Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Rats and Bruce Hit Theaters This Weekend

by | June 28, 2007 | Comments

Disney and Pixar aim for their eighth straight number one hit together with the latest computer animated film from the industry experts, "Ratatouille."

For those looking for a higher body count in their weekend entertainment, Fox offers the actioner "Live Free or Die Hard" which stands as the ninth sequel in nine weeks this summer. In more limited national release, Lionsgate expands its Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" while Focus opens its anti-"Die Hard" pic "Evening." This weekend’s box office champ will only have a short-lived stay at number one since "Transformers" will begin its assault on the multiplexes on Monday night attacking at 8pm.

Scurrying into its usual position atop the charts, Pixar returns to capture the family audience with "Ratatouille" hoping for what could be a long run at the summer box office. The G-rated pic tells of a lovable rat with a gift for cooking that finds itself working secretly in a famous Paris restaurant with a clumsy human boy. Brad Bird ("The Incredibles," "The Iron Giant") directs and the voice cast includes Patton Oswalt, Peter O’Toole, Brian Dennehy, and Janeane Garofalo. Not the biggest names in the biz, but this one will not be sold on the starpower of actors. It is the Pixar brand name, and to an extent the Disney logo, that will bring in paying customers. Parents and children know they are guaranteed a great time so the brand will sell itself. Reviews have also been glowing across the board which will help too.

Last summer, the Disney/Pixar team saw its "Cars" drive off with $60.1M on opening weekend on its way to a $244.1M final which by the end of the year made it the second biggest blockbuster of 2006 after "Dead Man’s Chest." "Night at the Museum"’s prolonged run into 2007 allowed it to eventually surpass "Cars." Pixar’s previous toons "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo" both bowed at the $70M mark however. "Ratatouille" will cater to the same audience, but direct competition for families will be tougher than it was with the prior pics. Though fading fast, "Evan Almighty" and the "Fantastic Four" sequel are both PG films specifically designed to appeal to kids and should steal away close to $25M combined. But the rat film should enjoy an extended stay in North American multiplexes as word-of-mouth will be very positive and moviegoers will enjoy having a new story with new characters instead of the same old sequels all the time. Launching in over 3,500 theaters, "Ratatouille" could gross about $57M this weekend.


Bruce Willis returns to his signature franchise after a dozen-year gap with "Live Free or Die Hard," Fox’s next big entry into the summer movie sweepstakes. Keeping with the new fad of tamer ratings, the fourth installment of the series keeps the action high but cuts back on extended shots of blood and foul language in order to secure the PG-13. The previous "Die Hards" were all R-rated with the last two being number one openers. Directed by Len Wiseman, who helmed both "Underworld" pics, "Live Free" co-stars Justin Long and finds Bruce’s John McClane character assigned to protect a computer hacker who holds the key to stopping a virtual terrorist from taking control of the country electronically.

Since today’s teenagers never felt the excitement of rushing out to the theaters to see a new "Die Hard" flick, the studio has worked hard to make it relevant to the most sought after demographic so they don’t think of this as their father’s action movie. The new rating, the high-tech plot, and the Mac-friendly Long could certainly help. Plus in a summer filled with super heroes and pirates, "Die Hard" gets retro with action not driven by effects, but by stunts. The audience should skew male and older. Plus there are die hard "Die Hard" fans that have been waiting patiently for twelve years that will be out upfront to see their hero return. Reviews have been good and the film actually delivers solid entertainment without being the type of creative disappointment that audiences have unfortunately become used to this summer. Opening Wednesday in 3,172 theaters, "Live Free or Die Hard" could generate about $31M over the three-day weekend and around $48M over the five-day debut period.

"Live Free or Die Hard"

Oscar winner Michael Moore turns his wrath on the health care system in his latest documentary "Sicko." The PG-13 entry comes with the filmmaker’s usual desperate need to generate controversy in order to sell tickets. The new film does not carry with it the monstrous buzz that propelled "Fahrenheit 9/11" to a surprise number one opening three years ago. Given the subject matter, "Sicko" should skew older. Lionsgate is rolling the film out slowly instead of opening nationwide on the first weekend as it should take a little longer to get people interested in buying a ticket. The distributor is hoping that last weekend’s solo New York debut, last Saturday’s sneak previews in Moore-friendly markets, and this frame’s limited expansion to a few hundred sites will get people talking as the country heads into the Fourth of July holiday week ahead. Holiday buzz would then justify a wider rollout. Expanding to 441 theaters on Friday, "Sicko" could collect about $7M and generate a sizzling per-theater average.


In the weekend’s toughest sell, acclaimed Hollywood actresses band together to define the term "chick flick" with the dying-mother drama "Evening." Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, and Toni Collette star in the Focus release which should see most of its business come from white adult women. The PG-13 film is trying to offer summer ticket buyers an alternative to the endless string of testosterone-fueled action sequels, but it comes up short when it comes to commercial bells and whistles. Sure there is some well-respected starpower, but comedy always sells better than drama with female-skewing pictures. And look for mothers to join their kids for "Ratatouille" which take many in the target audience out of the picture. Opening nationally in 978 theaters, "Evening" might gross about $3M this weekend.


Last weekend’s top earner "Evan Almighty" wasn’t exactly explosive out of the gate. This weekend will be a tough one as well since Pixar will steal away the family audience and John McClane will take away his share of summer moviegoers too. A 50% drop to about $15M would leave Universal with $60M after ten days.

"1408" scared up some strong sales last weekend in its debut. But fright flicks fall hard on the second weekend so a 55% decline would give the John Cusack thriller around $9.5M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $39M.

A similar fate could await "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which tumbled by 66% in its sophomore session. Fox might drop down to roughly $9M boosting the 17-day total to $115M.

LAST YEAR: Warner Bros. flew into the top spot with the ultraexpensive comic flick "Superman Returns" which bowed to a not-so-muscular $52.5M over three days and $84.6M in its first five days. The Man of Steel made its way to $200.1M domestically and $390M worldwide which fell below industry expectations. Exceeding pre-release expectations was Meryl Streep‘s "The Devil Wears Prada" which bowed to $27.5M for Fox. The sleeper hit went on to gross a surprisingly strong $124.7M in North America and did exceptionally well overseas too with a global tally of $325M. Rounding out the top five were Adam Sandler‘s "Click" with $19.9M, the Disney/Pixar hit "Cars" with $14.6M, and Jack Black‘s "Nacho Libre" with $6.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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