Box Office Guru Preview: Jonas Brothers Ready to Rock Multiplexes

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li also opening wide.

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Those $15 tickets that studio accountants love are back! This time they pair up with Disney's Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience which will easily dominate the North American box office. The only question is how big is big? This G-rated extravaganza chronicling the group's 2008 'Burning Up' tour has been a major event film for teens and tweens for weeks now as hundreds of showtimes have already sold out thanks to aggressive online ticketing.

Of course, the film this can be compared to is last February's Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus 3D concert film which bowed to $31.1M from only 683 locations for an astounding $45,561 average. With more 3D screens now installed into multiplexes nationwide, Jonas will benefit from a wider footprint which could deliver a larger gross but a smaller average. Ticket prices remain the same. And with a lean 76-minute running-time, exhibitors can easily offer up a show every two hours with many screens packing in eight showtimes per day. Disney's grossing potential is massive this weekend.

With intense fan anticipation, a marketing push that has turned the volume up to 11, and high ticket prices, the Jonas Brothers pic is a major event film ready to rock the box office with one of the largest openings ever for the month of February. Crashing into 1,271 theaters, a weekend tally of around $40M could result.


Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert

The forces of good and evil collide in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li which brings audiences a new story inspired by the popular videogame. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die, Doom), the PG-13 film will be aimed primarily at young males not interested in pretty boys rocking on stage. Smallville's Kristin Kreuk stars as the title character and is joined by Michael Clarke Duncan, Chris Klein, and Neal McDonough. Fox is not giving Chun-Li a huge release opting instead for a more conservative opening in about 1,000 locations and a more modest marketing push. Direct competition is not too fierce, but the scaled back release will limit potential. A debut of about $5M could result.


Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Tyler Perry beat his old opening weekend record by 37% with Madea Goes to Jail but is set for a big fall in the second frame. With so much upfront demand being absorbed last weekend, the Lionsgate hit will play like a sequel and tumble. Madea's Family Reunion dropped a sizable 58% in its second outing in 2006 while facing decent competition from new films. Jail should drop in a similar way and may decline by 55% to around $18.5M pushing the ten-day tally to a still-stunning $67M.

The Focus hit Coraline has been generating solid results for three weeks now dropping by small amounts each week. But young girls will be distracted by three allegedly attractive boys named Jonas so a larger drop may kick in this time. Look for it to forfeit some 3D screens too. A 35% dip would lead to a $7.5M weekend lifting the total to a stellar $63M. Fox's Taken is ready to join the century club. A 40% drop could result putting the Liam Neeson actioner at $6.5M lifting the cume to $105M.

With eight big Oscar statues, the most for any film since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Slumdog Millionaire now enters yet another phase in its long and lucrative release. Fox Searchlight will increase the theater count once again and will jump from 2,244 to 2,942 runs. The added screens plus the wave of free publicity this week from its Academy Awards sweep will lead to the biggest weekend yet in the film's nearly four-month run. Having smashed the $100M mark on Tuesday, Slumdog has been the number two movie in North America each weekday and the film will now reach a new audience of those who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the Academy to tell them if it really is worth all the fuss. The Danny Boyle pic could climb to about $12M this weekend and raise its domestic cume to an amazing $115M with more upside still ahead.

LAST YEAR: Will Ferrell suffered one of his lowest openings for a broad comedy in years with the basketball pic Semi-Pro which bowed to just $15.1M which was still enough to top the charts over a sluggish frame. The New Line release finished its season with only $33.5M. Sony's action hit Vantage Point dropped down a spot to number two with $12.8M in its second effort and was followed by The Spiderwick Chronicles which grabbed $8.7M in its third weekend. Sony didn't go too wide with The Other Boleyn Girl but saw a solid $8.2M debut and $7,035 average. A $26.8M final resulted. The Fox actioner Jumper rounded out the top five with $7.6M. New distrib on the block Summit opened its drama Penelope to just $3.8M in ninth place on its way to a $10M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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