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Netflix debuts ‘The Gray Man’, its most expensive film ever

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Yahoo Finance's Allie Canal discusses the latest box office news including expectations for Jordan Peele's 'Nope' and Netflix's 'The Gray Man' movie.

Video Transcript

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BRIAN CHEUNG: The box office seeing a nice rebound this summer. The latest tentpole film being Jordan Peele's "Nope," set to debut this weekend. "Nope" will compete with Netflix's "The Gray Man," which is out today, as the streaming giants lean into A-list titles. Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal here with the latest. How do you expect "Nope" to do, given the fact that we've still seen some of those earlier summer releases still topping the charts?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, "Nope" is expected to deliver some pretty sizable results for the box office, around $45 million for the weekend. We've seen some of those middle-tier movies, like "Elvis," do pretty well. And I think just the general appeal of Jordan Peele is going to drive this movie home. And there's just so much to watch this weekend. I always love when we have a Friday with a ton of content. You mentioned "The Gray Man." That film is also expected to make a big splash.

But let's take a look at some of these reviews because critics have not been too kind to "The Gray Man," that action film starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. It has just a 50% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Nope," meanwhile, has an 81% critic rating, with some calling it a, quote, "sci-fi spectacular." So I do have to say that not all is lost for "The Gray Man" because the audience score is a lot higher at 90%.

And Netflix really hopes that that will drive word of mouth to make this title a hit. Because at $200 million, this is the most expensive film for the streaming giant ever. The platform committed a really big amount of money to marketing this film with TV ad spots and billboards. And if it's a success, the Russo brothers said that they would turn this into a franchise and make more films in "The Gray Man" universe. It's really what Netflix wants to do as it looks to compete with the likes of Disney+, which we know heavily relies on "Star Wars" and a lot of those Marvel films.

Now, "Gray Man" will have a very, very limited release in theaters, only about 450 cinemas. And after we saw that second straight quarter of subscriber declines for Netflix, analysts have wondered if this could be a strategy that the streamer would really lean into moving forward, releasing some of those bigger budget titles at the box office. Of course, we'll get those total hours viewed for the weekend on Tuesday. So we'll have to see how "The Gray Man" ultimately performs.

AKIKO FUJITA: Allie, one of these days, we're going to have a conversation. I have a bone to pick on Rotten Tomatoes and how much we rely on the critics' recommendations there, but another conversation. "The Gray Man" itself, you talked about the limited release in theaters. And I was surprised to see Netflix really pushing the streaming side of it at a time when we've seen so many movies go straight to the theaters, kind of what we saw pre-pandemic.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Right, and I was a little bit surprised about this too. And a lot of analysts have questioned whether or not there needs to be a bigger type of release in theaters specifically in order to just drum up that word of mouth. Even if we think about a film like "CODA," for example, which did end up winning Best Picture, it was huge on Apple TV+, some analysts have told me, you know what, that film probably could have done even better if it had a wider release in theaters.

And when we talk specifically about streamers really committing to movies, I think that strategy still needs to be tested a little bit, right? Because a lot of these streaming platforms like Netflix, for example, they've heavily relied on shows and series like "Stranger Things" because that guarantees you a pretty significant amount of growth after you release each season. Movies, that's just kind of a one-off thing. So I think that's why there's been so much emphasis on "The Gray Man" specifically and possibly turning that into a franchise because we know that's what Netflix ultimately wants.

BRIAN CHEUNG: All right, Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal, thanks so much for the breakdown there. You have beef with Rotten Tomatoes?

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, I don't know, I don't always agree with it. I feel like so many people say, oh, it's 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I don't really like the show.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, there's critics-- well, there's the critics and then there's--

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, there's critics, and there's the audience, yes. The critics part is what-- well, maybe it's actually the audience. I'm a little confused. I need to go back and check to see--

BRIAN CHEUNG: Which one's what.

AKIKO FUJITA: --what number I'm looking at. I just don't feel like I always agree with it.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah. Well, I mean, but do you check, though, before you watch a movie as, like, it has--

AKIKO FUJITA: No, I don't.

BRIAN CHEUNG: --to have a good rating?

AKIKO FUJITA: I don't.

BRIAN CHEUNG: OK.

AKIKO FUJITA: No, I don't. I watch it, and then I think, I really liked it. What was it on Rotten Tomatoes? So that's not my guiding light, per se. But I don't know.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, well, I'm always watching the reviews before I go and see the movie because I don't want to waste my time on a movie that I think is bad. So actually, I think we're opposites there, so.

AKIKO FUJITA: Maybe.