U.N.C.L.E. expected to have lowest spy opening of 2015

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is expected to have the lowest U.S. opening weekend of 2015 spy movies, according to A STORY BY THE WRAP ENTERTAINMENT NEWS WEBSITE.

The Wrap doesn’t couch its story exactly that way. Instead, the website’s story focuses on the box office prospects of Straight Outta Compton. Here’s an excerpt:

But it’s clear that the fan base for N.WA. — an acronym for Niggaz Wit Attitudes — is mobilized, and analysts say that alone will drive a box office debut north of $30 million, enough to dethrone Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” when Universal Pictures rolls it out in 2,751 theaters on Friday. The Guy Ritchie-directed “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” an action film starring “Superman” star Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer based on the 1970s TV show, is projected debut in the high-teen millions.

Translation: The U.N.C.L.E. movie is projected to have an opening weekend under $20 million, while Straight Outta Compton will exceed $30 million. For the record, the U.N.C.L.E. television series ran 1964-68, but that doesn’t change how the movie version isn’t seen as doing well at the box office.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation had an opening weekend of $55.5 million (the initial estimate was $56 million).

Taken 3’s opening weekend was $39.2 million, Kingsman: The Secret Service’s was $36.2 million and the comedy Spy’s was $29.1 million.

The No. 1 spy movie all along has been projected to be SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film. SPECTRE is coming off Skyfall, which had worldwide box office exceeding $1 billion in 2012.

If the projections for U.N.C.L.E. are correct, it will trail last weekend’s Fantastic Four movie, widely seen as a flop with $25.7 million.

Fantastic Four was a more expensive movie than U.N.C.L.E. and its $75 million production budget. But that’s a subtle fact that tends to get lost in stories about the weekend box office.

Ian Fleming, without whom, etc.

Our annual post.

On the 51st anniversary of the author’s death, this headline has a double meaning.

Obviously, without Ian Fleming there would be no James Bond novels and thus no James Bond movies.

What’s more, had Fleming not written Thrilling Cities, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. wouldn’t have occurred. Television producer Norman Felton originally was contacted about trying to turn that book into a series. Felton didn’t see a series but ad-libbed a pitch. That led to meetings in late October 1962 between Felton and Fleming in New York.

In the end, there’s not a whole lot of Fleming in U.N.C.L.E. But he was still a catalyst for the show and without that series, there’d be no movie coming out this weekend.

Fleming-obit