Box Office Guru Preview: Cage, Roberts, and Rudd Battle For #1 Spot

Knowing, Duplicity, I Love You, Man to battle it out.

by | March 19, 2009 | Comments

Three new films roll into North American multiplexes and for the first time in ages, all three have a realistic chance of claiming the number one spot. Comedies have been overperforming this year so a slight edge could go to Paramount’s raunchy buddy flick I Love You, Man. Julia Roberts returns with her first major lead role in years with the spy action-comedy Duplicity co-starring Clive Owen. And Nicolas Cage dips into the action well yet again with the doomsday thriller Knowing. The new releases are different enough that they should help the box office climb higher than last week’s levels.

Hoping to become the fourth R-rated film to hit number one this year, I Love You, Man enters a marketplace that has been very kind to comedy, all sorts of comedies. Produced by DreamWorks and released by Paramount, the buddy comedy about a newly-engaged man who must find a male friend to be the best man at his wedding will appeal to a broad audience. The storyline offers appeal to both men and women and moviegoers from their late teens to their forties will want to take a look. Leads Paul Rudd and Jason Segel both have won over audiences in the past with their various Judd Apatow projects so starpower is ample for this type of film. But Duplicity will appeal to many of the same people and could take away some dough.

Man will try to get into the same neighborhood as Rudd’s Role Models and Segel’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall which bowed last year to $19.2M and $17.7M, respectively. Both were R-rated comedies debuting outside the prime summer season, but were released a bit wider in just under 2,800 locations. With Madea Goes to Jail being the only comedy in the current top five, the time is right for another broad laugher, even if it has a restrictive rating. Because of the raunchy nature of the humor, marketing materials have fallen into two categories. The studio has wisely used the internet to preview uncensored parts of the film with a hilarious red-band trailer plus age-restricted clips in more recent weeks. But the mainstream commercial spots just aren’t as funny thanks to the limitations of what jokes they can include. Those that only see the TV commercials may not feel that they are going to have a fun time at all. But reviews have been good for the most part which may help convince ticket buyers by Friday. Opening in over 2,500 locations, I Love You, Man could debut with about $18M.

Jason Segel and Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man

It’s been over a half-decade since Julia Roberts has headlined a major Hollywood release. She reunites with Clive Owen for the caper film Duplicity with the two popular actors playing former spies trying to pull a fast one in corporate America. Directed by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), the PG-13 film co-stars Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti. Aside from raising her three kids, Roberts has kept busy with supporting roles (Ocean’s Twelve, Charlie Wilson’s War), voice roles (Charlotte’s Web, The Ant Bully), and a lead in Closer with Owen which was only given a moderate release playing in less than 1,100 sites at its widest point. These films did not rely solely on her starpower to pull in ticket sales. Now she has the opportunity to show the industry if she still has what it takes to open a film.

Duplicity is essentially like a less violent version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Instead of slam-bang, it’s got chit-chat. Adult women should make up the largest group but the male appeal is strong too. Interest from teens may be light. The marketing has been trying to give off an Ocean’s vibe, only moviegoers know they are getting fewer stars for the money. The Roberts-Owen combo will add some value as the target audience enjoys their chemistry. Universal is not going ultrawide with this title so Danny Ocean numbers are not possible. Plus mature audiences pay attention to critics so the mixed reviews will make some hesitate. Opening in about 2,400 theaters, Duplicity might gross around $16M this weekend.

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in Duplicity

Nicolas Cage headlines Summit’s doomsday action thriller Knowing which finds the Oscar winner playing a professor who discovers a secret code that foretells deadly events about to occur around the world. The PG-13 film boasts no other major stars but Cage is enough to anchor a pic in this genre. His track record varies in this field with big hits like the National Treasure adventures and clunkers like his last offering Bangkok Dangerous which bowed to $7.8M and Next which opened to only $7.1M. Knowing has an intriguing, though unoriginal, plot and TV spots have been cramming all the effects shots into a 30-second package hoping to lure those in need of an adrenaline rush. With some action titles already out, there will be some solid competition. Plus the other two new releases will steal away some business from adult audiences as many will see this as the latest recycled attempt by Cage to save the world. As the weekend’s widest new release, Knowing will invade over 3,000 theaters on Friday and could walk away with about $15M.

Nicolas Cage in Knowing

Disney scored a hit last weekend with Race to Witch Mountain which should enjoy a good hold this weekend since none of the new films will steal much cash from the family audience. Looking back at similar live-action hits from the studio, Dwayne Johnson’s The Game Plan dipped by only 28% in its second weekend while Vin Diesel‘s March hit from 2005 The Pacifier fell by 41% although it faced direct family competition. Despite all the new films hitting theaters on Friday, Witch Mountain should still finish in the top five. A decline of 35% may occur giving the effects-driven adventure around $16M for the weekend and a cume of $47M after ten days.

Watchmen will continue on its downward path but the fall will be less than the hefty 68% tumble suffered last weekend. The Warner Bros. comic flick may see a 55% drop which would give the band of heroes roughly $8M for the frame and push the 17-day total just shy of $100M.

Rarely does a horror pic fall by less than 50% on the second weekend. Universal’s The Last House on the Left looks to play out in a typical way and may drop 55% this weekend. The revenge thriller would then take in about $6M and raise its ten-day tally to $24.5M. The other vengeance-based film out right now Taken will have some competition for mature adults and action fans. Still, the Liam Neeson sensation has been defying gravity and may slip by only 20% this weekend. Fox would up its cume to an impressive $134M.

LAST YEAR: Fox’s Horton Hears a Who remained in the top spot for a second straight weekend dropping 45% from its debut to $24.6M pushing its ten-day start to a robust $86M. A trio of new releases followed led by Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns which landed in second with a $20.1M opening and stellar $10,011 average for Lionsgate. Not faring as well were Fox’s horror entry Shutter with $10.4M and Paramount’s comedy Drillbit Taylor which debuted close behind with $10.3M. Final grosses for the three openers were $42M, $25.9M, and $32.9M respectively. Rounding out the top five was 10,000 B.C. with $8.9M in its third frame.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,

Tag Cloud

Christmas popular Paramount Plus disaster natural history space halloween Box Office OWN game show Super Bowl Biopics Television Critics Association docudrama Showtime child's play Adult Swim Trailer WGN HBO Go feel good GoT Stephen King werewolf Spike Comic Book biopic dramedy godzilla twilight 2020 Instagram Live Summer 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards rom-coms target ITV Rock monster movies dark Rom-Com dragons facebook films die hard History 72 Emmy Awards television 20th Century Fox Mudbound Awards king arthur APB Reality Competition black comedy Epix science fiction CNN Superheroe scene in color Brie Larson Nat Geo FXX TNT dreamworks spain kaiju leaderboard italian aliens 2016 mcc Film Festival heist movie E3 Disney Channel comic books police drama genre Rocky 1990s Mindy Kaling saw kong Ellie Kemper cancelled television cinemax ID Marathons rt labs critics edition cartoon Animation VOD TIFF Pop Emmys psychological thriller criterion art house olympics razzies Vudu TCA Winter 2020 Opinion animated Image Comics Neflix rt labs A24 mutant cancelled TV shows Pop TV thriller hispanic heritage month award winner australia golden globe awards Tarantino Hallmark GLAAD Spectrum Originals PBS Trophy Talk Best and Worst Music TruTV ABC Signature Fox News Pride Month Acorn TV Comedy Central Calendar American Society of Cinematographers CW Seed MCU richard e. Grant cancelled The CW batman singing competition TV comiccon Turner Classic Movies 73rd Emmy Awards reviews halloween tv critics GIFs Mary poppins 24 frames indiana jones sports Warner Bros. marvel comics doctor who Alien slasher Writers Guild of America 2021 name the review adventure Cannes BAFTA witnail Endgame kids Paramount Network psycho Hulu Video Games TCA 2017 worst stoner The Arrangement The Walking Dead christmas movies Syfy hist Avengers Holidays dexter Crackle RT History Podcast mockumentary supernatural video on demand period drama spanish language sopranos Ghostbusters james bond Comic-Con@Home 2021 technology young adult Family talk show DC Universe aapi Esquire Trivia Emmy Nominations Sundance Now reboot Apple superman Tags: Comedy BBC One ABC Family San Diego Comic-Con Mary Tyler Moore Teen USA MTV universal monsters legend comic book movie Amazon Prime toronto IFC Films Amazon Studios DC streaming service rotten movies we love lord of the rings adaptation Fall TV Pirates marvel cinematic universe trophy Tokyo Olympics DC Comics spider-man franchise Dark Horse Comics Winners dogs CMT justice league anime Lifetime Christmas movies venice debate worst movies Hallmark Christmas movies finale Elton John TLC scary Shondaland renewed TV shows japanese all-time composers SDCC historical drama suspense king kong Thanksgiving Chilling Adventures of Sabrina tv talk YouTube Red Toys Anna Paquin ratings Exclusive Video Binge Guide Sundance Netflix screenings stand-up comedy Masterpiece 93rd Oscars TV Land canceled Bravo medical drama Horror mission: impossible vs. BBC Tumblr HFPA romance Star Trek documentary jurassic park sitcom Universal Pictures movie DirecTV rotten See It Skip It boxing Starz streaming movies deadpool IMDb TV Lucasfilm blaxploitation Cosplay Fargo spanish toy story strong female leads Photos adenture archives YouTube Premium Ovation 21st Century Fox sequels trailers Red Carpet USA Network Arrowverse jamie lee curtis The Purge HBO Action nbcuniversal Food Network Apple TV+ best cooking DGA AMC blockbuster President 71st Emmy Awards NBC Captain marvel SXSW FOX true crime nature live action TV movies Baby Yoda emmy awards TBS A&E versus unscripted book basketball Freeform LGBTQ Hear Us Out independent gangster mob prank CBS 007 El Rey Britbox Crunchyroll hidden camera what to watch Winter TV Peacock New York Comic Con Legendary Apple TV Plus indie ViacomCBS The Witch a nightmare on elm street book adaptation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt serial killer BET anthology harry potter screen actors guild dceu Premiere Dates japan Certified Fresh Columbia Pictures Country Women's History Month FX 2019 crime drama remakes elevated horror Watching Series Amazon Prime Video asian-american Schedule spy thriller Disney+ Disney Plus new york First Reviews live event zero dark thirty Chernobyl YA romantic comedy OneApp royal family streaming docuseries Polls and Games war RT21 Amazon The Academy Wes Anderson revenge scary movies crime thriller National Geographic First Look south america ESPN Sneak Peek Cartoon Network political drama Shudder Drama Infographic E! Pet Sematary X-Men Superheroes black Countdown series Oscars hispanic boxoffice BBC America Nominations based on movie sequel Disney streaming service game of thrones action-comedy concert travel cats rt archives Netflix Christmas movies Marvel Television cancelled TV series superhero 2017 Logo parents Mystery classics teaser critic resources 99% pirates of the caribbean Spring TV news zombie Classic Film football directors blockbusters Turner posters Comics on TV Pacific Islander Awards Tour crime scorecard french Heroines 79th Golden Globes Awards fresh dc nfl robots cars latino TCA Awards NYCC free movies Set visit casting Quiz CBS All Access Kids & Family YouTube laika cops Extras Tomatazos TV One LGBT chucky Broadway spinoff Sundance TV Sci-Fi vampires Marvel new zealand Fantasy stop motion comics Reality crossover miniseries Comedy green book Black Mirror ABC FX on Hulu know your critic Marvel Studios Martial Arts comic book movies zombies Western Musicals festival 45 women 2015 PlayStation high school theme song Television Academy obituary Discovery Channel PaleyFest binge BET Awards Film Year in Review canceled TV shows Interview hollywood new star wars movies Black History Month ghosts Tubi TV renewals breaking bad TCM documentaries Musical Holiday satire wonder woman Paramount politics Lifetime cults comedies The Walt Disney Company Hollywood Foreign Press Association 4/20 HBO Max SundanceTV NBA video movies festivals Grammys international 90s quibi comic social media Fox Searchlight Creative Arts Emmys Disney Plus TCA Funimation transformers telelvision diversity MSNBC Sony Pictures Song of Ice and Fire Prime Video 2018 Pixar biography Character Guide Rocketman fast and furious Travel Channel Valentine's Day golden globes Mary Poppins Returns Universal VH1 slashers foreign IFC spider-verse Disney Walt Disney Pictures sag awards discovery Nickelodeon Lionsgate VICE AMC Plus Star Wars Election WarnerMedia joker children's TV Academy Awards