Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: "Knocked Up" Expecting Solid Arrival

by | May 31, 2007 | Comments

Call it the weekend of the actor/producer. Three new films with stars that do double duty behind the scenes (or have good agents that can snag a free credit) enter a marketplace filled with big-budget tentpole pics quickly eroding away.

Seth Rogen headlines and executive produces the new comedy "Knocked Up," Kevin Costner stars and produces the crime thriller "Mr. Brooks," and Elisabeth Shue acts in and co-produces the sports drama "Gracie." Following an explosive May at the box office, the first weekend of June should see ticket sales calm down a bit before George and Brad usher in the next big wave of sequels.

For adult moviegoers sick of pirates, ogres, and webslingers, Universal has the answer – the raunchy romantic comedy "Knocked Up." The R-rated film from Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") stars Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a stoner loser and a just-promoted entertainment newswoman, respectively, who share a one night stand which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Older teens, young adults, and couples make up the target audience here and the studio is hoping to bring back the same folks that opened "Virgin" to $21.4M on its way to a stellar $109.3M (five times its debut) two summers ago.

With mindless popcorn sequels dominating the marquees for the past month, "Knocked Up" brings a breath of fresh air into the multiplexes. Moviegoers looking for new characters and new situations will be pleased. The marketing push has been strong but television spots are not too funny, mostly because the bulk of the humor is too racy to feature on broadcast television. But when opening weekend audiences find out how much funnier the actual film is compared to the trailer and commercials, red hot word-of-mouth will keep the pic playing week after week.

The public’s appetite for studio comedies has been healthy over the last six months with "Wild Hogs," "Night at the Museum," "Blades of Glory," and "Norbit" selling an amazing $626M worth of ticket stubs combined. "Hogs" even popped back into the top ten last weekend in its thirteenth session signaling the hunger in the marketplace right now for something good that will make people laugh. Universal enjoys going after adults on the weekend after Memorial Day. In 2005 it debuted the serious Russell CroweRenee Zellweger boxing pic "Cinderella Man" to $18.3M while last year the studio exceeded expectations with the $39.2M bow of the date flick "The Break-Up." "Knocked Up" should play to much of the same audience as the Jennifer Aniston film, although with less starpower and no tabloid gossip about the star’s personal lives, the grosses won’t soar as high.

Critics have been praising "Knocked Up" and its strong cross-gender appeal will make it a hit with the date crowd. A unique concept and a great title will also help sell the film. "Pirates" will only be in its second weekend and will still be pulling in a broad audience so there will be some competition. But "Knocked Up" has great buzz and will start selling itself after people begin pouring out of the Friday night shows. Opening in 2,873 theaters, the Universal release may gross about $24M this weekend and witness small declines in the weeks ahead.

"Yay, pregnancy."

Less than a year after co-starring with Ashton Kutcher in "The Guardian," Kevin Costner teams up with the "Punk’d" star’s gal pal Demi Moore in the new psychological thriller "Mr. Brooks." In the R-rated film, the former bodyguard plays a family man who moonlights as a serial killer while the ex-G.I. Jane stars as a detective hot on his trail. The MGM release should play to the oldest audience of any major release out now. That’s a good thing since direct competition will not be too fierce. But despite some moderately good reviews, Brooks is anchored by two aging actors who were bulletproof box office stars fifteen years ago, but are not all that reliable at the turnstiles nowadays.

"Knocked Up" has much more buzz around it and will take away much of the thirtysomething crowd, but the forty-plus audience might give "Mr. Brooks" a try. Older adults did little for "Georgia Rule" which bowed to just $6.8M but April’s "Fracture" had a decent $11M opening. Costner should draw an audience more like the one that came out for the Anthony Hopkins thriller. The marketing push has not been too forceful so a large turnout is not likely. Invading 2,453 theaters, "Mr. Brooks" may generate a $9M debut.

Where Dane Cook gets his career advice.

Picturehouse targets the Lady Foot Locker crowd with its new drama "Gracie" which tells the true story of a teenage girl in the late 1970s who fought to play competitive soccer when the sport did not open its doors to her gender. The PG-13 flick stars Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, and Carly Schroeder and has been marketed squarely to its core audience of teenage girls. "Gracie" is unlikely to score any goals with other audience segments and is not being released in too many theaters so a modest opening is likely. Reviews have been mixed. Kicking its way into about 1,000 locations, "Gracie" might find itself with an opening weekend take of around $3M.

The mullet-headed heckler is always an important training component.

Fox Searchlight invades the arthouses once again with its Russian fantasy epic "Day Watch," the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov‘s "Night Watch" which became a mammoth blockbuster in its home country in 2004. Last year, "Night Watch" bowed in the U.S. to a sturdy $35,475 average from only three theaters and eventually collected $1.5M from 158 sites. "Day Watch" continues the battle of Light vs. Darkness in an adventure set in Moscow with digital effects that could rival any $200M-budgeted Hollywood tentpole pic. The R-rated film debuts on Friday in New York and Los Angeles with two theaters in each city plus a solo house in San Francisco. More markets across the country will be added in the weeks ahead.

"Day Watch"

None of the newbies looks like first-place material so "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should easily retain its box office crown. However, a substantial fall is likely. As a third part of a franchise coming off of a big holiday bow, the drop would of course be large. "Dead Man’s Chest" fell by 54% in its sophomore frame. Add in the fact that fan reaction isn’t exactly stellar and the ship should sink by a large amount. Don’t expect the latest "Pirates" to suffer the 67% crash that the third "X-Men" flick saw a year ago when it came off of the Memorial Day frame. Instead, it could perform more like 2004’s "The Day After Tomorrow" which fell 60% coming off of the same holiday weekend. Luckily for Johnny Depp and pals the competition is not too fierce this weekend. A similar 60% tumble would give "At World’s End" about $46M worth of weekend loot which would boost the ten-day cume to $218M.

"Shrek the Third" will also not have much in the way of competition for its family audience, but comedy fans will certainly abandon ship and head for "Knocked Up." The ogre franchise makes a sizable portion of its money from teens and young adults and those folks are going to be moving on. Last weekend’s 56% drop was affected by the arrival of "Pirates." This weekend, it could stabilize and fall by 45%. That would give "Shrek the Third" around $29M for the weekend and $256M after 17 days.

"Spider-Man 3," the only May threequel with the actual number three in its title, has also been fading away. A 45% drop would give the Sandman saga roughly $8M boosting the cume to $319M.

LAST YEAR: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn proved more popular than super heroes as their romantic comedy "The Break-Up" knocked "X-Men: The Last Stand" out of the number one spot in only its second weekend. The Universal comedy opened to $39.2M on its way to a better-than-expected $118.7M. The mutant sequel tumbled 67% to $34M in its sophomore frame for the runnerup position. Paramount’s toon sensation "Over the Hedge" held up well in third with $20.6M followed by "The Da Vinci Code" with $18.6M and "Mission: Impossible III" with $4.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

78th Annual Golden Globe Awards medical drama pirates of the caribbean Apple razzies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina E! Polls and Games RT21 asian-american movies Podcast Lionsgate period drama Arrowverse Horror dc canceled TV shows Tarantino slashers Fox Searchlight 2021 Showtime Dark Horse Comics GIFs Bravo TLC TV theme song 21st Century Fox LGBT supernatural Rock Fall TV MCU Captain marvel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The Walt Disney Company canceled quibi Schedule Reality TCA 2017 cats VOD ABC Family Premiere Dates sequels Sneak Peek book adaptation Superheroes rom-coms hollywood Certified Fresh Pixar Best and Worst Paramount Plus Food Network Freeform diversity comedies anime blockbuster trailers Ovation Countdown Reality Competition Interview AMC crossover zombies cancelled TV series Classic Film hispanic HBO Go rotten movies we love Apple TV+ NYCC zombie telelvision video on demand christmas movies BBC One toy story Holidays sitcom black Marathons Sundance australia SDCC foreign new star wars movies BET TV Land Pop YouTube Premium adventure finale Vudu Anna Paquin scary movies child's play stand-up comedy Cannes CW Seed Super Bowl Superheroe video south america X-Men New York Comic Con Chernobyl Amazon Prime Video dramedy science fiction discovery A24 zero dark thirty Star Trek Nickelodeon critics Biopics Universal psycho jurassic park Ghostbusters latino CMT aliens james bond travel social media renewed TV shows Cosplay richard e. Grant Mary poppins police drama superman robots kong IFC Hulu Academy Awards Western Broadway Masterpiece kids Funimation DC Comics hist Creative Arts Emmys Lucasfilm adaptation award winner The Academy National Geographic Film Discovery Channel Pet Sematary Infographic Legendary a nightmare on elm street stoner Endgame Hear Us Out Shudder CBS Mudbound sports 45 nbcuniversal game of thrones docuseries CNN Country Mary Poppins Returns APB spider-man TruTV space Comedy Comic Book Marvel romance Comedy Central PBS Elton John TCM political drama Columbia Pictures Disney Plus BET Awards TV renewals psychological thriller halloween war Extras politics teaser comiccon Turner Classic Movies TV One Music technology composers Marvel Studios Star Wars halloween tv BAFTA Tumblr obituary transformers book Stephen King Shondaland The CW criterion rt archives Emmys crime game show chucky universal monsters Emmy Nominations Amazon Prime FX on Hulu heist movie History Ellie Kemper best remakes all-time 72 Emmy Awards godzilla Nominations versus laika cops documentaries Warner Bros. Year in Review women DirecTV VH1 Rocketman Binge Guide Nat Geo free movies films CBS All Access Tubi spinoff mockumentary news PaleyFest biography The Purge thriller Animation Hallmark HBO Max ESPN Lifetime Epix ID Trophy Talk screen actors guild cults DC Universe Crunchyroll Heroines comic books ratings tv talk 2015 japanese Marvel Television Election name the review Disney streaming service VICE stop motion Britbox Paramount 24 frames independent Sundance Now Brie Larson Starz Exclusive Video true crime See It Skip It Holiday TIFF streaming Kids & Family Paramount Network Rocky spanish language indie Mystery parents Travel Channel justice league USA Network Quiz reviews El Rey 99% President HBO Family Oscars classics cancelled television Sundance TV elevated horror golden globe awards series 93rd Oscars romantic comedy TNT nature french spanish First Look festival Sci-Fi facebook TCA Amazon Studios Trivia Christmas kaiju ghosts football YouTube Red ViacomCBS Valentine's Day screenings SundanceTV OWN Crackle USA Pride Month Baby Yoda Rom-Com A&E OneApp casting superhero First Reviews golden globes E3 FOX witnail breaking bad king kong Mary Tyler Moore fast and furious blockbusters miniseries ITV hidden camera Adult Swim Grammys die hard DGA boxing Red Carpet Pirates popular doctor who Fantasy disaster The Arrangement indiana jones Disney Netflix cartoon Awards Tour FX blaxploitation natural history Musical PlayStation green book BBC America unscripted cancelled anthology batman dogs cinemax Television Academy concert scorecard Martial Arts dceu singing competition FXX documentary prank 2020 fresh Pop TV ABC Signature italian 2019 Television Critics Association MTV talk show MSNBC Trailer Box Office binge reboot Writers Guild of America mutant harry potter DC streaming service Character Guide BBC Mindy Kaling Set visit docudrama dark San Diego Comic-Con Winter TV serial killer toronto cooking spy thriller Tomatazos television Photos twilight Drama deadpool Musicals TBS crime drama WarnerMedia worst Opinion 20th Century Fox franchise Walt Disney Pictures satire Hallmark Christmas movies Awards Netflix Christmas movies Toys Logo dragons cancelled TV shows Disney Channel Avengers emmy awards Turner TCA Winter 2020 strong female leads movie Black Mirror Syfy GLAAD American Society of Cinematographers monster movies IFC Films venice joker SXSW The Walking Dead NBC Alien based on movie werewolf Disney+ Disney Plus Comics on TV vampires festivals Video Games Song of Ice and Fire Acorn TV Calendar Peacock LGBTQ sag awards 2017 comics jamie lee curtis worst movies Winners YouTube Lifetime Christmas movies sequel Cartoon Network comic revenge 007 Watching Series spain Spectrum Originals what to watch crime thriller Black History Month WGN GoT Thanksgiving nfl 71st Emmy Awards Sony Pictures TCA Awards rotten Women's History Month YA Action cars 4/20 Film Festival Spring TV Spike Apple TV Plus archives The Witch boxoffice Fox News ABC mission: impossible directors animated children's TV Summer 2018 2016 Amazon RT History historical drama Esquire Teen