Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: "Departed" Arrives with a Bang

by | October 5, 2006 | Comments

Movie studios are offering something for every age group over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Mature adults will go undercover with Martin Scorsese‘s cop thriller "The Departed," twentysomethings looking for a scare get the horror prequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," while teenagers have a chance to laugh with the new comedy "Employee of the Month."

Meanwhile, last weekend’s number one film – the animated comedy "Open Season" – will continue to play to young children during a frame when a large percentage of students will have no class on Monday. The top ten will try to crack the $100M mark for the first time in nearly two months thanks to the variety of good product.

Ranking dead last among Hollywood’s big six studios in year-to-date market share, Warner Bros. has a lot of catching up to do in the fourth quarter if it wants to prevent snapping its five-year streak of billion-dollar-plus box office years. So this weekend, it hands the ball off to Scorsese who delivers what critics are calling one of his best films ever with "The Departed." The R-rated picture stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen. Overflowing with starpower, the Boston-set film is an American remake of the award-winning Hong Kong blockbuster "Infernal Affairs" which finds an Irish cop going undercover into the underworld and a mob mole infiltrating the police department.

After rejecting a seemingly endless line of period dramas including "Hollywoodland," "The Black Dahlia," "Flyboys," and "All the King’s Men," adult audiences should be ready to throw its support behind a modern-day action thriller juiced up with major stars worth paying top dollar for. If the cast isn’t enough to seal the deal, glowing reviews from critics across the board should have a big impact on driving in traffic. In fact, reviews are among the best of any wide release hitting theaters this year. DiCaprio and Damon appeal to a wide age group so expect strong numbers from young adults. And Jack is that rare star who can flirt with age 70 but still be relevant to the iPod generation. With $100M blockbusters in each of the last four decades, the Oscar-winner is a perennial favorite and his films are
events.

Warner Bros. has backed "The Departed" with a solid marketing campaign which is effectively exciting ticket buyers. No R-rated film has hit the $30M mark on opening weekend in nearly a year so that could once again be the ceiling on this film’s short-term potential. Appeal to both men and women is substantial, although as is typical at this time of year, business from males may be affected by football and the baseball playoffs. But word-of-mouth is likely to be very positive so look for the pic to remain a contender for weeks to come. With a colossal amount of starpower, sensational reviews, and a Monday holiday helping Sunday night sales,
the Leo vs. Matt flick should be able to generate plenty of excitement with audiences this weekend. "The Departed" opens in 3,017 theaters on Friday and could gross about $27M over the frame.

Leo DiCaprio, ‘lending a hand’ in Martin Scorsese’s "The Departed."

Moviegoers that don’t get starstruck, but instead want some gore and violence in their weekend entertainment, can opt for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." The prequel to the 2003 remake of the 1974 horror classic is an R-rated tale with Jordana Brewster ("The Fast and the Furious", "Annapolis") as its only star. Horror remakes usually do not rely on stars anyway, but on the brand name of a popular terrorfest. Budgets are relatively low with most of the money going towards production values rather than talent. Three years ago, the previous "Massacre" posted powerful numbers bowing to $28.1M in mid-October on its way to a brutal $80.1M. It opened the door to many other moneymaking remake hits like "Dawn of the Dead," "The Amityville Horror," and "The Omen" which each went on to gross over $50M.

"Beginning" will play to hardcore genre fans that are older teens and young adults. But look for some older horror aficionados to take a curious peek too. The marketplace is primed and ready for its arrival as there has not been a major horror hit since June’s "Omen" pic hit cinemas. Add in the fact that Halloween is around the corner prompting audience demand for the genre to rise and a large turnout should be expected. Excitement does not seem to be reaching the same height that this installment’s predecessor had, so an opening in the high 20s may not result. Plus Leo, Matt, and even bad boy Jack will be drawing away many twentysomethings this weekend. Buzzing through victims in over 2,800 theaters, "The Texas Chainsaw Massace: The Beginning" could scare up around $19M this weekend.

More teens in trouble in the latest "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" film.

The classic love triangle storyline is set in a Walmart-like super store in the new Lionsgate comedy "Employee of the Month." The PG-13 pic stars Dane Cook and Dax Shepard as co-workers competing for the attention of the hot new sales clerk, played by Jessica Simpson, who only dates those who win the coveted employee prize. The comedy should play to a teen and young adult audience and with the weekend’s other new films being R flicks, Month could score some points with the under-17 crowd. Teenage girls have especially been neglected this fall. Why would they care about 1940s murder mysteries, moronic stunt films, or Sean Penn as a flamboyant politician? Two hunky young dudes fighting over the former Daisy Duke could make for the most interesting film to grab their attention since "Step Up."

Still, "Employee of the Month" will have its work cut out for it. Many older teens and young adults will be drawn away by "Departed" and "Chainsaw" and Ashton Kutcher fans are still checking out "The Guardian." Starpower is not too high, but teenagers in need of a laugh will not have many other options. Opening in 2,579 theaters, "Employee of the Month" could debut with around $10M.

Dane Cook, in his first leading role in "Employee of the Month."

Sony’s animated comedy "Open Season" enjoyed a healthy start to its run last weekend and will face no new competition during the sophomore frame. Plus with the Columbus Day school holiday, the Martin Lawrence – Ashton Kutcher toon should remain a popular (and only) option for young children. A 30% drop would give "Season" about $16M over the weekend and a sturdy ten-day cume of $46M.

Buena Vista’s Coast Guard adventure "The Guardian" did moderately well in its debut last weekend, but adult audiences will be pulled away by the starpower of "The Departed" this weekend. The studio has been reporting strong exit polls so word-of-mouth could prevent a large falloff. A 40% decline would give "Guardian" about $11M for the weekend and $34M in ten days.

"Jackass: Number Two" will face some stiff competition from the weekend’s two new R-rated films so a 45% drop could be in order. That would leave the Paramount hit with $8M and an impressive 17-day total of $64M allowing the comedy sequel to surpass the gross of the 2002 original in under three weeks.

LAST YEAR: New films invaded the box office over the Columbus Day frame taking four of the top five slots. Leading the way was the acclaimed claymation pic "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" with a $16M debut. The DreamWorks film enjoyed good legs and ended up with $56.1M domestically plus the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Jodie Foster‘s two-time chart-topper "Flightplan" held up well in its third weekend grossing $10.8M for Buena Vista. Cameron Diaz opened her new comedy "In Her Shoes" in third place with $10M on its way to $32.9M for Fox. Universal followed with the sports betting film "Two For the Money" with a $8.7M bow and Sony opened its drama "The Gospel" in fifth with $7.5M. Final grosses reached $22.9M and $15.8M, respectively. Lions Gate saw its new comedy "Waiting" launch in seventh place with just $6M leading to a $16.1M final. Opening with strong results in limited release were the acclaimed dramas "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "The Squid and the Whale" which both earned rave reviews and kudos during awards season. Their domestic grosses reached $31.6M and $7.4M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

fresh rt archives Reality San Diego Comic-Con TruTV 71st Emmy Awards X-Men halloween australia game of thrones USA Network Thanksgiving transformers Action Chilling Adventures of Sabrina New York Comic Con zero dark thirty Election Disney+ Disney Plus Universal scorecard Writers Guild of America Hulu Academy Awards directors black 2019 Disney Channel spinoff History supernatural USA SXSW indiana jones ITV richard e. Grant PaleyFest concert vampires Interview documentaries festival IFC Films dogs Quiz Sundance Now Horror james bond nature GLAAD HBO Max DirecTV cancelled Pirates Western Premiere Dates Nickelodeon Trailer Schedule doctor who BBC APB Holiday MSNBC adventure technology Grammys The Arrangement Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Comic Book Walt Disney Pictures ABC Family singing competition TV rotten joker Pop latino Rocky Amazon Prime cooking Baby Yoda Tarantino The CW Disney Plus The Witch historical drama Shondaland Arrowverse 21st Century Fox natural history movie video comics Musical SundanceTV dragons Infographic Mudbound Turner Amazon Studios remakes Trivia Red Carpet golden globes cancelled TV shows miniseries aliens OneApp sports Lucasfilm politics die hard cartoon CBS All Access Superheroes Food Network romantic comedy Britbox PBS Holidays Opinion IFC Creative Arts Emmys Trophy Talk Stephen King Apple TV Plus Animation Mary poppins YA what to watch Countdown Winter TV docudrama TV Land universal monsters criterion BET Awards comic books ESPN 007 spain comedies Fox News news 2016 El Rey travel Warner Bros. E! TLC justice league hollywood 2017 Mary Poppins Returns BET festivals Tumblr best Marathons Oscars true crime Masterpiece ABC TCA obituary Spike Adult Swim romance satire sequels toronto GIFs Elton John BBC America Apple TV+ Black History Month Best and Worst biography Emmy Nominations versus cancelled television Women's History Month football First Look A24 cinemax crossover Rocketman facebook Pride Month Heroines ID blockbuster Showtime spider-man elevated horror robots See It Skip It franchise psycho science fiction Comedy Amazon Prime Video Musicals FX Biopics political drama binge spanish language asian-american Song of Ice and Fire Lionsgate Acorn TV DC Universe Watching Series cars Peacock TCA 2017 all-time TNT talk show DC streaming service WarnerMedia halloween tv RT21 CBS Polls and Games CW Seed space zombie Fall TV films Shudder reviews archives crime psychological thriller hispanic dark Toys social media Ovation south america Rom-Com Super Bowl Chernobyl Columbia Pictures Lifetime sitcom Character Guide Family Cartoon Network YouTube Premium GoT LGBT Logo RT History unscripted Captain marvel screenings animated Disney streaming service 99% The Academy TCA Winter 2020 Dark Horse Comics war nfl Pop TV Marvel OWN Set visit Sundance DC Comics children's TV superhero Calendar free movies reboot YouTube A&E renewed TV shows mission: impossible stand-up comedy Fantasy quibi Marvel Studios Film Festival japanese cats sequel Awards Tour medical drama dc Classic Film 24 frames cops Sony Pictures FOX breaking bad indie thriller TV renewals nbcuniversal comiccon Spring TV Bravo casting FXX BBC One documentary PlayStation CMT 2020 Pixar twilight E3 Nat Geo slashers Teen anthology anime spanish Pet Sematary series Ghostbusters comic hist movies Mary Tyler Moore Esquire classics Crunchyroll Hallmark Christmas movies dceu diversity period drama Sneak Peek stop motion Hear Us Out NYCC christmas movies Emmys discovery Television Critics Association boxoffice serial killer Christmas CNN parents Avengers TBS President ghosts composers a nightmare on elm street The Walking Dead Crackle foreign deadpool rotten movies we love HBO Go french canceled First Reviews finale Comedy Central award winner crime drama Epix Kids & Family based on movie Star Trek video on demand ratings Spectrum Originals Sci-Fi Vudu Extras cults Photos boxing Apple worst movies Certified Fresh zombies book VOD disaster VICE Anna Paquin NBC Brie Larson MCU TCM HBO Nominations Awards streaming Endgame Tubi tv talk laika 2015 LGBTQ police drama National Geographic 20th Century Fox Mindy Kaling spy thriller toy story Paramount mockumentary DGA chucky worst stoner AMC Netflix Christmas movies Year in Review game show canceled TV shows batman Funimation Amazon Lifetime Christmas movies mutant Reality Competition Freeform Ellie Kemper Fox Searchlight Paramount Network fast and furious Podcast 45 Superheroe cancelled TV series italian jamie lee curtis emmy awards crime thriller Martial Arts Turner Classic Movies harry potter Cannes SDCC child's play adaptation Box Office theme song revenge television dramedy screen actors guild BAFTA Television Academy independent Comics on TV kids Tomatazos Syfy name the review Cosplay Star Wars YouTube Red The Purge American Society of Cinematographers VH1 Sundance TV 2018 Hallmark witnail blaxploitation Rock 72 Emmy Awards Drama Discovery Channel Summer scary movies strong female leads Disney TIFF Starz teaser Video Games Country Mystery TCA Awards Winners 4/20 Valentine's Day Netflix MTV Marvel Television Film green book Music FX on Hulu werewolf Travel Channel venice Black Mirror sag awards Alien WGN Binge Guide critics