Burt was beaten badly by Sony/TriStar’s new Troika/WWE Studios pickup starring Halle Berry, The Call (2,507 theaters). It shocked Hollywood for 2nd place and earned a ‘B+’ Cinema with $6.2M forFriday box office and $6.8M Saturday for a $17.1M first weekend. Even though the low-budget kidnap thriller is playing in 653 fewer locations. “Huge credit to Halle and all her hard work,” a Sony exec gushes.
Grosses are coming in higher than expected by Sony which acquired U.S., Canada and a few other territories like South Africa and Scandinavia. The film was produced for mere mid-teens. That said, its plot was a lot like 2004′sCellular starring Kim Basinger and Chris Evans only with the roles reversed. This time, kidnap victim Abigail Breslin is young and Veteran 911 operator Berry is tracking her down.
Naturally Sony’s media campaign targeted females as well as the African American audience. TV ads ran on crime/thriller shows but also The Bachelor and Army Wives while Berry pulled out all the talk show stops. The campaign began early with a teaser trailer on Yahoo in January. There also was an online game called ‘You Make the Call’ which put users in the 911 operator’s chair. Brad Anderson (The Machinist) directed the screenplay written by Richard D’Ovidio.