Box Office Guru Preview: Chihuahua to Overtake Multiplexes
A plethora of other films will compete for the weekend box office crown.
Warner Bros. expands its acclaimed Western Appaloosa from 14 to 800 houses nationwide on Friday. The Ed Harris film averaged $10,469 last weekend in limited release and will now test the waters across the country targeting older adults. A $3M take could result.
Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris in Appaloosa
The right pokes fun at liberals in the new comedy An American Carol which features a heavy-set Michael Moore-type filmmaker being visited by three spirits who show him how great Uncle Sam really is. Directed by spoof king David Zucker, the PG-13 film should find better business in the McCain states than in the Obama ones. The release date is aimed at making the film relevant at a time when so much attention is on politics, but overall interest does not seem to be all that strong. Some more controversy, even if artificially manufactured in true Moore style, could have helped this one stand out in the crowded marketplace. Vivendi will attack 1,639 venues on Friday with An American Carol and it could end up with about $3M.
Kevin Farley in An American Carol
Those on the left should not feel abandoned. Comedian Bill Maher offers up his skewering of the world's God squads in the documentary Religulous which opens in 502 theaters nationwide this weekend. Borat director Larry Charles is behind the camera of this R-rated pic which has been working extra hard to attract controversy only to find limited success in that department. This is a film that desperately needs news coverage in order to sell but with most media outlets only having the bandwidth to cover the elections and the financial crisis, Religulous is not getting its message heard by enough of its target audience. Sponsoring Joe Biden's podium during Thursday night's vice presidential debate may be the only true way for the film to reach its base. An opening of around $2M could result.
Bill Maher in Religulous
Last weekend, Shia LaBeouf scored another number one hit with Eagle Eye which generated the fourth best September bow ever. Word-of-mouth has been good and most of the new titles will not have much of a direct impact on the thriller's teen and young adult audience. A 40% drop could result giving Paramount around $17.5M for the weekend and $54M in ten days.
Nights in Rodanthe's audience of older women typically do not rush out on opening weekend so a good hold could result. The Richard Gere-Diane Lane hit Unfaithful actually dipped a mere 29% in its sophomore frame in 2002 so their new collaboration should see more takers buying tickets this weekend. The Warner Bros. release may fall 35% to about $8.5M pushing the ten-day total to $25M.
The Kirk Cameron marital drama Fireproof shocked Hollywood with its fourth place opening last weekend despite playing in fewer theaters than any other film in the top ten. It also showed the industry the value of films that appeal to audiences not properly served by mainstream studio fare - something Tyler Perry has been proving year after year although with bigger grosses. With intense upfront demand, Fireproof may see a more sizable 45% slide to roughly $3.5M giving the faith-based pic a solid $12M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: For a second straight weekend The Rock and Disney joined forces to rule the top spot with the family hit The Game Plan which dipped only 28% in its second frame to $16.6M. Ben Stiller's R-rated comedy The Heartbreak Kid opened in second with a disappointing $14M on its way to $36.8M for Paramount. Universal's military thriller The Kingdom ranked third with $9.7M and was followed by Sony's threequel Resident Evil: Extinction with $4.5M. Debuting poorly in fifth was Fox's The Seeker: The Dark is Rising with $3.7M leading to a weak $8.8M finish. The dance drama Feel the Noise landed in eighth with a $3.2M bow from just over 1,000 screens and ended with $5.9M for Sony.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com