Matt Damon aims to gun down his competitors and rule the North American box office this weekend with The Bourne Ultimatum, the third in the popular spy series, which opens on Friday aiming to sell more tickets than the frame’s four other new wide releases combined. The Universal release reteams the actor with director Paul Greengrass who helmed the last installment in the franchise The Bourne Supremacy which bowed to $52.5M in July 2004 on its way to a stellar $176.1M domestic cume. The Bourne series has been very well-received and fans do not seem sick of it yet so expect most to return for this new threequel.
Ultimatum has three major advantages over Supremacy – 500 more theaters, slightly higher ticket prices, and less competition from action flicks. Three years ago when the last Bourne bowed on top, the next three films on the charts were all action titles gobbling up a similar $53.5M between them. This time, Hollywood has taken a break with comedies and wizardry filling up the top five so audiences should be ready for an action-packed film from a reliable brand name. As is often the case with the third part in a franchise, there will be some who feel they saw this twice before and don’t need to spend money yet again for the same entertainment. And others will feel that the summer’s eleventh sequel will be a bit too much.
However, ticket sales from adults over 25 should be solid since Ultimatum‘s serious tone counters the wave of immature films flooding the marketplace. Plus critics
are showering the new Bourne with praise which will help convince those with some doubt. Invading 3,661 locations, Universal could possibly score its biggest
opening in four years with The Bourne Ultimatum which might bow to around $55M this weekend.
Moviegoers that like their super hero antics from a canine do not have to fear. Buena Vista rolls out the family adventure Underdog
which tells of a pooch that gains super powers after a lab accident and becomes a crime fighter that protects the citizens of his town. Loosely based on the cartoon which was a cult favorite, the PG-rated film has no major starpower and falls into the common boy-and-his-dog genre which there always seems to be a market for. There has not been much PG fare for younger kids over the last month so family audiences should be looking for a new movie to try out. This one will have to rely on the brand name which could entice parents to take a trip down memory lane. Opening in around 2,800 theaters, Underdog
could debut with approximately $11M.
“Why must I feel like that, why must I chase the cat?”
takes the leap from Saturday Night Live to his first lead role in a film with Hot Rod
playing a slacker with big dreams of being a respected stuntman. The PG-13 film is aimed squarely at immature boys who often represent a lucrative audience in the dog days of summer. Samberg has made a name for himself on SNL more through his popular short films than his sketches, and has reached millions of fans online because of them. Hot Rod
represents a test to see if that can translate at all to the box office where people actually have to pay money for his humor. Homer, Chuck, and Harry are all pulling in young males so competition will be a big factor. Even Jason will cast a wide net. But the slacker crowd could show up in some number before turning this into a hit DVD for Paramount during the holiday season. Jumping into 2,500 theaters, Hot Rod
might debut with roughly $10M.
Transforming robots aren’t the only toys to get their own movie this summer. Lionsgate targets young girls with Bratz
, a live-action flick based on the popular dolls, which looks to have no success outside of its core demographic. The PG-rated film is not getting much of a marketing push with any audience segment other than tween females so the grosses will be limited. But with so many testosterone movies this season, something specifically designed for this underserved audience will find itself a little shelf space. The teen girl crowd can often be unpredictable as seen with last August’s Step Up
zooming to $65.3M while Material Girls
sputtered to just $11.4M. Bratz
, which enters 1,509 theaters on Friday, should end up in the lower end of that range and open to around $5M.
like, omg we’re bffs!
Real-life hubby and wife Mark Anthony
and Jennifer Lopez
star in El Cantante
, a biopic on Puerto Rican salsa pioneer Hector Lavoe
. The R-rated drama is getting a moderate national release from Picturehouse with about 600 theaters running the film this weekend. Fans of the actor/singers are being counted on to show up and business from Latino audiences should be solid. But the pic lacks the kind of commercial buzz that could make it crossover to other audience groups. Reviews have not been too good either which could prevent wider appeal. But there is nothing else like it in the marketplace so El Cantante
could post a respectable average and collect about $3M this weekend.
Lopez and Anthony react to the low tomatometer rating
After a spectacular opening weekend, The Simpsons Movie
is bound to fall hard in its sophomore frame since its die-hard fan base rushed out over the debut period already. A 55% fall could result which would leave the Fox toon with an impressive $33M gross and a muscular ten-day haul of $138M. Adam Sandler
‘s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
might slide by 40% to about $11.5M for a cume of $92M for Universal while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
should drop by 45% to $10M giving Warner Bros.$261M to date.
LAST YEAR: Will Ferrell raced to the top spot with the comedy Talladega Nights which bowed to an impressive $47M. The Sony release went on to gross $148M. Debuting far back in second place was the animated film Barnyard with $15.8M to kick off a leggy run that resulted in a $72.6M final for Paramount. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest placed third with $11M followed by Miami Vice which tumbled by 60% in its second weekend to $10.2M. Lionsgate opened its horror flick The Descent with $8.9M on its way to $26M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com