Box Office Guru Preview: Zack and Miri Want Your Vote

Also: Changeling, RocknRolla, Haunting of Molly Hartley in the race.

by | October 30, 2008 | Comments

In the final weekend before a new president is elected, all polls show that the raunchy comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno is the leading ticket among the frame’s new candidates. Horror fans will get a fright flick with The Haunting of Molly Hartley which creeps into theaters on Friday, Halloween Day. Two films in limited release expand nationwide too – Angelina Jolie‘s missing son drama Changeling and Guy Ritchie‘s crime pic RockNRolla. All will have to work hard in order to beat out the incumbent hit High School Musical 3 which is coming off of a spectacular debut. Overall, the five-week box office winning streak should come to an end as North American ticket sales are not likely to top year-ago levels when November kicked off with a bang.

Years before Judd Apatow became a brand name in the business of R-rated comedies there was Kevin Smith who now leaves behind New Jersey for Pittsburgh in his newest laugher Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The Weinstein Co. release stars Apatow regular Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as two life-long friends and debt-ridden roommates who decide to film an X-rated flick in order to make some quick cash. Older teens and young adults will take interest here and cross-gender appeal is solid. Reviews have not been glowing, but they are more than adequate for a pic like this. The catchy title and savvy marketing materials will also spark interest with audiences looking for envelope-pushing humor. And a divide and conquer approach to the advertising has led to tame television shows having spots for Zack and Miri while commercials on more crude shows use the full Porno title.

It’s been a good year for raunchy R-rated comedies with openings of $17.7M for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, $30.9M for Will Ferrell‘s Step Brothers, and $23.2M for Pineapple Express. All were produced by Apatow. But Smith is a bankable name too especially when he’s outside the Jersey Girl world. Zack should build upon the audiences that came out for the 2006 pic Clerks II ($10.1M) and 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back ($11M). Rogen has become a superstar in this genre so his name will draw sales too giving Smith his biggest debut ever. Competition will come primarily from Saw V and Max Payne. Young adults looking to get away from the non-stop election coverage this weekend will have a very appealing option with this one. Bowing in 2,735 locations, Zack and Miri Make a Porno may gross around $19M this weekend.


Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen in Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Aiming for 14-year-olds that can’t get into Saw V and find HSM3 uncool, Freestyle Releasing unleashes its PG-13 horror flick The Haunting of Molly Hartley on Halloween Day. The story of a teenage girl whose soul was sold to the devil lacks starpower, but its intriguing concept and spooky marketing materials should allow it to connect with its target audience in the short term. Plus the rating will allow it to reach a wide audience of younger teens looking for a good scare so the timing is good. Competition from the Jigsaw sequel’s second weekend will certainly curtail Molly‘s potential. And Freestyle is not known for drawing large crowds to their releases so don’t expect a runaway smash like The Grudge or The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Creeping into 2,250 locations, The Haunting of Molly Hartley might bow to about $11M.

The Angelina Jolie mother-in-crisis flick Changeling got off to a robust start last weekend averaging $32,601 from only 15 theaters. Universal got the word out for the Clint Eastwood-directed pic with that limited bow and will now go nationwide expanding to 1,856 sites on Friday. Changeling has starpower working in its favor as Eastwood and Jolie are both popular draws – in the right movie. Plus there is little competition for older adults right now. However, the mixed reviews and grim subject matter will dampen interest with mature audiences. The long running time and lack of Oscar buzz won’t help either. Plus films that take place in the 20s and 30s generally do not perform all that well. There was a time when dramas like Seabiscuit could pull in over $100M outside of awards season. Those days are gone. Changeling might take in about $9M this weekend.


Angelina Jolie in Changeling

By what must be pure coincidence, Guy Ritchie‘s confirmation of his divorce plans got the director plenty of press right when his new film RockNRolla was hitting theaters in limited release. The Gerard Butler starrer bowed in seven theaters to a muscular $20,672 average, but then saw the figure slump significantly to $6,103 from 22 sites and then dip again to $5,404 from 19 locations in the third session. That does not bode well for the nationwide expansion on Friday when the R-rated crime pic widens to 826 theaters. Look for the average for RockNRolla to get diluted down much further with a weekend gross of under $2M.

Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, et al in RocknRolla

Last weekend’s top two films should suffer hefty declines thanks to their built-in audiences all rushing out on opening weekend, but given their relatively low costs each is already singing in the rain. High School Musical 3 will have more than $45M in the bank after its first full week of release, but its 9% Friday-to-Saturday drop during the debut frame indicates that the G-rated film is very front-loaded. Fans will buy the DVD and get most of their repeat viewing done that way so a large 55% fall could result this weekend. That would still be less than the sophomore drops of 58% and 67% seen by past Disney Channel pics The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Hannah Montana, respectively. HSM3 could end up with about $19M this weekend and reach a cheery ten-day total of $66M.

Saw V tumbled by a whopping 30% on Saturday from its powerful opening day. The sophomore slide should be on par with what the last installments in the torture franchise have seen. 2006’s Saw III fell by 56% while last year’s Saw IV crumbled by 67%. With Halloween falling on Friday, some fans may get a kick out of spending the later hours with Jigsaw. A 60% decline could result putting Saw V at $12M over three days and pushing the cume to $47M.

Disney will have no new competition for its doggie hit Beverly Hills Chihuahua so a 35% dip may occur. That would give the kidpic roughly $4.5M for the weekend and $84M after one full month of play.

LAST YEAR: Denzel Washington scored a career high opening with American Gangster which bowed at number one with a potent $43.6M for Universal. Ridley Scott, who will be lucky to reach that figure with the entire run of his latest Russell Crowe starrer Body of Lies, found his way to a stellar $130.2M domestically and $265M worldwide. Opening in second targeting families was Jerry Seinfeld‘s animated entry Bee Movie with $38M for Paramount and DreamWorks which went on to collect $126.7M with a global gross of $287M. Saw IV collapsed losing two-thirds of its opening and fell to third with $10.3M for Lionsgate. Rounding out the top five were Buena Vista’s Dan in Real Life and The Game Plan with $7.9M and $3.9M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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