium's Rambo: Last Blood. After Monday actuals came in it was finally determined that Ad Astra in fact finished with just over $19 million from 3,460 locations whereas Rambo came up just short of that with $18.9 million from 3,618 theaters.

While this was somewhat good if not necessarily mostly expected news for all parties involved it is worth noting that Ad Astra was made for anywhere between $80-100+ million while Last Blood was made for a reported $50 million. Internationally, Ad Astra opened in forty-four markets and pulled in an additional $26 million for a $45.2 million global debut. Last Blood's international prospects weren't as lofty though, playing in only ten territories to the tune of just over $2.5 million. The good news for both films is that next weekend’s only new wide release, DreamWorks and Universal’s Abominable, is an animated family film that won't serve as direct competition to either film giving both movies another week to gain some traction before Joker opens on October 4th and takes a hefty number of screens and more than a fair portion of their target audience. Speaking of, Ad Astra received a "B-" CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences that were 54% male and 73% over the age of twenty-five as Last Blood was given a "B" CinemaScore with an audience that was 66% male. Nonetheless, a final gross of around $85 million domestic and $210 million globally is a reasonable expectation for the Brad Pitt space adventure while less is expected of Stallone's other iconic character given 2008's Rambo earned $18.2 million in its opening weekend eleven years ago and went on to garner a $42 million final domestic haul. This might look like a fair improvement, but that film opened in a thousand less locations and all of these numbers are of course sans inflation. Still, a domestic finish on par with the previous installment is likely. Anyway-be sure to check out both new reviews below as well as follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

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