Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Eastwood vs. Scorsese - Round 2

by | October 19, 2006 | Comments

Hollywood sure loves to dwell on yesteryear. Another wave of historical films hits the multiplexes on Friday led by the World War II drama "Flags of our Fathers" directed by Clint Eastwood.

Going back another half-century is the Hugh JackmanChristian Bale thriller "The Prestige." Kirsten Dunst rewinds even further to the 18th century playing the title role in "Marie Antoinette." Moviegoers who want to stick to the today’s times get to ride the family film "Flicka" which also is added into the mix this weekend. Overall, the North American box office should simmer down after two weeks of red-hot action thanks to a quartet of new releases that does not seem to be exciting the public too much.

What happens when two-time Oscar winners Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg join forces to produce a film? You get the DreamWorks/Warner Bros. production "Flags of our Fathers" which chronicles the famous battle at Iwo Jima and the notoriety that followed for the soldiers photographed hoisting the American flag. The R-rated film is low on starpower boasting a cast featuring Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, and Jesse Bradford. Clearly it will be subject matter and the director that will draw in audiences. "Flags" is likely to become the oldest-skewing film in the marketplace. Young adults should not show too much interest and female appeal will be limited as well for this war story. Competition for adult men will be tough given the start of the World Series and the continuation of all sorts of live football all weekend long on television.


Clint Eastwood’s WWII epic "Flags of Our Fathers."

But loyal Eastwood fans will probably find the time for "Flags" this weekend and some reviews have been good. Critics have not been giving the type of support this time that they gave in recent years to "Million Dollar Baby" and "Mystic River" giving it a lesser sense of urgency. Plus a fall season full of period films really doesn’t need more of them. A narrow release will curtail box office potential too. This weekend, it could turn out to be a rematch where Eastwood will square off against Martin Scorsese whose "The Departed" is proving to be an exciting option, set in modern times, for ticket buyers.The New York-based filmmaker wants revenge after losing to Dirty Harry at the Academy Awards a year and a half ago. "Mystic River" opened wide in October 2003 to an average just north of $7,000. Paramount’s "Flags of our Fathers," which debuts in roughly 1,800 locations, could reach the same vicinity and collect about $13M this weekend.

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play dueling magicians at the turn of the 20th century in "The Prestige." The current Caped Crusader reteams with director Christopher Nolan in this PG-13 period drama which co-stars Scarlett Johansson as, you guessed it, the beautiful young woman both men desire. Michael Caine also appears in another Alfred-like role. The Buena Vista film’s biggest challenge will be to convince audiences that this is not that Edward Norton film they just saw a few weeks ago. While "The Illusionist" was not a big blockbuster, it was very well-liked by moviegoers and has had some of the best legs of 2006. Those who paid to see it may not be in the mood for another one so soon. Just ask Mr. Capote. Starpower in "The Prestige" is good, but the two leads do not usually sell well outside of their comic book flicks. "The Departed" and "Flags of our Fathers" will steal away adult audiences providing ample competition, but "The Prestige" does have more female appeal than Clint’s war tale so adult couples that have seen Leo vs. Matt already might give Wolverine vs. Batman a try. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, "The Prestige" could debut with around $10M.


Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman, in that other 19th century magician movie.

The weekend’s only family offering comes on horseback in the form of "Flicka." 27-year-old Alison Lohman stars as a stubborn 16-year-old girl who befriends a steed against the wishes of her dad on a scenic Wyoming ranch. The PG-rated film should mostly appeal to girls and play to the same crowd that spent $9.2M this weekend a year ago for the bow of another girl-and-her-horse flick, "Dreamer." Business will be stronger in the heartland than in large urban centers. Fox is giving "Flicka" the widest release by far of any of this weekend’s new openers so the sheer size of the distribution will give it some traction, even if the average limps a bit. "Open Season," which is still strong going into its fourth hunt, will be the only real threat to business. While bad girls might line up for "Marie Antoinette" this weekend, the good girls will get to ride with "Flicka" which will gallop into over 2,000 more theaters. Opening in 2,876 sites, the horse flick could take in around $10M this weekend.


Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw in "Flicka."

Spidergirl Kirsten Dunst tosses on a fancy wig to play the famous queen of France in "Marie Antoinette," written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Booed last May at the Cannes Film Festival, the PG-13 film is a biopic aimed squarely at teenage girls and young women with a story of a bold gal with a strong head on her shoulders, for most of the time. The studio is marketing the film in a hip way hoping to appeal to young people. "Marie" should skew heavily female as interest from guys will be weak. Dunst will have a chance to test her starpower as the only big-name actor in the cast. Her date movie "Wimbledon" did not fare too well in the Fall of 2004 with a $7.1M opening from over 2,000 theaters. Reese Witherspoon‘s "Vanity Fair" bowed to $4.8M from just over 1,000 playdates by appealing to a similar audience. "Marie Antoinette" will launch in only 859 theaters on Friday limiting its box office potential. A weekend gross of about $5M could result.


Kirsten Dunst is "Marie Antoinette."

Last weekend’s box office champ "The Grudge 2" has seen its audience get frightened away during the week as the Sony thriller dropped to second place on Monday and third on Tuesday. A hefty tumble of 55% could result giving the spookfest about $9M for the weekend and a ten-day sum of $33M.

On the other hand, Warner Bros. has been enjoying great legs from its mob thriller "The Departed" which eased only 29% in its second mission. "Flags of our Fathers" and "The Prestige" will eat into its adult audience, but the Martin Scorsese hit should continue to remain a very popular moviegoing option. A 30% fall to about $13M might lead "The Departed" back into the top spot this weekend unless one of the newbies breaks out. Regardless, that would push the cume to a stellar $76M.

LAST YEAR: The Rock cooked up a number one opening with his sci-fi actioner "Doom" which opened with $15.5M. Universal’s video game-inspired flick fell apart quickly and found its way to only $28M. Debuting in second place was the less expensive family film "Dreamer" with $9.2M on its way to a stronger $32.8M final for DreamWorks. The Spielberg studio also claimed the third spot with the leggy kidpic "Wallace and Gromit" with $8.6M, off only 26% in its third weekend. Sony’s horror pic "The Fog" fell from first to fourth with $6.7M. Warner Bros. saw a weak opening for its Charlize Theron drama "North Country" which grossed just $6.4M. Cume reached a mere $18.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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