Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: "Hitcher" Aims to Terrorize Moviegoers

by | January 18, 2007 | Comments

After a busy MLK frame which concluded with the Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood lets the dust settle this weekend as only one new film enters wide release – the horror remake "The Hitcher."

Other distributors will take this opportunity to widen their awards contenders into more theaters taking advantage of the frame in between when the Globes were awarded and when Academy Award nominations are announced. Ticket sales could be a bit sluggish which will be good news for holdovers.

Focus unleashes its widest release in company history with the horror film "The Hitcher" from its Rogue genre unit which finds a young couple tormented by a most unfriendly hitchhiker. The R-rated film will target the fright crowd and play mostly to teens and young adults looking for a winter scare. No horror film has hit box office gold since the pre-Halloween release of "Saw III." Moviegoers are usually in the mood for happy subject matter around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but now the time is right for this audience to make its way back. Many fright flicks have scored solid openings in the January-February corridor as fans of the genre get back into the mood for blood and violence. However, Sunday sales could be impacted by the NFL conference championships which will take millions of males out of the picture for the whole day.

"The Hitcher" comes from producer Michael Bay and the folks who redid "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Now the 1986 Rutger Hauer predecessor was a popular film, but did not become a massive cult hit so interest in the new "Hitcher" may be more subdued. The marketing and distribution push has been heavy and Focus will greatly benefit from being the only new face at the marquees. Those films expanding into new markets are more for older adults and won’t be much of a threat. How many college kids would rather see a World War II drama in Japanese? "The Hitcher" should thrive and pick up lots of passengers during its journey up the box office charts. Opening wide in 2,831 theaters, the horror flick could collect about $15M over the weekend.


Only bad things can happen when you pick up Sean Bean on the side of the road.

With Oscar nominations right around the corner, a handful of distributors will expand their hopefuls into more markets in an effort to capitalize on Academy Award nods, if they come. Picturehouse’s sci-fi thriller "Pan’s Labyrinth" averaged $13,464 over four days last weekend from 194 sites and will more than double its run into 500 theaters on Friday. Guillermo del Toro‘s acclaimed Spanish-language fantasy could scare up around $3M this weekend.


"Pan’s Labyrinth," opening in not-quite-wide release.

Fox Searchlight has grossed a modest $3.7M for its Idi Amin drama "The Last King of Scotland" but hopes audiences will be more energized the second time around as it re-expands the pic into 400 locations. Forest Whitaker‘s Best Actor win at the Globes (and almost every other awards gala) has generated some heat for the film which many moviegoers passed up the first time around. The kudos could help "Scotland" take in around $2M this weekend.


Forest Whitaker exulting in his Golden Globe win.

Clint Eastwood took home the Globe for the best foreign language film on Monday for his war tale "Letters From Iwo Jima." While the film is not eligible for the same statue at the Oscars, it could pop up in a number of other categories given the Academy’s undying love for the Hollywood icon. Last weekend, the Japanese language pic averaged $12,856 from only 35 theaters and on Friday Warner Bros. will up the theater count to 300. Still a tough sell, "Letters" could shoot up a gross of just over $1M.


Golden Globe winner for best foreign language film "Letters From Iwo Jima."

Last weekend, "Stomp the Yard" kicked down the doors and surged into the number one spot attracting a bigger audience than anyone expected. Teen films typically drop hard on the second weekend and "The Hitcher" should take away a bit of the young adult crowd too so a decent fall should be expected. The Friday-to-Sunday gross for "Stomp" could decline by 45% to about $12M giving Sony a solid $40M in ten days.

"Night at the Museum" will face no new competition for its target audience of families. Fox will join the quarter-century club over the weekend and may slip 30% to about $12M for a cume to date of $204M.

LAST YEAR: Sony scored the first of a long string of number ones for the year with the vampire sequel "Underworld: Evolution" which bowed to a potent $26.9M. The Kate Beckinsale actioner faded fast but still walked away with $62.3M. The animated comedy "Hoodwinked" expanded and slipped just 16% ranking second with $10.4M. Disney’s basketball drama "Glory Road" placed third with $8.8M and was followed closely by Paramount’s "Last Holiday" with $8.7M. Focus added screens to "Brokeback Mountain" and inched up into fifth place with $7.4M. Smaller openings were seen by the dramas "End of the Spear" and "The New World" with $4.3M and $4M, respectively. Final tallies reached only $11.7M and $12.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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