Box Office Guru Preview: Moviegoers to Feel the Payne

Also, W., Secret Life of Bees, Sex Drive opening this weekend.

by | October 16, 2008 | Comments

A video game, a novel, and even the current commander-in-chief all get the big-screen treatment as Hollywood banks on known brands to make multiplex cash registers ring in hopes of a fourth consecutive up weekend compared to last year. Mark Wahlberg leads the way in the actioner Max Payne, Josh Brolin steps into the role of George W. Bush in Oliver Stone‘s W, and Queen Latifah heads up the drama The Secret Lives of Bees. Each film targets a different audience so there should be breathing room in the marketplace. Also debuting is the teen comedy Sex Drive which is not expected to be much of a contender.

Following seven consecutive sub-$12M openings, Fox finally will have a hit on its hands with the stylish thriller Max Payne which finds Wahlberg stepping into the role of the title character of the popular video game. The PG-13 film should be the studio’s first number one hit since March’s Horton Hears a Who and will appeal to teens and young adults thanks to a slick marketing campaign that is generating interest with the target audience. Reviews will be irrelevant. Wahlberg draws respectable numbers in action movies so as an anchor, he has the goods. A stylishly exciting look, a popular star in the lead, a commercially-friendly rating, and a built-in audience already familiar with the brand all join forces for what should be a solid top spot bow. Attacking 3,200 locations, look for Max Payne to debut with around $20M.


Mark Wahlberg in Max Payne

With three months left in his eight-year stay in the White House, President Bush stars (sort of) in a major wide release for the second time thanks to director Oliver Stone who takes a friendlier approach than Michael Moore did. The narrative feature W stars Josh Brolin as Dubya and chronicles the ups and downs of his adult life. The PG-13 film also stars Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, and Thandie Newton. Early reviews have been very strong, although the film critics community is not known for having many fans of Number 43 in the first place. Stone is known as a filmmaker who likes to present history through his own viewpoint so Republicans may write off the film without even researching how fair and balanced the pic really is. Blue-staters are more likely to take interest. Lionsgate should score points with politically-minded adults thanks to its purchase of a :30 spot on CNN during the first commercial break after Wednesday’s night final presidential debate. Aside from putting a big W pin on Obama’s lapel, you’re not going to find a much better way to reach the target audience here. Thanks to the unique idea of making a fictional film on an unpopular sitting president, curiosity should help boost business. Of course there are many that are just plain turned off by films that deal with serious politics and those will never be sold on this. Opening in 2,030 theaters, W might debut with roughly $10M this weekend.


Josh Brolin in W.

Queen Latifah, the other former rapper with a new film this weekend, leads an all-star cast that brings book to screen in The Secret Lives of Bees. The PG-13 film also stars Dakota Fanning, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, and Grammy winner Alicia Keys in the story of a 14-year-old girl escaping her past in 1964 South Carolina. Bees will skew heavily female and African American audiences will make up a large portion of the turnout as well. Though based on a best-selling novel, it is not expected to reach Tyler Perry territory at the box office. With Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball) directing and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith producing, the film has some behind-the-scenes starpower as well. Competition for the Fox Searchlight release will not be fierce since the marketplace has almost nothing at the moment for black women and most films aimed at adult females are aging. Latifah’s guest role on Saturday Night Live’s recent Sarah Palin-Joe Biden debate skit should help since the film’s advertising has been attached to the online videos of the popular sketch. But mixed reviews will prompt some fans to take a pass. With the fewest theaters among the new releases, The Secret Life of Bees will enter about 1,400 locations on Friday and could collect around $7M.


Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah in The Secret Life of Bees

Prepping a theatrical run just to raise its eventual home video profile, the R-rated comedy Sex Drive arrives telling the tried and true tale of a young man on a quest to lose his virginity. James Marsden and Seth Green join a group of mostly no-name actors which means that the target audience of older teens and young adults will find little reason to shell out top dollar to see this in theaters right away. Competition will be a major factor since Max Payne, Quarantine, and Eagle Eye are all offering more for the money to the same age group. Opening in about 2,400 locations, Summit’s Sex Drive should score a limp $4M debut.


Sex Drive

After two weeks on top, Beverly Hills Chihuahua will have to give up the number one spot to Mr. Payne. But another weekend with no competition for the family audience will mean that a strong hold could put it in the runnerup spot. A 35% fall to about $11.5M could result giving Disney a robust $69M to date and a likely invitation to the $100M club.

Quarantine opened better than expected last weekend but will fall hard like most fright films do. No new terrorfests hit theaters on Friday, but Marky Mark does plan to steal away plenty of young adults. Look for a drop of 55% to about $6.5M putting Sony’s ten-day total at $24.5M.

Warner Bros. saw an underwhelming turnout for its Middle East political thriller Body of Lies which debuted to less than $13M. A 45% decline to around $7M should occur raising the cume for the expensive Ridley Scott vehicle to a weak $25M after ten days. Rival actioner Eagle Eye, which takes place in America and has proven to be far more popular, could drop by 40% to roughly $6.5M and lift Paramount’s total to a stellar $80M.

LAST YEAR: Sony’s vampires-in-Alaska thriller 30 Days of Night claimed the number one spot opening to $16M on its way to $39.6M. The Tyler Perry flick Why Did I Get Married? held up well in its second frame dipping 43% to $12.2M for Lionsgate. Two more holdovers followed – Disney’s The Game Plan with $8.2M and the Warner Bros. drama Michael Clayton with $6.7M. A pair of new releases followed. The sports spoof The Comebacks bowed to $5.6M while the Casey Affleck thriller Gone Baby Gone opened to $5.5M. Final grosses reached $13.3M for the Fox comedy and $20.3M for Ben Affleck‘s directorial debut. Also launching was Disney’s 3D release of The Nightmare Before Christmas with $5.3M and a potent $9,451 average, and the Reese Witherspoon flop Rendition with just $4.1M for New Line. Final tallies reached $14.5M and $9.7M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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