Reject Report: High School Musical 3 Looks to Carve Up Saw V

The Reject Report

Welcome to what is sure to be another depressing week of box office predictions here at the Reject Report. Depressing because, well, we all know who’s going to win. Even if we all go see Saw V several times in a row, we won’t be able to halt the inevitable.

I know there are a lot of people out there trying to pretend that this weekend will be quite a race between High School Musical 3: Senior Year and Saw V at the box office. Bee ess, it just isn’t going to happen. Zac Efron is set to carve up the competition this weekend, and I don’t like it any more than most of you do, I am sure, but that’s what is going to happen. This flick is already through the roof in pre-sales, so why bother even doing a prediction column this week when we all know who’s going to win already?

We also have a cop movie this weekend called Pride and Glory. So get ready for another crowded weekend at the theaters and quite a variety aimed at widely different audiences — to say the least.

We begin with Pride and Glory, which stars Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich. Gavin O’Connor directs. It’s yet another one of these movies that rolled out at the Toronto International Film Festival, which I am sure none of you attended. Well, this is your big opportunity to see it at your local theater. In a nutshell, it is about this cop Ray Tierney (played by Norton) who comes from a family with deep roots in the police force, but a situation comes along where he discovers his brother and brother in law are wrapped up in this police corruption scandal, and he must choose between his family and the NYPD.

This rolls out in over 2,500 theaters and my gut feeling is that this will bring in about $8 million. I could be off by a mile, though. It sure seems like a few of these flicks that were shown at the TIFF this year haven’t done too well at the theaters, so I really don’t know how well this one will do. I simply don’t see it getting to $10 million, so $8 mil sounds right to me.

Now onto Saw V, which is the horror follow-up to the hit Saw IV , which brought in almost $32 million when it rolled out at theaters last fall. That Saw IV movie debuted at Number One, in spite of some not-so-great reviews. Horror fans, though, flocked to see it in droves. This year, horror fans in general are absolutely starved for entertainment, so it could do better business. This is yet another one in the continuing saga of the Jigsaw Killer, who of course died in Saw III, but who somehow is able to continue his legacy from beyond the grave. In this one, Costas Mandylor plays forensics expert Mark Hoffman, the latest person to follow the Jigsaw’s footsteps.

Saw V is directed by David Hackl, a changeover from Darren Lynn Bousman who directed the previous efforts. A good question is whether Hackl will continue the winning box-office legacy of the previous movies. I suspect this one will get somewhere around $29 million, a little lower than last time, but in the ballpark of the last one.

I don’t think I need to say much about Disney’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year, starring the usual people Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and the rest of them. The title pretty much speaks for itself, except the previous two efforts were both hit shows on TV. The good news (for me, anyway) is that this ought to be the END of the SERIES (I hope) as these folks graduate from high school. (My bet is we’ll probably see College Musical soon, or something.) The plot revolves around Gabriella’s (Hudgens) attempts to persuade her fellow classmates to take part in the high school show “Senior Year.”

As you can tell, I am no fan of any of this bland family-friendly Disney stuff. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll watch The Aristocats or 101 Dalmations or something interesting from those folks at Disney, but this!? I just think this stuff is boring as all heck!! I wouldn’t have wanted to see High School Musical 3 back when I was a kid or even a teenager. I would have rather seen action-packed cartoons, or movies with a lot of violence! Shows you my tastes haven’t changed much. Still, like Hannah Montana, this High School Musical stuff has a lot of fans. Why, I have no freaking clue.

On to the box office predictions. Many of the early prognostications had this flick running around $35 million, but I think there’s no way this is going to come in that low. I read on Nikki Finke’s site that has this flick in its all-time top 20 for pre-sales already, so there’s no way this is doing anywhere less than $40 million. That’s what a lot of these so-called experts are predicting now.

Me, I am picking this flick to do $54 million gross, because I just think there are too many people out there in the boring United States who are excited to see this movie. I see similar numbers to what Sex and the City did in its weekend opening. People went crazy for Sex and the City, too.

I know there are some fans out there who think even $54 million will be too low. I figure there have got to be a lot of people repelled by the entire High School Musical franchise to begin with, so it won’t be an absolute runaway at theaters. Oh, and by the way, this flick will set the all-time box-office record opening for musicals if it gets the kind of numbers I am talking about.

Here is my predicted order of finish, then. Read it and weep.

1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year $54 million
2. Saw V $29 million
3. Pride and Glory $8 million
4. Max Payne $7 million
5. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
$6.7 million
6. The Secret Life of Bees
$6 million
7. W. $5.7 million
8. Eagle Eye $4 million
9. Body of Lies $3.9 million
10. Quarantine $3.7 million

I should also note that Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D is being reissued this weekend as well, but it’s in less than 300 theaters.

That does it for now! Be sure to tune in at weekend’s end as we figure out how big a record High School Musical 3 set for its genre at the movie houses this weekend. Also, a reminder to all of you to lay off the sugar in the coming days.

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