Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Rock's "Gang" Aims to Score Big

by | September 14, 2006 | Comments

Following the worst box office weekend in three years, Hollywood has nowhere to go but up. It hopes.

Four new pictures enter wide release on Friday led by the sports drama "Gridiron Gang" from Sony which is gunning for its tenth trip to the number one spot this year. Universal goes after an older crowd with the crime thriller "The Black Dahlia," Fox aims for kids with the animated film "Everyone’s Hero," and Paramount tries to court the adult date crowd with "The Last Kiss." Overall, the North American marketplace should bounce back from last weekend’s horrible showing, but only by a small margin.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hopes to score the fifth number one opening of his career this weekend with the football saga "Gridiron Gang." The PG-13 film finds the wrestler-turned-actor playing a juvenile camp officer who assembles a pigskin squad in order to give lost kids some hope in life. Sony is targeting one of the most reliable moviegoing segments with "Gang" – urban youth. With a young and multicultural cast, plus a star in the lead role, this new film hopes to appeal to the same crowd that made hits out of other sports flicks like "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter." Of course, the star this time is not an Oscar-caliber actor. "Gang’s" marketing push has been strong and an ultrawide release will make the product available everywhere.


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Gridiron Gang."

The Rock provides solid starpower, although his box office muscle in recent years has delivered openings in a very narrow range. Pics like "The Rundown," "Walking Tall," and "Doom" have all debuted within the $15-19M range. "Gridiron Gang’s" rating should open the doors to a wider audience and with the start of the NFL and college football seasons, the subject matter is very relevant at this time of year. Plus with a dead marketplace featuring choices that are exciting nobody, teens and young adults should find this one the only film worth rallying behind. Charging into 3,504 locations, "Gridiron Gang" will have no problem conquering the box office and could score around $17M this weekend.

Moviegoers opting for a trip back to the 1940s instead of a football pic can choose Brian De Palma‘s "The Black Dahlia" which Universal opens on Friday. The R-rated thriller stars Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as Los Angeles cops investigating the mysterious death of a young woman chopped in half and disemboweled. Scarlett Johansson and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank take the token female roles. Just as with "Hollywoodland" which bowed last weekend, "Dahlia" will play to an older adult audience interested in LA-based crime noir pics from the mid twentieth century. Unlike with the younger-skewing "Gridiron Gang," reviews will play a big part in the success or failure of "Dahlia." This one needs more support from critics than it’s getting in order to become a commercial winner. Starpower is certainly there, but the subject matter may not pique the interest of adults across all 50 states. Add in competition for the target audience plus an overall slowdown in moviegoing activity and it may be hard for the studio to break even on this one. "The Black Dahlia" enters 2,224 theaters and might collect around $9M this weekend.


Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart are on the case in "The Black Dahlia."

Following this summer’s "Superman Returns" and last week’s George Reeves mystery "Hollywoodland," the Man of Steel spotlight now turns to the late Christopher Reeve whose final project, the animated sports tale "Everyone’s Hero," makes its way into theaters on Friday. With voices provided by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and William H. Macy, the G-rated flick tells of a boy on a mission to retrieve Babe Ruth’s stolen bat. Reeve co-directed with Colin Brady and Dan St. Pierre. Fox will be looking to attract kids and Little League coach parents with "Hero." The film is not registering too high on the priority lists of children. But the studio does have one thing working in its favor – the current marketplace has nothing major for children. And don’t expect the other new releases to appeal to the family crowd either. Opening surprisingly wide in 2,896 theaters, "Everyone’s Hero" could score around $7M this weekend.


The animated Babe Ruth in Christopher Reeve’s "Everyone’s Hero."

TV stars Zach Braff of NBC’s "Scrubs" and Rachel Bilson of Fox’s "The O.C." join forces on the big screen in "The Last Kiss" which Paramount inherited from its DreamWorks tie-up. The R-rated remake of an Italian film about a man in the early stages of a mid-life crisis also stars Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, and Tom Wilkinson. The marketing push behind "Kiss" has been lacking so look for the romantic dramedy to become a small blip on the box office radar this weekend. Adult women will make up the primary audience making period pics "Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland" direct competitors. Consumer excitement is pretty low for "The Last Kiss" which heads into only 1,100 theaters. A weekend gross of roughly $4M could result.


Zach Braff and that chick from "The Real World" in "The Last Kiss."

The new fall season brings a flood of activity in limited-release action. Balcony Releasing got the frame started on Wednesday with its New York opening of the political doc "Al Franken: God Spoke" which adds a second Manhattan venue on Friday. The raunchy softball comedy "Artie Lange’s Beer League" opens on Friday in about 175 theaters. With Ralph Macchio in the cast, the R-rated Echo Bridge release should find itself stuck in six-digit territory. Yari Film Group unleashes the Cayman Islands-set drama "Haven," which stars Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton, into 24 theaters across the country.

The mockumentary wedding comedy "Confetti" bows in a dozen sites from Fox Searchlight. American troops in Iraq are the focus of the Focus Features documentary "The Ground Truth" which attacks eight theaters. Lionsgate offers up its own non-fiction flick "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" in six playdates examining the Beatles icon’s rage against the establishment.

Sony’s ninth number one of the year "The Covenant" looks to get booted out of the top spot by the studio’s tenth chart-topper. A 50% drop would give the teen thriller about $4.5M for the frame and a modest ten-day cume of $15M. "Hollywoodland" lacked strength in its debut and will now face a direct hit from "Dahlia" so a 45% decline could be in order. That would give Focus around $3.5M over the weekend putting the total at a weak $11M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Reese Witherspoon captured the number one spot with her latest comedy "Just Like Heaven" which grossed $16.4M on its way to $48.3M for DreamWorks. Sony’s surprise suspense hit "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" lost half its business and dropped to second with $14.9M in its sophomore frame. Nicolas Cage bowed in third with his new actioner "Lord of War" with $9.4M. The Lions Gate release reached $24.1M. Steve Carell enjoyed his fifth week in the top five with "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" which laughed up $6M. The horror pic "Cry Wolf" bowed poorly in fifth with only $4.4M leading to a $10M finish.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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