Well, it’s all about the Jonas Brothers this weekend, both at 3-D movie houses and here at the Reject Report. I mean, really, that’s the only excitement in store at the box office — unless you count Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which is the other new release this weekend. There’s also continuing Oscar excitement over Slumdog Millionaire, Milk and The Reader, which will all have sizable wide releases this weekend as well. Slumdog Millionaire will be up to almost 3,000 theaters, its widest distribution yet.
But the top story is the Jonas Brothers, who are trying to ape Miley Cyrus with yet another family-oriented 3-D concert movie. It is entitled Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
A word about 3-D movies for a moment. It seems to me that we are living in a new golden era of 3-D moviemaking right now, with lots of projects already getting off the ground with others getting ready to go later this year. Of course, we had Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour released last year around this time. It was designed to be a one-week only thing, but it was such a huge success that Disney held it over for another week. It made $31.1 million in its domestic opening weekend.
Since then, there have been quite a few 3-D efforts. We had U2 come out with a 3-D movie of their own. We had Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D on many screens. In November, the Disney CGI flick Bolt came out in Digital 3-D. This year alone, we’ve had My Bloody Valentine in 3-D, as well as another animated feature that got rave reviews, Coraline. Among the other projects on tap for 2009 include Avatar, that long-awaited James Cameron 3-D effort which many people anticipate might become the biggest blockbuster 3-D flick of all time. We really are living in a new golden age of 3-D movies right now. It makes you feel almost nostalgic for Hondo and House of Wax.
Also riding the wave of interest in 3-D, just a few weeks back was the big 40th anniversary DVD release of a really schlocky 3-D skin flick from 1969, The Stewardesses. I mention this movie for a couple of reasons. From a purely box office perspective, The Stewardesses actually set the record at the time for a 3-D movie and held it for several years. It was shot on a budget of $100,000, and according to the best estimates out there made an estimated $27 million worldwide. When you factor in inflation, that translates to roughly over $100 million today.
As well, I thought mentioning The Stewardesses was a good counterpoint to talking about the Jonas Brothers concert movie. The contrast between these two 3-D movies could not be more stark. The Stewardesses was aimed at adults and was raunchy as hell. The Jonas Brothers, on the other hand, are as squeaky clean as they come. Good, wholesome family entertainment. Times have sure changed. In fact, these guys have supposedly taken vows of abstinence and wear purity rings. Maybe we should introduce these guys to some flight attendants — that might put an end to this “purity ring” idea.
Anyway, it is incredible the amount of interest there is in this group — they’re practically bigger than the Beatles.
I watched some Toronto TV feeds on cable TV a while back when these brothers were hitting that town, and those guys basically closed down an entire street. These days, they are literally being mobbed everywhere they go by thousands of screaming girls. Personally I don’t much care for the Jonas Brothers and plan to skip their movie, but then again, I am not a screaming girl. Apparently there are lots of people out there who are buying tickets online for this flick. According to Fandango, this was running at 64 percent of all sales.
Of course, these guys are backed by Disney and their big marketing machine, and Disney can’t seem to go wrong these days — at least, not very often. Whether it’s Hannah Montana, High School Musical 3 or these other projects they have been doing, those guys at Disney just rake in the dough. They didn’t do so great with Bolt, but that’s more an exception to the rule — and it’s not as if Bolt didn’t make money, it just wasn’t a blockbuster.
I’m predicting a big weekend for Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Everyone seems to be placing their bets on whether this flick will do better than Hannah Montana did. This flick is rolling out in over 1,200 screens, which is way more than what Hannah Montana was able to do. Plus, there’s bound to be ticket-price inflation for this flick, just because it’s the Jonas Brothers in 3-D. So I think we are looking at $34 million for the weekend. I’ve heard some predictions of even higher numbers – that wouldn’t surprise me either.
Well, kind of an afterthought after all this hype about the Jonas Brothers is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. It’s the second film based on that series of video games and stars Kristin Kreuk of “Smallville” fame in the title role. It also stars Neal McDonough, Chris Klein and Michael Clarke Duncan, among others.
Problem is — I don’t think there’s much excitement out there for this one. Yeah, it’s in about the same amount of theaters as the Jonas Brothers are — just under 1,200. But the Jonas Brothers are playing in big 3-D venues that will be packed to the rafters and charging inflated prices. Chun-Li, on the other hand, is rolling out in ordinary movie theaters and multiplexes that will be charging the usual ten bucks a pop. I don’t see much happening for this flick, unfortunately. $6 million is my estimate for Chun-Li.
Those are the two new wide releases this weekend, folks. Also, I am expecting a $15 million haul this weekend for Slumdog Millionaire, which is more than what a lot of other people have been predicting for it. But I think there’s a lot more interest in it now that it has swept the Oscars, and it’s in more theaters. So that’s what I am basing it on. This week, the movie has been doing fairly well. It finally made it up to second place during the week after the Oscars were doled out, behind Madea Goes to Jail.
I’m afraid, though, that we are definitely looking at a second straight year in a row when an Oscar Best Picture fails to win a weekend. This coming weekend would have been Slumdog Millionaire‘s best hope, based on its Oscar sweep. Unfortunately, it’s going to lose to the Jonas Brothers. Next weekend, of course, will be the weekend of Watchmen. I’m afraid the party will be over pretty soon at the box office for Slumdog Millionaire. Too bad, but that’s life. At least they can say they made $100 million dollars in domestic gross which, considering their limited budget, is an absolute fortune.
Here’s what we are looking at for the box office this weekend.
- Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience $34 million
- Madea Goes to Jail $17 million
- Slumdog Millionaire $15 million
- Taken $8.5 million
- Coraline $6.5 million
- Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li $6 million
- He’s Just Not That Into You $5.5 million
- Paul Blart: Mall Cop $4.6 million
- Friday the 13th $4.4 million
- Confessions of a Shopaholic $4.3 million
And that is it. See you at the end of the weekend here at the Reject Report as we see whether the Jonas Brothers really do make a splash at the box office.