Box Office Guru Preview: Hanks Returns to Save Vatican

No other wide releases to enter weekend fray.

by | May 14, 2009 | Comments

Only one new film ventures into wide release as Tom Hanks steps back into the role of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon for the conspiracy thriller Angels & Demons. A sequel to the 2006 smash The Da Vinci Code, Angels reunites Hanks with director Ron Howard for the fourth time. Both films were based on the best-selling novels of Dan Brown. In the new installment, Langdon is called to the Vatican to help stop a secret society from killing the top Cardinals of the Catholic Church following the death of the Pope.

Code was a global smash opening three years ago this weekend to a domestic haul of $77.1M despite being panned by major critics. The Sony smash went on to collect $217.5M in North America and an astounding $753M worldwide with a whopping 71% coming from overseas markets. Turning another Langdon book into a big-screen adventure was a no-brainer, even for Howard who had never done a sequel in his 27-year feature directing career. Code scored at the box office because of three main reasons – wildly popular source material, the starpower of Hanks and Howard, and controversy which helped make it a must-see picture.

Angels only has the first two to deal with. The PG-13 film has failed to generate the amount of controversy needed to reach the same box office heights. It was this buzz that prompted those who had never read the book to take interest in Code. Fans of the Demons book will surely line up for the new film, but crossing over to a broader audience will be harder since overall excitement is less this time. Casual moviegoers looking at the television spots will say to themselves “hmmm, looks exactly like the last one.” Working for Angels are better reviews, faster pacing, and the fact that there are no new openers to compete with. Plus after back-to-back sci-fi effects-driven actioners, many patrons will be in the mood for something a little different, but still exciting.


Tom Hanks in Angels and Demons

Sony is hoping to avoid the fate met by last year’s tentpole programmed into this same weekend slot. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian became the first film in eight years to open on the lucrative weekend before the Memorial Day holiday frame and fail to reach $200M. It even failed to hit $150M. Both Caspian and Angels are sequels to megahits that were driven by large Christian audiences. Many skipped out on the second helping of Narnia. Some will pass on Langdon’s return too.

Still if Hanks and pals can bring in two-thirds of the business of the first film, a worldwide tally of a half-billion still awaits. Opening in over 3,400 theaters, Angels & Demons could gross about $53M this weekend.


Tom Hanks and Ayelet Zurer

Audiences have been cheering Star Trek and the good will will help the sci-fi reboot avoid a Wolverine-style 69% collapse in the second weekend. Sturdy midweek grosses of $7.5M on Monday and $6.5M on Tuesday show that strong word-of-mouth is helping the Paramount release play beyond its upfront audience of hardcore fans of the franchise. Last year, Iron Man opened just like Star Trek with Thursday evening previews and enjoyed a 48% drop in its sophomore frame – a big win by today’s standards. Critics and moviegoers alike are giving their thumbs up to Trek just as they did with Iron Man a year ago and are now handling marketing themselves by recommending it to friends. A 50% decline could result for the NCC-1701 gang putting the J.J. Abrams pic at about $37M for the weekend and a robust $143M over ten days.

The mutant freefall should slow down this weekend as X-Men Origins: Wolverine will drop by a smaller percentage than last weekend’s huge slide. Still, audiences are not exactly endorsing the prequel in a big way so a decline of 55% could result. That would give the Fox tentpole about $12M in its third round boosting the 17-day total to $148M giving it only a slight edge over Star Trek despite an extra week in multiplexes.

The female-skewing counter-programming option Ghosts of Girlfriends Past held up nicely in its second frame with just a 33% dip. Adult women and couples will certainly be distracted by the Hanks-Howard reunion so although it is a different kind of film, Angels will still affect Ghosts. Look for a 35% drop to roughly $6.5M giving Warner Bros. a solid $39M in 17 days.

LAST YEAR: In a somewhat underwhelming debut, the fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opened at number one with $55M for Disney on its way to a $141.6M domestic take and $420M global haul. The North American tally was less than half of the $291.7M cume of its 2005 predecessor The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The adventure tale was seen by many in the industry as likely to be one of the top summer performers but it ended up finishing the season as the ninth biggest hit. In its third weekend, Iron Man dropped by only 38% to $31.8M and smashed the $200M mark in just 17 days. Rounding out the top five were the comedy What Happens in Vegas with $13.9M, action flop Speed Racer with $8.1M, and the comedy Made of Honor with $4.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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