After three consecutive weekends where at least one film grossed over $20 million, this weekend has the potential to be a four-peat. I say again, potential because the two new releases are a baseball biopic, 42, and the fifth addition to the Scary Movie franchise.
Baseball movies are sometimes a hard sell at the box office, and compared to football movies, they’re not big box office success stories. It’s not that they do very poorly, it’s just that none have opened to over $20 million (the closer one has been is the Happy Madison comedy, The Benchwarmers with $19.65 million). Though, because of the great story and because it’s being released right at the beginning of the baseball season, 42 could be the movie to break that trend. It’s a biopic of one of baseball’s greatest players and a true American hero, Jackie Robinson. It looks like a great film, and the trailers have been very effective, especially because they utilize the exciting Jay-Z song “Brooklyn (We Go Hard)”. Newcomer to the acting game, Chadwick Boseman, looks really promising as Jackie Robinson. Also, if anyone could write this beauty truly well and make it captivating, it’s writer-director Brian Helgeland (writer of Man on Fire, Mystic River, L.A. Confidential). Helgeland’s average opening is $16.02 million. Harrison Ford (who has an average opening of $18.91 million) and Lucas Black [Jarhead, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift] (who has a $15.3 million average opening) also star. The three baseball films with the best openings are The Benchwarmers, Moneyball and The Rookie, with $19.65, $19.5 and $16.02, respectively. Similar movies to this open at an average $11.23 million. Realistically, I see this outdoing The Benchwarmers. My prediction is $22 million.
The new release that could make $20 million this weekend is Scary Movie 5. I’m not sure how much appeal this might have for moviegoers if there’s no Anna Farris or Regina Hall’s Brenda Meeks character. The only kind-of returning cast member is Simon Rex (George of Scary Movie 3 and S.M. 4, even though this time his character is called Dan). This seems like a major cash grab after seven years since the last sequel, but spoofs aren’t as pop-culturally relevant as they were in the early 2000’s, and literally almost the same movie, A Haunted House, came out earlier this year. Marlon Wayans, original cast member and writer of Scary Movie 1 & 2) was behind that one. This has Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Snoop Dogg, Katt Williams, Mac Miller, Sarah Hyland, Simon Rex, and spoofs movies like Mama, Sinister, Insidious, even last week’s newly released Evil Dead, Inception, The Cabin in the Woods (Yeah, the writers are mocking movies they probably don’t understand!) and, of course, Paranormal Activity. Movies similar to this open to an average $18.21 million, and that would be an ideal earning for this. The franchise peaked with Scary Movie 3 at a $48.1 million opening, and was at its worst with Scary Movie 2, that opened to $20.5 million. Reviving franchises isn’t always successful, as Scream 4 only received a lifetime gross of $38.18 million and opened to $18.69 million, while the first two grossed over $100 million and the third grossed $89.14 million. I expect it to either hit $20 million or just miss the mark, but you never know, audiences can surprise you… Since A Haunted House proved there’s still a fairly large audience for parody flicks since it opened at $18.1 million (on a $2.5 million budget — and it’s already getting a sequel [groans]). I’m mostly curious to see how many casual moviegoers who saw AHH earlier this year are dim-witted enough to pay to see the same movie twice. My prediction for this is $18.5 million.
Here’s how I see the Top 10
1. 42: $22, 000, 000
2. Scary Movie 5: $18, 500, 000
3. The Croods: $14, 950, 000
4. Evil Dead: $11, 300, 000
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $11, 200, 000
6. Jurassic Park 3D: $10, 520, 000
7. Olympus Has Fallen: $7, 100, 000
8. Oz the Great and Powerful: $5, 275, 000
9. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor: $4, 460, 000
10. The Host: $2, 495, 000