The Reject Report - Large

Movie fans can feel it. The Summer movie season is in the air, and we’ll be analyzing what it’s opening attack has to offer. For now, though, we’ve got four new films squaring off to soak up as much pre-Summer sun as they can, some of them sure to be more successful at that than others. Here’s a hint: the movie set in foggy Baltimore in the 1800s won’t be getting much sun.

Another action film for the adult crowd and an animated yarn have better chances, but it’ll end up being the romantic comedy hitting that top spot here just before we’re flooded with superhero blockbusters. It’s the final Reject Report before Summer hits, and the flood of new movies this weekend is just one more indication that the industry has no urge to slow down now.

The Breakdown

The Five-Year Engagement

  • It’s about time we got Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, those two, crazy kids, together. The Five-Year Engagement looks to be the headliner this weekend with the animated film, action film, and psychological horror film all serving as counter-programming. Segel and Blunt are openers at this point in their careers, and, with Judd Apatow on deck as producer, this film is sure to have some serious footing.
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the last Apatow/Segel collaboration, debuted with $17.7m. That was in 2008 before I Love You, Man and the story of his passion to get The Muppets made brought him near the forefront of comedic leading men. He’s not at the head, but he’s getting there. Blunt has never headlined a comedy like this, but her inexperience won’t keep the Apatow monster from rolling over close to $20m.

Weekend Projection: $19.8m (#1 on The Chart)

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

  • Pirate movies are en vogue. What better sub-genre for an animated studio like Aardmen to take on than pirates? The company that Wallace & Gromit built hasn’t had a heaping help of success in its tenure. 2006′s Flushed Away comes in with their biggest opening, $18.8m, while Chicken Run remains their top, domestic earner with $106.8m in 2001. They’re films hit mild degrees of performance the whole way through, and Pirates! isn’t going to be the movie to break that lackluster stride.
  • The widest new release title won’t help it much, either. At just over 3300 screens, Pirates! has roughly the same count as 2011′s Arthur Christmas, a film that opened to $12m. At Thanksgiving. The fact that The Lorax opened two months ago will help drive in the kid crowd looking for new animation. Arthur Christmas opened with The Muppets, Happy Feet 2, and Puss in Boots already in theaters. Pirates! will open higher than Aardman’s previous film, but it won’t be enough to skyrocket the company up the animated chart.

Weekend Projection: $15.6m (#3 on The Chart)

Safe

  • Dear Jason Statham, it’s about time for another Transporter movie. Call it Trans4ter. Maybe not. All we’re saying is your movies outside that series aren’t earth-shattering in the box office numbers. The Stallone movies help, too. Take Safe, for example, your latest attempt at breaking 50 necks in a 90-minute time period. It’s gonna come in somewhere around $10m, kind of like Killer Elite last year with $9.3m or The Mechanic in early 2011 with $11.4m. Safe doesn’t look like anything new, and while you’ve still got a hold on a specific audience who loves you, it’ll be the low end of that range of people. Safe won’t break your career, but just give Luc Besson a call. See what he’s up to.

Weekend Projection: $9.5m (#5 on The Chart)

The Raven

  • Because From Hell did so great. Seriously there aren’t too many films that you can compare closer to these two. From Hell stands higher in stature than The Raven simply due to it being Johnny Depp there and not John Cusack. Even in 2001, Depp had more box office pull than Cusack ever did. Add to that the wholly uninteresting trailer and the abysmal word of mouth, and this $7.2m seems to be a generous estimate. Cusack fans here. What are you gonna do?

Weekend Projection: $7.2m (#7 on The Chart)

The Chart

  1. The Five-Year Engagement – $19.8m NEW
  2. Think Like a Man – $16.3m (-51.4%)
  3. The Pirates! Band of Misfits – $15.6m NEW
  4. The Lucky One – $11.1m (-50.6%)
  5. Safe – $9.5m NEW
  6. The Hunger Games – $9.5m (-34.4%)
  7. The Raven – $7.2m NEW
  8. The Three Stooges – $5.1m (-46.7%)
  9. Chimpanzee – $4.7m (-55%)
  10. The Cabin in the Woods – $4.1m (-47.7%)

The Analysis

Even with numbers 8-10 hitting much higher than usual, the top 10 this weekend is set to bring in $102.9m, pretty typical for this final week before the Summer movies begin to trot out. It’s a dumping ground of its own, really, a tiny slice of January right here at the end of April. With the exception of The Five-Year Engagement, an Apatow-produced film that could have easily gotten a slot during the Summer months, none of the new hitters seem all that interesting.

The studios sights are primed and poised for May 4th when the real fireworks begin. Little will be won or lost this weekend. Without a surprise or two in store for us, it’ll be just another day at the office for many studio execs come Monday. Who knows? Maybe the Cusack contingent and the Poe-hards create such a mix that The Raven trounces all with $68m and change. It is Poe, so there may have been drinking before that last sentence.

We’ll be back early next week to go over the weekend numbers.

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