Box Office Guru Preview: Step Brothers and X-Files Hope For the Best

Dark Knight should retain top spot.

by | July 24, 2008 | Comments

Batman faces two new villains each trying to grab some share of business in a marketplace dominated by The Dark Knight. Will Ferrell is back with his latest comedy Step Brothers from Sony while Fox counters with the thriller The X-Files: I Want to Believe. The Joker will sit back and laugh as he makes his two victims compete for the runnerup spot. Knight should face a steep decline, but will have no problem ruling the North American box office once again as more records are bracing to be smashed into bits.

The first in a trio of R-rated late-summer comedies hits theaters on Friday with Step Brothers. Ferrell and John C. Reilly reteam two years after their Talladega Nights became a $148M blockbuster and this time play slackers pushing 40 who must move in together when their single parents marry. Adam McKay, who directed Ferrell in the summer hits Talladega and Anchorman, helmed while comedy guru Judd Apatow produced. The marketplace certainly needs a star-driven comedy right now so the positioning for Step Brothers will help. Audiences have been bombarded with superhero and action films over the past month so some variety is needed.

But the R rating will hurt it especially with all the younger teens out of school and looking for a laugh. Sure past Apatow films like Superbad, Knocked Up, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin all worked, but they were much funnier films and had more buzz. Ferrell hit number one but still underperformed in February with the R-rated Semi-Pro which bowed to just $15.1M. Step Brothers should fly a bit higher thanks to a slightly funnier trailer, lack of comedy competition, and the busier July playtime. The Dark Knight of course will be a factor pulling away many potential customers, but the pseudo-siblings should snuggle into a second place debut. Step Brothers will have to find its audience fast since rival R-rated comedies Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder both moved their releases up by two days from Friday to Wednesday bows on August 6 and 13, respectively. Launching in around 2,800 locations, Step Brothers may gross about $21M this weekend.


John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell are Step Brothers.

Fox is giving an unusually quiet launch to The X-Files: I Want to Believe, the second big-screen adventure adapted from the successful sci-fi television series that ran for nine seasons. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as FBI agents Mulder and Scully while series creator Chris Carter takes over the director’s chair from Rob Bowman who helmed 1998’s The X-Files: Fight the Future. The PG-13 film involves the disappearance of a federal agent which prompts the two to return to the Bureau for a new investigation involving a psychic ex-priest played by Billy Connolly.

Believe plays out like a mildly entertaining extra-long episode of the show with a story that barely includes any actual science fiction and that’s no way to energize old fans or even gain new ones. This is a TV property that has faded over the years and is no longer very relevant. Expect numbers closer to Speed Racer‘s rather than like Sex and the City‘s in this summer’s TV-to-movies game. In the years since the Fox program signed off, the Batman franchise was reborn and stars like the Wills (Smith and Ferrell) have been providing new entertainment every year. All will be factors at the box office this weekend with the male-skewing X-Files audience.

The previous film bowed to $30.1M which would amount to $45M at today’s prices. Many of those fans have tuned out and moved on with their lives. There’s no doubt that The Dark Knight‘s second weekend will steal over $60M, maybe even more than $70M, away from the same folks that Fox is targeting for its action offering. Plus Believe has not had the big push that the studio gave the franchise a decade ago. Reviews are not very warm either. Awareness and excitement outside of the sci-fi fan base is not very high at all. A year ago this very weekend it scored a gigantic opening for the movie version of its other Sunday night Fox Network show The Simpsons. Lightning will not strike twice. Opening in 3,185 theaters, The X-Files: I Want to Believe could bow to around $19M.


Mulder and Scully are back in X-Files: I Want to Believe.
All industry eyes will be on The Dark Knight as it tries to blast through the triple-century mark in a mere ten days. Given the colossal hit’s muscular midweek numbers, this record feat could indeed happen. But how high can it fly in the end? And will it get closer to Titanic than any other blockbuster before? Only moviegoers can determine that, but don’t expect a 70% drop like Hulk and Hellboy II suffered. In just five days, The Dark Knight has grossed about as much as its 2005 predecessor Batman Begins grossed during its entire five-month run.

The Warner Bros. smash hauled in a mammoth $24.5M in sales on Monday and followed that up with a stellar $20.9M on Tuesday. That puts Knight on course to generate an eye-popping $235-240M in its first full week of release obliterating the old record of $196M set by another July juggernaut of a sequel – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. With so much demand absorbed on the first weekend, especially from those round-the-clock showtimes that many exhibitors programmed last Friday morning, a steep sophomore decline is sure to occur. Even Chest which was well liked by audiences fell by 54% on the second voyage to $62.3M as it faced a pair of new releases that each bowed to $21-22M. Spider-Man 3 tumbled by 62% after its record-breaking opening even though none of the openers against it reached double-digit millions.

Word-of-mouth for Heath Ledger‘s final complete performance has been electric and there is still a big audience out there to reach, not to mention the fans who are lining up for seconds and thirds, plus those who are finally getting their hands on Imax tickets. The X-Files has plenty of audience overlap, but Batman isn’t worried in the least. It’s clear which film offers more entertainment for the dollar. Competition from new releases should not be too intense so The Dark Knight may witness a 55% drop this weekend to about $70M. That would allow the ten-day cume to skyrocket to $308M which could allow the Caped Crusader to fly past Iron Man in an astonishingly quick eleven days to become the highest grossing blockbuster of 2008 with so much cash still ahead of it.

Universal countered Batman with its musical Mamma Mia! and scored a big hit with adult women. The Meryl Streep starrer should not face too much competition for its core audience this weekend from debuting pics so a 40% drop to about $16.5M could occur. That would leave the ABBA songfest with roughly $58M after ten days with a good shot at joining the $100M club just like past musicals Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Hairspray.

Will Smith is no longer America’s favorite superhero, but he can smile because Hollywood’s most bankable star will score his fifth career $200M blockbuster this weekend. Hancock should slip by 50% to about $7M for a cume to date of $204M for Sony. Brendan Fraser‘s adventure flick Journey to the Center of the Earth is playing well to younger kids so a good hold is likely. Look for a 35% dip to $8M and a cume of $57M.

LAST YEAR: Generating the biggest opening for a non-ogre toon, Fox’s The Simpsons Movie exploded to a stunning $74M grossing as much as the next five movies combined – a hard task in July. The global blockbuster went on to take in $183.1M domestically and a stellar $527M worldwide. Dropping to second was Adam Sandler’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry with $19.1M followed by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with $17.7M and Hairspray with $15.9M. Opening in fifth was the romantic comedy No Reservations which bowed to $11.7M for Warner Bros. on its way to $43.1M. Debuting poorly much lower on the chart was Sony’s Lindsay Lohan flop I Know Who Killed Me with $3.5M and the MGM comedy Who’s Your Caddy with $2.8M. Final tallies reached just $7.5M and $5.7M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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