The weather has turned cold, the end of the year is soon approaching, and the last bastion of Holiday films are coming our way. This week, we have a number of dollar-earner pictures hitting as well as a couple of heavy awards contendors expanding into wide release.
The light cycles are sure to have an edge over a couple of talking bears, especially since one of those bears sounds a bit like Ray Stantz. The other bear isn’t exactly bringing sexy back, but he might be cute enough to pull in some decent money.
Fans of the original TRON have been waiting 28 years for a sequel. Finally, Disney has come around, slapped a whole bunch of 1s and 0s together, and given them precisely what they want. But don’t worry. It’s in 3-D and IMAX. Disney evidently likes a whole lot of money. That’s pretty much what they can expect this weekend with TRON Legacy.
While a few outlets were reporting last week the film was tracking below expectations, those are the expectations that put the film in the same category as Avatar. THR stated if the film didn’t open to higher than $50 million, it would immediately be considered a disaster. That still remains to be seen. The film’s finalized budget hasn’t been released, yet, though the popular speculation is $200 million. TRON could certainly do that well. It’s opening on roughly 3300 screens, a number of those are IMAX and most of them are 3-D, both of which pulls in higher ticket prices than the average film.
You can definitely expect a lower per screen average from TRON Legacy than the $22,000 Avatar made per screen its opening weekend. Don’t even expect that number to reach higher than $15,000. The mass appeal for TRON Legacy isn’t there like it was for Avatar even if it’s being promoted as if it were. TRON Legacy‘s per screen average will more than likely be around the $13,500 range, a number that will give it an opening weekend of roughly $44.5 million. That’s not shabby, but it’s not a massive cash grab, either.
How well its longevity holds up will be a different matter, altogether. It might not have the opening weekend of a super blockbuster, but, with the box office down-time coming up in just a few weeks, you can expect it to hold on while it light cycles down the track.
Daft Punk. Light cycles. Olivia Wilde. The Dude looking all Zen. Yeah, I’m pretty stoked for it, too. Check out the trailer for TRON Legacy right here:
Great things come in bears. $22 million. That’s all. Now have fun watching him fix a picture on a wall.
James Brooks’ latest Christmas feast is on display this weekend. How Do You Know features Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson, all of whom bring their own form of box office branding to the film. Of course, what that might culminate in might not be gangbuster numbers. Sony is definitely hoping for that, as How Do You Know is rumored to cost anywhere from $120-150 million. Why? Besides the dragons and space aliens Nicholson and crew have to contend with, there’s the small matter of everyone’s salary. So we have a romantic comedy that probably costs as much as the latest Chronicles of Narnia movie, and it will probably open to less than $15 million. Nice gamble, Sony.
Besides the matter of Narnia and The Tourist having what are likely medium to high 2nd weekend drops, this weekend also sees the expansion of two very strong Oscar contenders. The Fighter and Black Swan will be broadening their release to 2200 and 950 screen, respectively. Grant, you can’t expect the same per screen averages this weekend as they got last weekend, $75,000 for The Fighter and $36000 for Black Swan. However, their individual expansions as well as the nice word of mouth they are each getting will solidify decent standings in the top 10 for each of them.
Another film gaining early awards buzz opens in limited release this weekend. Rabbit Hole is the latest film from Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Short Bus director John Cameron Mitchell. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a couple who are coping with the loss of their young son. Evidently, very little hilarity ensues. What does ensue is gripping drama with honest and moving performances from the leads. David Fear of Time Out New York refers to the film as grief-porn, and that label, positive or negative, is enough to get me in the theaters with a box of Kleenex. Read that however you choose to. Rabbit Hole opens in New York and L.A.
Grab your tissues and get ready to weep like a little girl when you watch this trailer for Rabbit Hole. Or don’t and save yourself the heart-felt mucus drip:
Also in limited release here is Casino Jack, the new film starring Kevin Spacey and, sadly, the final film from George Hickenlooper who passed away last month. The film tells the true story of DC lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, who served three and a half years in federal prison due to corruption and defrauding of Native American tribes. Maybe that should have been warned with a spoiler alert. Regardless of how it ends, Spacey is sure to give an incredible performance, and Hickenlooper has always been a director with something to say in his artistic vision. Casino Jack opens in New York and L.A.
It’s hard not to get excited for a film starring Kevin Spacey. With or without hair, he always brings the energy. He’s got hair here and, apparently, big influence:
Elsewhere in limited release are And Soon the Darkness, a remake of a 1970 thriller starring Karl Urban, Amber Heard and Odette Yustman, opening in L.A. before hitting DVD and Blu-Ray on December 28th; and Alien Girl, which is probably a lot less like Species than you would imagine, opening in New York and L.A.
Here’s how the top 10 is shaping up this weekend:
- TRON Legacy – $44.5m NEW
- Yogi Bear – $22m NEW
- How Do You Know -$14.6m NEW
- The Fighter – $14.4m EXPANDED
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – $12.2m (-55.2%)
- The Tourist -$8.3m (-48.8%)
- Tangled – $8.2m (-42.5%)
- Black Swan – $7.8m EXPANDED
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – $3.9m (-52.9%)
- Unstoppable -$2.2m (-40%)
This give us $138.1 million for the top 10, a pretty high number considering the somewhat disappointing weekends we’ve been having this month. This will be up a full 41% from last weekend when Chronicles of Narnia and The Tourist failed to woo audiences. It’s time to see if Jeff Bridges, Dan Aykroyd, and a whole helluva lot of CG can do just that.
We’ll be back on Sunday night to go over the numbers.