The Reject Report - Large

It’s a big weekend here at the Reject Report. Lots of excitement out there competing for you movie dollars. We have vampires battling werewolves, ace pilots taking on the World War II skies, and Gina Carano punching and kicking everything that moves and looking amazing doing it. Throw in the returning champs of Mark Wahlberg and 3-D Disney, and we’re sure to be seeing moneymakers all around town. The vampires have a slight edge, but there could be one or two surprises out there waiting to take the top spot. We could settle this with a flex-off between Wahlberg and Carano, but the demographics might be a bit skewed. Let’s take a look at what each of these movies has to bring to the box office instead.

BIG HITTERS

The Underworld series has had a pretty steady stream of success. The last outing, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, debuted with $20.8m, the lowest of the series. However, the exclusion of the franchise’s main star, Kate Beckinsale, and making it a prequel didn’t help matters. Beckinsale is back in Underworld: Awakening, and she’s bound to bring some of that lost cash along with her. Along with the 3-D and IMAX bump, this latest film in the series has a good chance of being the biggest Underworld film yet, and it starts this weekend. Underworld: Awakening only has to break $26.8m this weekend to claim the biggest opening of the franchise. The fresh car smell might be out of this series, but, with Beckinsale back on board, the added cost of 3-D ticket sales, and the built-in fan base that comes with the series, Awakening looks to top that $26.8m and then some. It doesn’t have a good chance of breaking $30m, but somewhere in the high $20m is a good estimation.

To put us in a good mood before the vampire apocalypse begins, check out these bloopers from the first Underworld movie. Dykans?

George Lucas has a movie hitting this weekend. No, it isn’t a Star Wars movie, nor is it a re-release of a Star Wars movie. Red Tails has nothing to do with Star Wars, which might be a good indication why it won’t be topping the box office this weekend. Red Tails is a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, one Lucas, who serves as executive producer, has been trying to get off the ground and into theaters for years. How will it fair? Most signs point to “okay”. Terence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr. haven’t exactly cashed in on the potential of their star power, but action fans will likely be bustling into the theaters to see all the high octane dogfight sequences. With any luck, Red Tails will fare better than other second-tier, WWII movies like Enemy at the Gates ($13.8m opening weekend) or Windtalkers ($14.5m opening weekend). Look for it to come in somewhere between $16-17m, not a huge payday, but something to note. It’s not like George Lucas will have another Radioland Murders on his hands, right? Right?

Here’s the Battle over Coruscant from Revenge of the Sith. Sure, it’s spaceships, but it might give us a hint of what to expect from Red Tails‘ dogfights:

Steven Soderbergh isn’t the go-to director when it comes to huge, box office success. Besides the Ocean’s films, only two of his movies have opened to bigger than a $20m weekend. Erin Brockovich pulled in $28.1m in 2000, and Contagion dropped with $22.4m this past September. Haywire probably won’t be that third film to go in alongside of them, but it won’t be one of Soderbergh’s “little movies”, either. A lot of star power, actors like Michael Fassbender and Michael Douglas, might help Haywire bring in even more money, but, with the star of the show, Gina Carano, front and center along with all the action and violence she causes, the film will be a mid-range one at best. Opening on just under 2500 screens, it seems more likely to come in somewhere around $10-12m, the same range Soderbergh’s The Informant! found itself in in 2009.

FAMILIARITIES

Extremely Long and Incredibly Annoying. That’s the name of the movie expanding to nearly 2500 screens this weekend, right? It stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. There’s some annoying kid in there, too, who might have mental problems. It’s not completely clear from the trailers. What is clear, though, is how much the film plans to tug on its audience’s collective heartstrings. Opening on Christmas Day on just 6 screens, it’s built up a reasonable limited haul with per screen averages ranging from $12,000 to $25,000. Now it makes its move across the nation. While its per screen average is sure to take a serious hit, it could end up making around $12m this weekend. That’s still a per screen average of $4800, not a number to shock, but respectful enough.

Speaking of respectful – something about Wahlberg being respectful to the Beast, but it doesn’t really work. We needed a segue here, okay – Contraband and Beauty and the Beast 3-D look to continue raking in dough this weekend. With enough variance in their weekend drops, the Disney re-release could end up coming out higher ranked than the Wahlberg vehicle. Nonetheless, they are both sure to have reasonable drops.

Not like The Devil Inside, which, two weeks after its release, won’t even chart. It’s not like Paramount cares, though. The film has already garnered $48.2m in those two weeks. Bully to them.

LITTLE OPENERS

Opening in limited release are Carol Channing: Larger Than Life opening in New York and L.A., Coriolanus opening in select cities, Crazy Horse opening in select cities, The Flowers of War opening in select cities, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos opening in select cities, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth opening in New York City, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston opening in New York City, The Viral Factor opening in select cities, and Watching TV With the Red Chinese opening in select cities.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Underworld: Awakening – $27.4m NEW
  2. Red Tails – $16.5m NEW
  3. Contraband – $15.2m (-46.4%)
  4. Beauty and the Beast in 3-D – $15m (-32.1%)
  5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – $12.2m Expanded to 2500 screens
  6. Haywire – $11.7m NEW
  7. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – $9.1m (-35.5%)
  8. Joyful Noise – $7.9m (-42.1%)
  9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – $6.9m (-33.3%)
  10. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – $5.2m (-35%)

2012 has had a nice string of good weekends at the box office. The $127.1m we’re looking at this weekend is no exception. We’re three weekends in, and the Hollywood, movie-making machine isn’t slowing down one bit. Luckily, most of these movies are coming out decent successes, but it’ll take a strong narrowing of the field to ensure somebody really breaks out to get that $100m domestic haul. It won’t be any of these movies. They’re all sure to bring back admirable returns to their respective studios, but none of them are going to be the break-out success of 2012. Maybe Lucas will have more luck with that little re-release he has planned in a few weeks.

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

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