A Walk In the Woods, Broad Green Pictures

A Walk In the Woods, Broad Green Pictures

APEX Insight: Faith-based smash War Room and the Spanish-language animated comedy Un Gallo con Muchos Juevos soar up the box office charts on a (chicken) wing and a prayer this Labor Day weekend. And A Walk in the Woods proves to be definitely worth the hike.

The power of prayer, strong word-of-mouth and, perhaps most importantly, group ticket sales from church groups around the country, paid off big time for the Kendrick brothers’ faith-based drama War Room which jumped from second to first place at the box office over the four-day weekend with an estimated $12.5M. Nicely done. Can I get an amen?

And with Straight Outta Compton holding strong in second place with an estimated $11.2M, the biggest question was, which of the three new wide-release titles would land in third? That honor fell to the aging “outdoorsmen” played by Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in director Ken Kwapis’ (TV’s The Office) adventure comedy, A Walk in the Woods, which took in an estimated $10.5M over the weekend with a projected six-day haul of $12.6M since opening on Wednesday.

Based on travel writer Bill Bryson’s 1998 book A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, the film has been a pet project of Redford’s since 2005 when he first announced plans to produce and star in the film alongside his old Butch and Sundance pal Paul Newman. Unfortunately, the pair’s highly-anticipated on-screen reunion would never come to pass as Newman died three years later in 2008. Also starring Oscar-winners Emma Thompson and Mary Steenburgen, Woods should prove to be a slow and steady performer over the next few weeks, especially with boomers and nature lovers. So, stay hydrated, boys!

The Transporter Refueled,

The Transporter Refueled, EuropaCorp

Also opening wide with an estimated $9M was the fourth film in writer-producer Luc Besson’s hugely-successful Transporter franchise, The Transporter Refueled. Taking the wheel from Jason Statham, the original Transporter, this go-around was UK rapper/actor Ed Skrein. Known to Game of Thrones fans as the original Daario Naharis, Skrein left Thrones after Season 3 and was replaced in subsequent seasons by actor Michiel Huisman. Shot entirely in Paris, look for Refueled to really shift into high gear when it opens in the City of Lights (and the rest of France!) later this week.

And speaking of foreign debuts, a Spanish-language animated film that was on absolutely no one’s radar, Un Gallo con Muchos Juevos, opened with almost no English-language ad campaign to speak of to an estimated $4.4M. To put that in perspective, Shaun the Sheep, based on a TV series from the Oscar-winning studio behind the Wallace and Gromit franchise, opened with less than half that number in July.

Un Gallo con Muchos Juevos, Pantelion

Un Gallo con Muchos Juevos, Pantelion

Loosely translated (in polite company) as A Chicken with Many Eggs, the sweet, mildly-suggestive Juevos is proof positive that there is a growing demand for animated films from countries other than the US, the UK and Japan. So, expect to see many animated feathers flying around town as this crazy chicken with many eggs comes home to roost.

Four Day Weekend Box Office Estimates: September 4-7, 2015

Title/Studio Weekend/Total Gross
1. War Room/Sony $12.5M/$27.8M
2. Straight Outta Compton/Universal $11.2M/$150.2M
3. A Walk in the Woods/Broad Green Pictures $10.5/$12.6M
4. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation/Paramount $9.3/$182.5M
5. The Transporter Refueled/EuropaCorp $9M
6. No Escape/The Weinstein Company $7M/$20M
7. Inside Out/Disney $4.5M/$349.6M
8. The Man From U.N.C.L.E./Warner Bros. $4.4M/$40.3M
9. Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos/Pantelion $4.4M
10. Sinister 2/Focus Features $4.2M/$24.5M

Tomás Romero is an award-winning writer/producer from Los Angeles.