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.


Coraline

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, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

See It Skip It Quiz Disney Channel San Diego Comic-Con 72 Emmy Awards legend Tumblr CBS Chernobyl Turner Classic Movies sequel nfl biopic Martial Arts aliens 4/20 Rom-Com renewed TV shows Indigenous GoT Hear Us Out Sneak Peek Avengers Lionsgate Set visit CBS All Access Geeked Week YouTube Red Academy Awards news anthology Arrowverse adaptation debate docuseries gangster Columbia Pictures Trophy Talk Election Sundance TV CW Seed vampires OWN black comedy doctor who Image Comics YA BBC interviews teaser Pacific Islander medical drama HBO NBA Kids & Family 45 Rock President deadpool GIFs Valentine's Day Pet Sematary First Look unscripted 2015 Marathons dexter 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Starz Freeform Disney streaming service summer TV TNT Trailer TLC based on movie trailers cancelled Certified Fresh historical drama Prime Video blaxploitation PaleyFest ABC Family Reality Competition composers Fall TV Awards Tour werewolf Sony cars Character Guide leaderboard parents transformers SundanceTV MGM FOX Tarantino Best Picture documentaries Lifetime Christmas movies Best Actor Food Network SXSW animated basketball Star Wars Tubi comiccon venice National Geographic 94th Oscars crime thriller scene in color series Dark Horse Comics Adult Swim know your critic Heroines PBS sopranos game show Marvel Studios anime dramedy biography james bond E3 tv talk Hallmark Christmas movies finale Netflix Christmas movies Comic-Con@Home 2021 crime drama indiana jones nature Film dogs Music SXSW 2022 Hallmark critic resources Mindy Kaling Turner Drama DirecTV trophy Paramount Pictures new zealand Marvel joker Focus Features USA TruTV hispanic heritage month festival Hollywood Foreign Press Association Marvel Television SDCC book adaptation new star wars movies superman Anna Paquin strong female leads Discovery Channel Wes Anderson Photos Walt Disney Pictures binge cats versus technology spider-verse scene in color film series Extras Premiere Dates Best Director HBO Go Cosplay AMC Plus international RT21 critics reviews kong screen actors guild remakes toronto football Elton John Opinion Superheroes true crime DC Universe Best Actress Exclusive Video Stephen King rt archives Winter TV zombies scorecard mutant Podcast politics cooking space Writers Guild of America VOD Horror ABC Signature marvel cinematic universe 93rd Oscars LGBT kids Comic Book sitcom diversity screenings Syfy 2017 Nat Geo 2021 FX mockumentary Action A24 scary golden globe awards The Walking Dead Ghostbusters HFPA Hulu disaster cops CNN children's TV slasher suspense video on demand Brie Larson LGBTQ Star Trek comic TCA 2017 hispanic superhero 99% Reality Broadway Tokyo Olympics marvel comics 1990s kaiju summer TV preview target japanese Black Mirror batman dc NYCC hidden camera worst Song of Ice and Fire witnail Thanksgiving Endgame name the review Shudder green book Spike Paramount Plus reboot nbcuniversal blockbusters rotten fast and furious singing competition Biopics TV Land serial killer Film Festival criterion New York Comic Con Mary poppins Vudu Ellie Kemper Emmy Nominations Amazon Prime Video documentary best Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cancelled TV shows ITV Pirates cancelled television broadcast BAFTA quibi Instagram Live Superheroe Captain marvel Pride Month talk show saw Cartoon Network The Arrangement classics pirates of the caribbean cancelled TV series franchise Nominations ghosts Christmas X-Men Best and Worst History Super Bowl miniseries DC streaming service stand-up comedy obi wan dceu italian Amazon Studios Western mcc Creative Arts Emmys independent Legendary 2020 dreamworks king arthur spinoff travel WarnerMedia game of thrones Red Carpet Sony Pictures comic book movies APB Rocky crime Spring TV 2018 south america indie hollywood 21st Century Fox telelvision natural history Disney royal family Interview concert Musical zombie The CW spider-man Sundance summer preview razzies prank Rocketman toy story lord of the rings jamie lee curtis Apple wonder woman Nickelodeon Infographic feel good black MCU rt labs heist movie universal monsters worst movies The Academy films vs. YouTube Premium Mary Poppins Returns Countdown MSNBC monster movies spanish language richard e. Grant target scene in color DGA art house Britbox Funimation movie TV One Netflix 24 frames laika romance IFC FXX spy thriller Video Games GLAAD Lucasfilm what to watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina social media supernatural BBC One cults high school USA Network science fiction First Reviews Neflix Television Critics Association die hard movies live event australia zero dark thirty Watching Series golden globes comedies festivals Logo HBO Max political drama American Society of Cinematographers Holidays E! christmas movies TIFF Schedule emmy awards ABC Winners The Purge DC Comics Television Academy crossover directors all-time olympics Comics on TV 71st Emmy Awards Oscar Box Office TCA police drama video BBC America streaming movies Teen Toys hist romantic comedy Travel Channel docudrama IMDb TV OneApp AMC french Fox News a nightmare on elm street new york spanish blockbuster 2016 BET Mary Tyler Moore 79th Golden Globes Awards rotten movies we love period drama facebook Crackle Universal cinemax TBS Awards godzilla psychological thriller latino slashers comic book movie adventure award winner Pop TV chucky Alien Amazon Prime mission: impossible adenture halloween FX on Hulu 007 young adult Year in Review fresh cartoon television Summer discovery elevated horror El Rey Masterpiece Comedy Central ratings breaking bad Cannes stop motion Warner Bros. twilight VICE mob Family theme song Grammys Spectrum Originals Binge Guide live action Lifetime dragons Crunchyroll harry potter book free movies Native Ovation Universal Pictures TV movies Star Wars Celebration Calendar Fox Searchlight japan justice league boxoffice boxing Mystery Fargo RT History Showtime Apple TV+ TCA Winter 2020 action-comedy Peacock halloween tv thriller archives dark Emmys sag awards posters rom-coms WGN foreign scene in color Comedy ESPN streamig A&E The Witch 90s ID Apple TV Plus Fantasy sequels The Walt Disney Company BET Awards comics Animation king kong series Disney+ Disney Plus Paramount Trivia Black History Month Sci-Fi Mudbound popular Acorn TV Shondaland Amazon CMT Oscars casting NBC Pixar 20th Century Fox TV MTV Pop war revenge TCA Awards Holiday aapi Baby Yoda child's play stoner canceled TV shows robots sports genre ViacomCBS obituary Tags: Comedy Musicals 2019 Epix canceled Disney Plus IFC Films VH1 Classic Film Sundance Now 73rd Emmy Awards psycho comic books jurassic park PlayStation rt labs critics edition South by Southwest Film Festival Paramount Network Esquire satire streaming Bravo TV renewals women TCM YouTube Women's History Month asian-american Tomatazos Country scary movies spain Polls and Games