‘Twisters’: Mother Nature Is the Biggest Draw for Audiences

Never underestimate the allure of Mother Nature.

A recent poll conducted by David Herrin’s The Quorom found that tornadoes — and not the movie’s talent — are the chief reason moviegoers want to see Universal’s upcoming summer tentpole Twisters, which hopes to turn into a category five-plus storm when it opens domestically on July 19.

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Of the 703 people surveyed, 570 expressed some level of interest in seeing Twisters. They were then presented with a list of options, and told to pick as many as they wanted.

Nearly 60 percent cited tornado action as the driving reason for wanting to see the film. Special effects were next (52 percent), followed by 50 percent who were fans of the original Twister movie and 22 percent who live in tornado-prone areas.

Among talent, 19 percent cited Powell as the driving reason, followed by Daisy Edgar-Jones at 17 percent. Rival studios say those are strong numbers for talent.

“While Glen Powell and Daisy Edgar-Jones are unquestionably up-and-comers, sometimes it’s hard for talent to compete with effects, spectacle, and Mother Nature,” says Herrin.

The survey was conducted in the U.S. on June 27. The female/male split was 52 percent and 48 percent, respectively. The survey did not ask about Anthony Ramos, who also stars in the feature, which is described as a three hander among him, Powell and Edgar-Jones.

The summer tentpole is tracking to open to $55 million-plus over the July 19-21 weekend in North America, according to The National Research Group. Universal, which is handling the film domestically, is being more conservative in suggesting $40 million to $45 million, while the Quorom is being more bullish in predicting $54 million to $61 million. Warner Bros. International has overseas duties.

Twisters opens 28 years after filmmaker Jan de Bont’s Twister, starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, whipped up a storm at the box office. Universal and Chung have been clear in saying that the new film isn’t a sequel, but a “current-day chapter” of the first film.

The stand-alone story stars Edgar-Jones star as Kate Cooper, a former storm chaser haunted by an encounter with a tornado during college. After studying storm patterns on screens safely in New York City, she’s lured back to the open plains by a friend, Javi (Ramos), to test a new tracking system. Once she arrives, she crosses paths with Tyler Owens (Powell), a charming and reckless social-media superstar who thrives on posting his storm-chasing adventures. As storm season intensifies, terrifying phenomena are unleashed and the competing teams find themselves in the paths of multiple storm systems converging over Oklahoma.

Lee Isaac Chung, who broke out with the Steven Yeun starrer Minari, directs from Mark L. Smith’s script.

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