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

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