Box Office Guru Preview: Don't You Dare Mess with Beyoncé's Man
Also: Fighting, The Soloist, and Earth open this weekend.
The environment needs saving so Hollywood is doing its part to go green by opening recycled versions of Fatal Attraction and Fight Club in hopes of attracting young adults. In a battle of genre divisions, Sony's Screen Gems unit offers the relationship thriller Obsessed starring Beyoncé Knowles while Rogue Pictures counters with the Channing Tatum vehicle Fighting released through Universal. Paramount goes for an older audience with the Robert Downey Jr.-Jamie Foxx drama The Soloist and Disney aims for families with the nature documentary Earth. Titles are short and succinct this weekend and overall it should be another up session for the film industry during the final frame before the highly-anticipated launch of the summer movie season.
After two weeks of high school superstars ruling the box office, things get a little more mature with Obsessed starring Beyoncé, Ali Larter, and Idris Elba. The PG-13 flick tells of a happily married man being stalked by a seductress working as a new temp in his office. Much like Fatal Attraction before it, this blandly-titled film is centered around a love triangle but the casting allows for a new twist with a white woman invading the sanctity of a black couple's marriage. Sony should see a strong turnout from females and from African American moviegoers, but male appeal is solid too so the date crowd will be key here.
The former Destiny's Child singer is always a big draw in anything she does so look for her fan base to show some support this weekend as the storyline is generating interest. Marketing has been top notch too with commercials and trailers selling the pic as a sexy suspense film. Fast & Furious is the only film in the top ten now with any racial diversity on screen so ethnic audiences will add to a solid top spot bow. Entering over 2,400 locations, Obsessed might debut with around $17M.
Idris Elba, Ali Larter and Beyoncé in Obsessed
A decade after Ben Button roughed up punks in Fight Club, Hollywood's new prettyboy Channing Tatum revisits the same territory with Fighting from Universal and Rogue. The PG-13 pic features the Step Up star playing a small-town guy that moves to New York and discovers an underground world of street-fighting. Terrence Howard co-stars. Teens and young adults are the target here with the film reaching out to males with the fisticuffs and to the ladies with Tatum's sex appeal. The marketing push has been strong and a solid turnout should be expected. More than anything, this will be a test of the lead's starpower since the film rests almost entirely on his shoulders. If teen girls don't feel like they've spent enough cash on Zac and Miley over the past two weeks, then they will provide a nice boost to Fighting. But younger males should be counted on since there are few exciting options for them at the moment. Plus Wolverine, Kirk, and John Connor haven't hit the multiplexes yet. Busting into 2,310 theaters, Fighting may open to around $12M this weekend.
Channing Tatum in Fighting
Iron Man and Ray Charles try to drum up some business for Paramount's new drama The Soloist which opens Friday after being bumped from last December's release slate. The PG-13 film stars Jamie Foxx as a gifted yet homeless violinist that is discovered by a journalist played by Robert Downey Jr. This is an adult-skewing pic that will be driven by the opinions of critics and so far reviews have been mixed at best which should spell trouble at the box office. The studio is hoping that audiences will overlook the not-so-original subject matter and instead be interested in a killer star-combo. Rarely do two Oscar-caliber actors pair up like this. But it's not Washington-Crowe in American Gangster. Foxx's hairstyle, conveniently cropped out of the poster, may scare off customers too. Playing in more than 1,800 theaters, The Soloist could take in about $8M this weekend.
Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx in The Soloist
Three animal families take amazing journeys in the new G-rated documentary Earth narrated by James Earl Jones which hit theaters on Wednesday to coincide with Earth Day. Disney hopes to pull in the family crowd with a film featuring adorable animals, a familiar voiceover, and environmentally-aware subject matter. Four years ago, the now-defunct Warner Independent hit gold with its nature doc March of the Penguins which made its $77.4M worth of loot in a different way by slowly rolling out in limited release before going nationwide in late summer when it became a pop culture phenomenon of the moment. Earth will take its own path going wide from day one. Reviews have been positive, but that may not help much at the cash registers. While parents know the film is good for them, many will hold back the dollars since the must-see factor just isn't there. Now playing in 1,804 theaters, a $5M weekend take could result.
One member of the cast of Earth
Zac Efron, lord of the teen kingdom, should see a sizable drop for his hit comedy 17 Again. The Warner Bros. release dipped 3% on Saturday after its solid opening day tally and fell sharply again on Sunday so the young audience is definitely eroding fast. With Beyoncé and Channing offering up new entrées this weekend, some of the young female audience will shift gears. Look for a 50% decline which would deliver a three-day score of about $12M and a ten-day cume of $39.5M.
Monsters vs. Aliens could enjoy its fifth frame in the top five making it the second-longest streak for the list this year trailing only Taken which logged in seven consecutive weekends. The DreamWorks toon will see its only direct new competition coming from Earth so its drop should be low. A 35% dip would give Gallaxhar and gang around $8.5M pushing the amazing total to $175M.
Also on course to see roughly $8.5M in ticket sales is Universal's Russell Crowe thriller State of Play. With good word-of-mouth and an older audience that does not rush out on opening weekend, a 40% decline could result. Only The Soloist looks to directly steal away any business. State would then see its total climb to a mediocre $26M after ten days.
Disney's Hannah Montana The Movie may fall by 50% to about $6.5M giving the teen queen $66M to date. Look for a similar drop for Fast & Furious which would decelerate to around $6M putting Universal at a sturdy $145M so far.
LAST YEAR: Universal's hit buddy comedy Baby Mama starring a pre-Sarah Palin Tina Fey and a pre-pregnancy Amy Poehler opened at number one with $17.4M on its way to a solid $60.3M. Second place went to another new comedy about a pair of funny folks, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay which bowed to $14.9M nearly tripling the debut of its 2004 predecessor. New Line found its way to $38.1M. Holdovers rounded out the top five over the final weekend before Iron Man launched the summer movie season. Lionsgate's The Forbidden Kingdom dropped to third with $11.2M, Forgetting Sarah Marshall fell to fourth with $11M for Universal, and Nim's Island took in $4.5M for Fox. Opening poorly in tenth was that studio's Hugh Jackman thriller Deception with a pitiful $2.3M and $1,155 average leading to a $4.6M finish.Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com