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

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