The resurrection of yesterday’s movie heroes continues with Sylvester Stallone‘s new film Rambo which finds the vet in Southeast Asia where he is pulled into another battle with baddies. The R-rated film from Lionsgate follows the actor’s Rocky Balboa which defied the odds last winter to become both a critical and commercial success. Stallone directed both films. Rambo also comes after Bruce Willis saw a lucrative reboot of the Die Hard franchise last summer, and arrives before Harrison Ford‘s much-anticipated return as Indiana Jones this May.
John Rambo may not be as loved by fans as those other characters which means it may gross the least amount of dough at the domestic box office. The new Rambo will surely attract older males with the nostalgia factor, but younger men are also being targeted by using today’s rock music in the television spots and print ads with images of a cult-like Sly. The image could easily be spray-painted on a wall next to the heads of Andre the Giant and Che Guevara. Rambo is getting the widest release of any new film on Friday and with football taking the weekend off, male audiences will be more available. Most of the competition will come from Cloverfield‘s second frame, but those wanting intense violence and a ton of bullets flying around will find no better choice. Attacking 2,751 theaters, Rambo could debut to about $18M this weekend.
Good ol’ Sly is back
goes solo anchoring the crime thriller Untraceable
which finds the Oscar-nominated actress playing a federal agent on the trail of a psychopath that uses the internet to kill his victims. The R-rated film will cater to adult audiences and skew more towards women. Female-led detective thrillers usually struggle at the box office, however Untraceable
will benefit from one the best trailers this winter for a non-monster movie. Sony’s marketing efforts have been solid with Lane’s name and the intriguing plot being the main selling points used to lure in ticket buyers. The rating may keep out younger net-savvy teens that might have interest plus an abundance of films will keep things competitive. The sophomore weekend of 27 Dresses
will surely draw away some of Untraceable
‘s audience, especially those who would rather see something lighter and not so grim. Landing in 2,368 theaters, Untraceable
might take away roughly $10M this weekend.
Diane Lane and that Hanks kid in Untraceable
Fox dishes out yet another dose of spoof comedy with Meet the Spartans
skewering all sorts of hit films plus Britney and non-Britney pop culture events of the past year. The PG-13 entry is going after the same teen and young adult audience that came out in solid numbers for Epic Movie
, which bowed at number one this weekend last year with $18.6M, and the previous year’s Date Movie
which debuted to a similar $19.1M. However, the spoof genre showed signs of aging last October when the studio suffered a lowly $5.6M opening for the sports comedy The Comebacks
. The target audience is getting a little sick of these antics so the opening for Spartans
should be weaker than Epic
‘s but better than Comebacks
‘. Hefty competition, especially from Cloverfield
, will also be a major hurdle to overcome this weekend. Opening in 2,603 locations, Meet the Spartans
may launch with about $9M.
Meet the Spartans
Step dancing is back again, this time in female form, with How She Move
which Paramount Vantage is releasing for Viacom sibling MTV Films. The PG-13 pic revolves around a talented young woman’s quest to win a dance competition and honor her dead sister’s memory in the process. Move
features mostly newcomers and will target teens and urban youth. The same audience powered January hits like You Got Served
and Stomp the Yard
to number one openings of $16.1M and $21.8M, respectively. But Move
lacks the marketing muscle that Sony has a patent on for these types of films. Success with the core crowd should result, but crossover business with other groups will be tough. Plus teens have Cloverfield
and Meet the Spartans
competing for their attention too so there will be blood. Stepping into about 1,500 sites, How She Move
could bow to around $6M.
How She Move
After scoring seven Academy Award nominations, the most for any big studio title, Michael Clayton
goes back out into wide release on Friday. Warner Bros. is hoping to catch audiences who maybe didn’t catch it the first time but are now sold on the George Clooney
drama because of all the kudos attention. Clayton
, which has grossed $39.4M to date, goes back out into 1,102 theaters. A year ago this weekend, the studio gave similar treatment to The Departed
which expanded to 1,453 locations for a $3.4M gross in its 17th frame. This time the studio is using the ads to also inform fans of the legal thriller’s February 19 DVD release date so some may just wait a few weeks to catch the acclaimed pic at home. Michael Clayton
may find itself with roughly $3M this weekend.
Michael Clayton gets a second run
Last weekend, the beastly disaster flick Cloverfield
exploded with a record opening of $46.1M over the four-day holiday frame. A steep drop is likely on the sophomore frame since frenzied upfront demand led to most fans catching the thriller already. Plus Rambo
and some of the other new titles will pull audiences away in different directions. A 55% three-day tumble would leave Paramount with about $18M and a ten-day cume of $69M.
Chick flick 27 Dresses is not worried about Stallone, however Diane Lane and the Spartans could provide some competition this weekend for the Katherine Heigl laugher. Audiences have been having a good time with the Fox release so a 40% drop could occur. That would give 27 Dresses roughly $13.5M over three days and a total of $44M after ten days.
Batman franchise alums Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman enjoyed a terrific hold for their pic The Bucket List last weekend which is playing to an older and more patient crowd. A 30% fall would put the Warner Bros. film at around $10.5M pushing the sum to $58M.
LAST YEAR: Spoof comedy led the way with Fox’s Epic Movie which bowed on top to the tune of $18.6M on its way to $39.7M. Opening right behind in second with almost identical per-theater average was the Universal drama Smokin’ Aces with $14.6M from 600 fewer theaters. A $35.7M final gross resulted. Former chart-topper Night at the Museum followed in third with $9.6M while the dance drama Stomp the Yard placed fourth with $7.7M. A hair behind in fifth with a $7.7M debut was Sony’s Jennifer Garner drama Catch and Release which found its way to just $15.3M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com