Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: I Am Legend Set For Explosive Opening

Alvin and the Chipmunks, Perfect Holiday also open.

by | December 13, 2007 | Comments

A wave of new product hits the marketplace at a time when exciting films are desperately needed to end the current box office funk. The science fiction thriller I Am Legend leads the way but will be joined by the family comedy Alvin and the Chipmunks and the romantic comedy The Perfect Holiday. For only the second time all year, just two films managed grosses of more than $5M last weekend. Hollywood critically needs this weekend to turn things around if it wants to end the year on a happy note.

Gunning for his seventh consecutive number one opening, Will Smith headlines the sci-fi thriller I Am Legend, the latest Hollywood film based on the classic 1954 novel of the same name. The PG-13 entry finds the superstar playing the last man alive on Earth after a virus wipes out the entire human population in the not-so-distant future. Legend could prove to be Smith’s greatest box office challenge to date since there are no famous co-stars, no big director, and the novel it is based on is not exactly a hot item in today’s era. This film is Will’s to make or break.

But for millions of movie fans, the former Fresh Prince plus action equals a definite trip to the local multiplex. The actor is right at the top of the current A list and is arguably the most bankable star alive consistently drawing in audiences that cut across all race, gender, and age barriers. Will Smith can bring out paying audiences for sci-fi (I, Robot), comedy (Hitch), drama (The Pursuit of Happyness), action (Bad Boys II), and animation (Shark Tale). With Legend he now flirts with the boundaries of horror as battling killer zombies that attack at night is a far cry from being a date doctor.

Warner Bros. has good timing for I Am Legend. The marketplace has been about as dead as the world depicted in the film and audiences are hungry for an event film to get them back into the habit of moviegoing. Competition will not be much of a factor and business will be coming in from many directions with teens and young adults leading the way and fans of sci-fi and action delivering a big bang too. The studio’s massive marketing push will do the trick and adding more bite will be the simultaneous Imax release where higher ticket prices ($16 in New York City) will give the grosses a boost. Plus the strategic move of playing the new prologue for next summer’s much-anticipated Batman flick The Dark Knight with the Imax release of I Am Legend just fuels more excitement and guarantees more asses in the seats.

Will Smith is looking to score one of the biggest December openings ever for a non-Peter Jackson flick. A big drop next weekend is likely, but for now consumers are keeping all eyes on I Am Legend which attacks 3,606 theaters on Friday. An opening weekend gross of about $50M could result.

Will Smith and friend in I Am Legend

Some younger moviegoers may not be in the mood for flesh-eating mutants. Luckily, Fox had the bright idea of getting jiggy with its new kidpic Alvin and the Chipmunks which will give parents and smaller children some harmless fun for the holidays. The PG-rated film is the latest big-screen treatment of a popular kids property from yesterday that gets a makeover for today’s sensibilities. When done right, ticket sales pour in from multiple generations. But when done wrong, you get disasters like The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Competition should not be too bad since Enchanted which is going into its fourth session is the only family film generating any decent dough right now. Instead, holiday shopping may be the real threat as many parents will wait until a little later before heading to the cinemas for this one. The property is not popular enough to create any true sense of urgency. But this is common in mid December. Last year, Charlotte’s Web got off to a slow start with a $11.5M bow but went on to make seven times that amount with a final tally of $82.6M. Fox’s marketing push has been aggressively targeting young kids and the studio knows that little success lies with teens and young adults. Going very wide with 3,476 playdates on Friday, Alvin and the Chipmunks could gross about $15M this weekend but hold on well over the holidays.

Alvin, Simon and Theodore

Christmas fun hits the multiplexes in another package with The Perfect Holiday from Yari Film Group. Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union star as single folks whose love lives cross while Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard play naughty and nice spirits along for the ride. The PG-rated film will play primarily to an African American audience which will make it a tricky sell at this moment in time. Though a very different film, Legend will steal away many in the target demographic and others who just saw This Christmas may not be looking for another story from the same category so soon. Poor reviews will also cause some box office headaches. Opening Wednesday in 1,306 locations, The Perfect Holiday could bow to about $7M over three days and $9M over five days.

The Perfect Holiday

Adding to the end-of-year frenzy that arthouse films find themselves in during awards season, Paramount Vantage’s The Kite Runner opens in 35 theaters in selected cities on Friday hoping to appeal to fans of the best-selling novel. The R-rated film in English and Dari tells of two young boys in Afghanistan whose lives take two very different paths after a violent incident right before the Soviet invasion of the country. Kite Runner has been included on some recent ten-best lists and scored two Golden Globe nominations. Reviews have been generally positive.

The Kite Runner

Following its not-so-explosive debut, The Golden Compass will have tough work cut out for it during the sophomore frame. The New Line adventure will see the sci-fi audience abandon ship and line up for Will Smith while parents looking for some fun for their kids will have some talking chipmunks to consider. A 50% drop could be in order for Compass which would give it about $13M for the weekend and a ten-day tally of $45M.

Disney’s Enchanted, which earned a pair of Golden Globe nominations, is slowly but surely making its way towards the $100M mark. Another moderate 35% decline would give the fairy tale pic around $7M which would push the sum up to $93M. Sony’s This Christmas will face direct competition from The Perfect Holiday so a 40% dip may result giving the pic $3M and $47M to date.

LAST YEAR: The man in black beat out some tough competition to conquer the box office. Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness led a wave of new releases with its top spot debut grossing $26.5M for Sony. The feel-good smash played well over the holiday season surging to $162.6M domestically and $294M worldwide – an impressive sum for a Smith vehicle not driven by guns or special effects. Fox’s fantasy actioner Eragon bowed close behind in second with $23.2M on its way to $75M from North America representing only 30% of the global take. Overseas the numbers were much stronger with $175M in ticket sales for a powerful $250M tally worldwide. Third place also featured a new release. Paramount’s family film Charlotte’s Web debuted to the tune of $11.5M but reached a solid $82.6M by the end of the run. Rounding out the top five were the penguin toon Happy Feet with $8.4M and the romantic comedy The Holiday with $8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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