Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: War Leads Army of New Releases

Superbad likely to hold boxoffice in second week of release.

by | August 23, 2007 | Comments

Action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham face off this weekend in the new crime thriller War which leads a flood of new releases pouring into North American multiplexes trying to catch the final dollars of the summer movie season. The R-rated Lionsgate release finds the two playing an assassin and a federal agent, respectively, and will aim for young male audiences. Both actors have solid followings and the combination allows War to offer a two-for-one deal that will make the ticket price well worth it for many fans.

Li’s last films Fearless and Unleashed each bowed to just under $11M with averages of a little less than $6,000. Statham’s Crank opened over Labor Day weekend last year with $10.5M and an average of $4,158 over three days while during the same holiday frame in 2005 his action sequel Transporter 2 debuted to $16.5M with a $5,008 average over three days. Lionsgate has had a strong marketing push on War and should connect with male action fans. Last weekend’s top three films Superbad, Rush Hour 3, and The Bourne Ultimatum will all provide some direct competition, but a solid bow is likely. Opening in 2,271 theaters, War could premiere with about $14M this weekend.

Statham and Li compare wireless signals in War.

Scarlett Johansson plays the nanny to the family from hell in The Nanny Diaries, the big-screen adaptation of the popular novel. The PG-13 film co-stars Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti and will have some trouble appealing to moviegoers outside of its core white female demo. Critics have not been too supportive which will only hurt the film’s chances at the turnstiles. Nanny will be lucky to gross in its entire domestic run what last summer’s The Devil Wears Prada collected in just its opening weekend. As the lead, Johansson does not provide too much starpower so many will wait to catch this on DVD later. Debuting in about 1,800 theaters, MGM’s The Nanny Diaries could open to around $7M this weekend.

Johansson scaring young children in The Nanny Diaries.

One of the year’s biggest blockbusters overseas finally makes it to U.S. shores. Universal’s Mr. Bean’s Holiday targets families in the final days before students go back to the land of homework. The G-rated entry finds the popular British character winning a trip to France and of course, stumbling into all kinds of odd situations along the way. Having already grossed $189M internationally, Holiday doesn’t really need much success in North America to be a moneymaker, but it would like some more gravy on top. Competition is light, however the marketing push has not been too powerful so a modest debut could result. Falling into 1,580 venues, Mr. Bean’s Holiday might open with about $6M.

Bean up to his usual tricks in Holiday.

A struggling journalist tries to make a major news item out of the story of a homeless man who used to be a boxer in the new drama Resurrecting the Champ. Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett star in the PG-13 flick which lacks major buzz as it steps into the box office ring. Starpower is also weak in this one and paying audiences will be hard to find. Yari Film Group is releasing Champ in 1,602 theaters and could find itself with about $3M this weekend.

Resurrecting the Champ

Jon Voight stars in the Mormon massacre pic September Dawn which Slowhand Releasing will quietly unleash into about 850 theaters. Neither Voight nor Mormons are part of successful box office formulas and the marketing push has been minimal in this case so no big dollar amounts are expected. A three-day take of about $1.5M could be in the works.

Jon Voight in September Dawn.

Coming off of a spectacular opening weekend, Sony’s Superbad hopes to make it two in a row on top. The R-rated film’s only main competitor for young men will come from War as the frame’s other new releases either target different audience segments or will barely be a blip on the radar. A 45% drop to about $18M would give Superbad a ten-day tally of $70M.

Rush Hour 3 will race past the $100M mark this weekend and could slide by 50% to around $10.5M. That would give New Line $107M after 17 days. Fellow threequel The Bourne Ultimatum should have a better hold and drop by 40% to roughly $12M putting the Universal smash at $185M overall with its eye on the double-century mark by Labor Day.

LAST YEAR: Buena Vista topped the charts with its football saga Invincible which bowed at number one with $17M on its way to a solid $57.8M. Will Ferrell‘s comedy Talladega Nights placed second with $8.1M while Little Miss Sunshine expanded and jumped up to third place with $7.4M. Warner Bros. opened its comedy Beerfest in fourth with $7M leading to a $19.2M final. World Trade Center rounded out the top five with $6.5M in its third frame. Two smaller films debuting far below were Universal’s Idlewild with $5.7M and New Line’s How to Eat Fried Worms with $4M. Final tallies reached $12.6M and $13M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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