Two new buddy comedies enter the marketplace during the final weekend of the spring box office hoping to cash in on what business is left in the last week before Iron Man flies into theaters kicking off the summer blockbuster season. Targeting women is Baby Mama starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler while males get John Cho and Kal Penn reuniting in Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. Adding to the mix is the less commercial dramatic thriller Deception boasting a dynamic duo of its own – Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor. The overall box office will easily outperform last year’s comparable frame which was one of the worst in all of 2007.
After finding success as a lead in the sitcom world, Tina Fey heads to the movie biz as the headliner in Baby Mama with frequent collaborator Amy Poehler at her side. The PG-13 film finds a successful and uptight businesswoman hiring a free-spirited underachiever to be the surrogate for her baby. Adult women over 30 will be the main audience here but male appeal is not so lacking though. Fey and Poehler have built up a fan following over the years since their Saturday Night Live days and aim to prove that it’s not just men that come out of that camp to become box office stars.
Competition will be a factor as the second weekend of Universal’s other adult-skewing comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall will tap into much of the same folks. And though it’s a different kind of comedy, Harold & Kumar will have some level of impact too with those looking for a laugh. But reviews for Mama have generally been good plus the clever title and decent starpower will help pull in ticket buyers. Its strategic opening night slot at the Tribeca Film Festival this week also helped to generate lots of extra press. Debuting in 2,542 theaters, Baby Mama could open to roughly $13M this weekend.
Lionsgate may see sales get sliced in half for the ancient Chinese tale leaving a $11M gross and a ten-day tally of $38M. Universal will not have it totally easy though. Competition from the weekend’s new comedies, especially from studio stablemate Baby Mama, will cut into the numbers. Still, the well-liked Sarah might drop 40% to about $10.5M and push the cume to $35M after ten days.
Prom Night should suffer another sizable drop in its third killing. The Sony thriller looks to fall by 50% to around $4.5M and lift its 17-day sum to $38M.
LAST YEAR: It was the only weekend of 2007 when no film broke the $10M mark as studios refrained from opening any good films for fear of being pulverized a week later by the arrival of Spider-Man 3. By default, Disturbia claimed a third session at number one grossing $9M and dipping just 31% for Paramount. Of the new releases, Buena Vista’s horror pic The Invisible fared best with a mild $7.7M debut in second place. Paramount’s Nicolas Cage actioner Next limped into third with just $7.1M giving the action star one of his worst debuts ever. Final grosses reached $20.6M and $18.2M, respectively. New Line’s crime thriller Fracture followed in fourth with $6.8M while Paramount’s comedy hit Blades of Glory rounded out the top five with $5.2M. Late April spring cleaning also saw the dumpings of The Condemned ($3.8M opening, $7.4M final) and Kickin’ It Old Skool ($2.5M, $4.5M) into the multiplexes.
Author: Gitesh Pandya www.boxofficeguru.com