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

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