Box Office Guru Preview: Celeb Clan Takes on Pink Panther

Also: Push, Coraline to open this weekend.

by | February 5, 2009 | Comments

Four new releases hit North American multiplexes on Friday setting up a pair of cinematic fights. The main event sees rival franchise comedies go at it for the number one spot with He’s Just Not That Into You targeting the date crowd and The Pink Panther 2 reaching out to kids and families. The second battle is between two short-titled films starring young superstar Dakota Fanning who voices the title character in the girly animated fantasy and co-stars as a teen bad-ass in the sci-fi actioner Push. The overall box office looks to easily outpace the same weekend from a year ago.

The battle of the sexes unfolds this weekend with the all-star comedy He’s Just Not That Into You as the popular relationship book jumps to the big screen. The PG-13 film brings together the acting talents of Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Connelly. Seeing broader potential, Warner Bros. set up a marketing push for the New Line production that targets both genders preventing a ladies-only turnout. Sure females will outnumber the chaps, but a significant number of couples will pick up tickets since it doesn’t have an ultra chick flick vibe. You should target the same audiences that last year generated openings of $20.2M for What Happens in Vegas, $21.6M for Fool’s Gold, and $23M for 27 Dresses.

Indeed with Valentine’s Day around the corner and recent weeks being dominated by Clint, Blart, and Liam, there is an opening for a romantic comedy to score with young women. And the cast is young enough to draw in celebrity-obsessed teens too. Direct competition should not be too fierce which could open the door for a top spot bow. With a built-in audience from the self-help book and plenty of star wattage, a solid turnout should be expected this weekend. After that, it’ll be up to words from the mouth. Opening in 3,175 theaters, He’s Just Not That Into You could pull in about $22M this weekend.

He’s Just Not That Into You

Nearly three years to the day after Steve Martin rebooted the classic bumbling sleuth franchise, the funnyman returns with The Pink Panther 2 reuniting him with past co-stars while new cast members join in too. The PG-rated pic features Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer reprising their roles from the 2006 edition and sees additions with John Cleese, Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, Lily Tomlin, Jeremy Irons, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The last Panther, which was also one of four new wide releases on the weekend before the Presidents’ Day frame, bowed at number one to a solid $20.2M from 3,477 locations and went on to gross $82.2M domestically and $159M worldwide. Knowing the international potential of the franchise, actors from across the globe were tossed in along with a story that unites a dream team of detectives from all parts of the world banding together to solve a new case.

The family audience is the target here and given the success of the last film, there should certainly be a built-in audience here. Weak reviews should matter not. Fans have not been clamoring for a new adventure so don’t expect the opening weekend to far exceed the last one’s, but rather mimic it. Competition will be a factor since the PG-rated comedies Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Hotel For Dogs have given this crowd plenty of physical humor over the last three weeks with close to $135M in combined sales. Plus Coraline may take away some girls not interested in seeing grown men fall flat on their faces. Sony breaks into more than 3,000 theaters with The Pink Panther 2 and could see a debut of around $20M.

Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther 2

Chris Evans turns his flame off but remains in the sci-fi action genre with Push, a Hong Kong-set thriller about a group of operatives with paranormal powers that must fight the government agency out to exploit them. The PG-13 film co-stars Dakota Fanning and Djimon Hounsou. As the latest young-skewing movie to brand its title and release date across the top of its entire 30-second television spot, Push should play to teens and young adults and skew a bit more male. A slick trailer from Summit has been selling the picture well which is crucial since the stars are known, but far from sure things at the box office. With no new action entries to face this weekend, the main competition will come from the current chart-topper Taken which proved last weekend that an appetite is still there for interesting action films. Floating into 2,313 theaters, Push could make off with about $10M this weekend.

Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning in Push

Fanning fans who find her new tough-girl persona too radical in Push can rest easy. The actress voices the title character in the stop-motion pic Coraline playing an 11-year-old girl who discovers a gateway to a mysterious new world in her new house. The PG-rated film from Focus should play to a young audience of kids and skew female. It will have to compete with Pink Panther which is a bigger brand name to girls and parents so it won’t be easy this weekend. But despite the recent round of PG-rated content, there have been no new animated films since mid-December’s The Tale of Despereaux so there should be some takers this weekend, especially among moms and daughters. Selling this to ten-year-old boys will be tougher. The advertising has been shrewdly pitching Coraline as being from the director of James and the Giant Peach which many think was helmed by Tim Burton. He produced. A respectable opening should result and good legs could follow since many schools take time off in February for winter breaks and Presidents’ Day. Sneaking into about 2,100 locations, Coraline may debut to roughly $9M this weekend.


Liam Neeson still aims to make his presence felt in the top three this weekend. His action thriller Taken scored a major opening last weekend despite facing off against the highest-rated Super Bowl ever. Audiences responded to the raw nature of the kidnapping pic’s marketing push. A 40% drop may occur this frame giving Fox about $14.5M and an impressive ten-day total of $47M.

Sony’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop has a new bumbling crime-fighter to deal with which happens to be another PG-rated comedy from the same studio. Pink Panther should provide some direct competition for families and young kids looking for mindless humor. Look for a 35% fall to roughly $9M boosting the 24-day cume to a jolly $95M.

Not faring all that well last weekend was the supernatural thriller The Uninvited which failed to open the way so many previous horror films debuting over Super Bowl weekend have. Fans seem to have had enough fright flicks over the last few weeks. The road ahead is creepy too with nothing here to keep the numbers alive. A fall of 55% may result putting the Paramount title at around $4.5M this weekend pushing the sum to $16.5M.

LAST YEAR: The comedy-adventure Fool’s Gold which reunited Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson debuted at number one with $21.6M. The Warner Bros. release went on to capture $70.2M. Opening in second place in 738 fewer theaters but with a nearly identical average was Martin Lawrence‘s comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with $16.2M. A $42.4M final resulted for the Universal title. Former champ Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus tumbled 67% and fell from first to third with $10.3M in its sophomore session for Disney. Rounding out the top five were The Eye with $6.5M and Juno with $5.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,

Tag Cloud

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