Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Wide Open Race For #1 Spot This Weekend

Five films compete for box office crown.

by | October 11, 2007 | Comments

Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ The Rock making for what should be a free-for-all at the North American box office with many different studios having a realistic shot at claiming the number one spot. Among the top contenders are Sony’s crime thriller We Own the Night, the Lionsgate comedy Why Did I Get Married?, and the George Clooney vehicle Michael Clayton which expands nationally after its scorching debut in limited release. Adding to the mix are the costume drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the baseball tale The Final Season. The box office race should be a tight one with as many as four films likely to reach the low double digit millions.

Oscar nominated actors Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix face off as brothers on different sides of the law in the new action thriller We Own the Night. The R-rated pic co-stars Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes and will target an adult audience with a slightly male skew. The former Marky Mark proved his box office pull last spring as the only major star in Shooter which bowed to $14.5M and a $5,176 average by targeting the same audience. Things will be more difficult this time because of the intense competition for mature audiences especially from Michael Clayton. But Night‘s biggest advantage over Michael is that it has two commercial stars instead of just one. The combo should lead to a slim edge at the cash registers.

Despite its awkward title, Night has been pushing itself as an action-packed thriller with faces people love to watch. Reviews have been mixed and with such a crowded field, it will be hard to stand out as a must-see option. Starpower should be the main factor here and showdowns between two solid actors are usually popular with ticket buyers. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, We Own the Night could debut to about $12M.

Phoenix and Wahlberg in We Own the Night

Taking on those boys with some machismo of his own, George Clooney heads into wide release with his legal drama Michael Clayton which Warner Bros. has drummed up plenty of awards buzz for. The R-rated pic bowed to a sizzling $47,994 average last weekend from its platform bow in the Clooney-friendly towns of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto. This weekend, the thriller will face the real test when it enters every major market across the 50 states. Thanks to his political outspokenness, the Academy Award winning actor has become a polarizing figure. He could easily win an election to become mayor of Hollywood, but in other parts of the country people would gladly pay theaters to not play his movies.

Clayton will test his drawing power since the film has no other box office anchors in it. Co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack are well-respected, but they don’t sell tickets. There is plenty of direct competition which is why the film got a head start a week early. Buzz from its red hot platform bow has spread helping to build interest. The crowd will consist of the same people that opened Syriana to $11.7M, The Black Dahlia to $10M, and Zodiac to $13.4M. Night will take away some males and Elizabeth will steal some females so a huge gross will be hard to find. But over the long-term the film could have legs. Expanding into 2,511 locations, Michael Clayton stands as the widest of the new offerings and may capture around $11M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.

Clooney as Clayton

Tyler Perry‘s latest relationship comedy Why Did I Get Married? finds trouble brewing when four married couples come together for an annual winter getaway. The writer/director’s films have always tapped into his loyal fan base with African American women at the core. His 2005 smash Diary of a Mad Black Woman surprised the industry with its first-place debut with $21.9M and a $14,771 average and was followed a year later by Madea’s Family Reunion which grew bigger with a $30M launch. Perry’s last pic Daddy’s Little Girls, also a February release, saw more modest numbers with a $11.2M opening as the filmmaker did not star in the pic.

Married does not have the promotional value of Black History Month or the help of Presidents Day which Girls had early this year. However, Perry’s new film will not face any direct competitors for its target audience. Girls had to face the second weekend of Eddie Murphy‘s hit comedy Norbit which offered some audience overlap. Plus Married boasts more starpower with Perry back on screen and an added boost will come from Janet Jackson who is always a strong draw at the box office with the target audience every time she makes a rare appearance in a movie. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate is unlike anything else in the marketplace right now and with few buzzworthy films aimed at black moviegoers in recent months, it should successfully connect. Debuting in 2,011 theaters, Why Did I Get Married? might open with roughly $12M this weekend.

Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?
Another female-driven film, but taking place centuries ago and across the pond, is the historical drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age which finds Cate Blanchett reprising the role of the British Queen which made her a star nine years ago. The PG-13 pic also finds Geoffrey Rush returning and adds Clive Owen to the mix telling the story of the later years of the monarch’s 16th century reign when threats from Spain and a possible love affair at home led to new challenges. Though at the core a costume drama like its predecessor, Universal’s marketing has played up the action and adventure elements in hopes of attracting men looking for warfare and battle scenes. That may backfire when word gets out that there is actually very little action on screen.

The first Elizabeth opened in limited release in November 1998 and rolled through awards season that winter eventually reaching an impressive $30M while never playing in more than 600 theaters. It also bagged seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Now the studio is hoping that a built-in audience will want to take another trip to the past. Though the first was an acclaimed picture, no real demand ever surfaced for a sequel. So it will be tough for Golden Age at the box office especially with all the competition. Female-led dramas often struggle in the marketplace since it is often too hard for adult women to drag men with them to the multiplex for these stories. New films from Clooney and Wahlberg offer more cross-gender appeal. Ordering her troops into 2,000 theaters on Friday, Elizabeth: The Golden Age might take home about $8M over the three-day period.

Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush in Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Likely to strike out at the box office this weekend is the high school baseball pic The Final Season which stars Sean Astin, Larry Miller, and Powers Boothe. The PG-rated film offers no starpower and has generated very little excitement for itself in the marketplace. Most sports fans interested in the national pastime will tune into the playoffs on their television sets this weekend. A quick trip to DVD is assured for this one which has no guarantee to clinch a spot in the top ten. Opening in about 1,000 theaters, a weekend take of just $2M could be in the works.

The Final Season

Among holdovers, The Game Plan surprised the industry two weeks in a row by taking the number one spot. Given its strong legs and continued lack of competition for the family audience and younger teens, a third round on top is not totally out of the question. Should all the newbies eat into each other and all fail to reach the $12M mark, the Disney kidpic by default may stay put. A 25% decline would give The Game Plan a third weekend tally of $12.5M pushing the 17-day total to a solid $58M.

Paramount and DreamWorks were caught by surprise by the lack of strength for the opening of the Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid. With nothing to keep it afloat, a 45% decline might be in order especially since adults will be distracted by a wide assortment of other options. That would give the Farrelly brothers a sophomore session of about $7.5M and a cume of only $25.5M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Sony used the Friday the 13th before Halloween to launch the sequel to one of the most successful horror films in history and captured the number one spot. The Grudge 2 bowed on top with $20.8M accounting for more than half of its $39.1M final. Eventual Oscar champ The Departed slipped to second with $19M easing only 29% for Warner Bros. The Robin Williams political comedy Man of the Year debuted in third with $12.3M before finishing with a disappointing $37.3M for Universal. Rounding out the top five were the Sony toon Open Season with $11.1M and New Line’s fright franchise flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning with $7.5M for a steep 60% plunge. Opening with weak results in sixth was the action pic The Marine with $7.1M on its way to $18.8M for Fox. The religious-themed drama One Night with the King bowed to $4.1M with a good $4,518 average and finished with $13.4M for 8X.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

PaleyFest Bravo 007 mcc Comedy ghosts 93rd Oscars Trailer 20th Century Fox Toys harry potter BAFTA psychological thriller book diversity HBO BBC America Legendary football worst Travel Channel movies Valentine's Day international TV Land 2020 canceled Turner Classic Movies historical drama Country HBO Max Musical Apple TV+ italian blockbuster FXX discovery Apple TV Plus canceled TV shows MSNBC children's TV VH1 OneApp Hear Us Out Marvel Studios cults Avengers Dark Horse Comics Extras SDCC versus Cannes Awards Tour Premiere Dates VOD Tumblr green book Nominations book adaptation Instagram Live YouTube Premium Sci-Fi Comics on TV dceu witnail Rocky game show YouTube Red blaxploitation First Look robots psycho japanese toy story GLAAD singing competition TCA 2017 Paramount Network HBO Go Marathons Polls and Games boxing ITV Western Starz 73rd Emmy Awards cops Endgame reviews TCA Awards E3 basketball Heroines name the review mob debate TIFF emmy awards Reality Competition rt labs critics edition Captain marvel Binge Guide Disney Certified Fresh Pirates comic kong streaming movies Mudbound Comedy Central heist movie The Walking Dead based on movie cats Trivia twilight Spectrum Originals GoT archives Mary Tyler Moore spain Amazon south america Sundance TV TCM suspense Photos A24 PBS 1990s Baby Yoda Logo DC Comics Nat Geo serial killer indie posters Character Guide National Geographic 45 NYCC Best and Worst rotten movies we love Fox News Rom-Com halloween dexter Awards laika trailers quibi award winner Disney+ Disney Plus 24 frames Women's History Month deadpool Alien Shondaland technology hispanic heritage month worst movies Crunchyroll strong female leads hollywood action-comedy 90s Ovation 2019 spinoff golden globe awards RT History Disney Plus mockumentary screenings Masterpiece cooking adventure science fiction revenge Film Rocketman Freeform latino Holidays scene in color mission: impossible ABC 2015 comics teaser Fantasy Tarantino feel good sequels Quiz breaking bad A&E WarnerMedia Box Office TV One supernatural boxoffice The Academy aliens Spike razzies GIFs Rock DirecTV unscripted cars Neflix dragons batman ratings parents renewed TV shows The Walt Disney Company Brie Larson Hallmark Fox Searchlight Christmas live event tv talk Ghostbusters scary RT21 LGBTQ rt archives zombies Walt Disney Pictures CW Seed die hard 71st Emmy Awards TV game of thrones binge Set visit Star Trek CNN Mystery CBS SXSW Reality know your critic Hulu television Lucasfilm PlayStation slasher movie TCA Columbia Pictures X-Men chucky CMT Spring TV genre Lifetime Britbox biopic Opinion animated marvel comics crossover festival Film Festival Fall TV Discovery Channel Crackle spanish child's play Summer TNT young adult dark stoner dramedy Pop TV FX on Hulu dreamworks new zealand true crime Cartoon Network Cosplay DC Universe BET Awards classics Sundance Now Black Mirror Video Games new star wars movies Arrowverse travel golden globes cancelled TV series monster movies Drama cinemax indiana jones FOX LGBT Universal Martial Arts Trophy Talk cancelled television Sundance medical drama Kids & Family 21st Century Fox The Purge Netflix Christmas movies BET french mutant legend Exclusive Video slashers christmas movies MTV Classic Film japan thriller President live action aapi TLC jamie lee curtis comic book movies james bond nbcuniversal war directors 2016 FX police drama Black History Month casting Adult Swim art house DGA NBC what to watch 2018 high school universal monsters YA talk show jurassic park MCU History remakes elevated horror dogs Thanksgiving black comedy E! rom-coms social media Disney streaming service Infographic miniseries hidden camera Creative Arts Emmys Tomatazos politics Paramount Plus nature Song of Ice and Fire Winter TV disaster period drama biography anime ABC Signature El Rey ID Emmys cartoon fast and furious TruTV USA Network Comic Book NBA Amazon Studios foreign sag awards films lord of the rings docuseries adaptation zombie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV movies Oscars Year in Review Writers Guild of America vs. prank cancelled Marvel Television asian-american justice league Pixar 99% documentary scorecard IFC vampires Pet Sematary comedies rt labs comic book movie kaiju streaming Ellie Kemper australia theme song king arthur fresh San Diego Comic-Con Anna Paquin CBS All Access target king kong New York Comic Con USA independent cancelled TV shows halloween tv a nightmare on elm street new york Tokyo Olympics blockbusters criterion transformers Television Academy marvel cinematic universe Grammys romantic comedy Image Comics Action Syfy APB rotten Superheroes Funimation Comic-Con@Home 2021 video on demand Paramount venice Broadway Epix Emmy Nominations zero dark thirty Music spider-verse docudrama Red Carpet sopranos stop motion IFC Films 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Pop spider-man Wes Anderson Food Network gangster ABC Family joker festivals YouTube Turner Elton John Countdown Election ViacomCBS documentaries Stephen King nfl kids superhero 72 Emmy Awards IMDb TV obituary Amazon Prime Video Animation Horror natural history Schedule Tubi wonder woman Lionsgate Interview BBC concert BBC One Family sitcom Disney Channel critic resources Academy Awards VICE crime The Witch women Shudder reboot Musicals WGN OWN Biopics First Reviews critics facebook Pride Month Vudu free movies AMC Plus Pacific Islander franchise The CW comiccon Sneak Peek Superheroe 2017 best scary movies pirates of the caribbean popular spanish language Marvel black Watching Series composers 2021 ESPN SundanceTV Sony Pictures stand-up comedy hist telelvision Super Bowl satire anthology Netflix Esquire Winners comic books Universal Pictures hispanic Chernobyl screen actors guild news series richard e. Grant Warner Bros. sports adenture royal family toronto TCA Winter 2020 Peacock 4/20 Holiday werewolf Calendar American Society of Cinematographers video Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt romance TBS crime drama Apple Mindy Kaling Acorn TV finale Showtime sequel Teen Podcast Nickelodeon Lifetime Christmas movies doctor who all-time Star Wars dc godzilla space Hallmark Christmas movies TV renewals AMC Television Critics Association political drama crime thriller Mary Poppins Returns Amazon Prime See It Skip It saw spy thriller superman The Arrangement DC streaming service olympics Mary poppins