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“Ocean’s 8” Steals Franchise Record With $41.5M Opening

“Ocean’s 8” Steals Franchise Record With $41.5M Opening

Ocean’s 8 is sailing in with a $41.5M opening, still the best debut for the franchise and a solid start for what will be a good piece of counter-programming in the event-filled marketplace.

When it comes to gender-swapping an established franchise, it’s also safe to say that Ocean’s 8 is a win, even though the movie is opening lower than Sony’s femme reboot of Ghostbusters ($46M). That’s primarily because Ocean’s 8 isn’t a geek nostalgia franchise like many ’80s pics. The brand doesn’t possess that preciousness, and therefore inherently avoided any negative naysay. In addition, the Ocean movies, even when they starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, were driven by female audiences, so changing-up this installment to Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, etc. was not only a smart and natural progression in continuing to stoke the audience, but carried little risk conceptually. As we wrote in the previous update, Ocean’s 8 is a great play for female crowds, with a female empowerment take on a franchise they already enjoy.

Financially speaking, 2016’s Ghostbusters will always look like a dog when compared to Ocean’s 8: The former cost more than twice the Gary Ross-directed caper (est. $70M) and had zero overseas prospects in its branding since emerging overseas markets aren’t acquainted with the property. Since the previous Ocean movies played during this millennium, plus the fact that foreign audiences already have a long familiarity with Bullock, the overseas voyage for Ocean’s 8 should be bountiful.

It was Ross who sparked to the idea of a gender-swap in the Ocean‘s series and pitched it to the franchise’s longtime producer, Steven Soderbergh. The two friends have unofficially collaborated on many projects over the years. Ross even suggested Bullock as the lead, and together with Soderbergh, they took the idea to the late legendary producer Jerry Weintraub, who also worked on the Ocean movies, who made the call to the Oscar-winning actress. Ross hadn’t written with a collaborator since his first screeplay Big, and turned to David Milch’s daughter, Olivia Milch, to infuse a female voice in the caper and set it apart from the other Ocean movies.