It seems cliche to say a box office weekend offers something for everyone, but that's pretty much what we have this weekend, with an animated family offering, an action/thriller, a romantic comedy and a surprising indie expansion as we continue to ramp up what's been a pretty weak 2013 of box office so far.
Weekend Forecast for March 22-24, 2013
by Tim Briody
March 22, 2013
The Croods is DreamWorks Animation's latest entry, telling the story of a prehistoric cave family in search of a new home and learning about strange new concepts like "fire" and "the wheel" along the way. All the usual slapsticky tropes are involved since it's, you know, for the kids. Voice actors include Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, [bp:1182_]Ryan Reynolds[/bp] and Catherine Keener, not that that matters much to the target audience.
Fox is banking on younger audiences and families on a pre-Easter Spring Break coming out to the first animated release since the holidays, and with a 4,000 theater opening, they're definitely not messing around. This may not quite have the heart of DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon ($43.7 million opening and legged its way to $216 million total), but The Croods will start off with an equally strong $41 million.
Olympus Has Fallen is an action-thriller that takes place mostly inside The White House, after it is essentially captured by terrorists (the dastardly North Koreans, natch) who take the President hostage. It's up to the one guy left behind inside, who of course is a highly trained former member of the President's detail busted down to a desk job for a previous screwup (Gerard Butler), to save the day. I'm sure this sort of thing happens all the time.
This is easily the new release of the week with the most impressive cast, as costarring with Butler are [bp:1017_]Morgan Freeman[/bp], [bp:178_]Aaron Eckhart[/bp], Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd and Melissa Leo. The director is Antoine Fuqua, most notably of Training Day. Butler has kept a surprisingly low profile as of late, and Olympus Has Fallen is set to be a reversal of fortune for him after his last three wide releases, Chasing Mavericks, Playing for Keeps and Movie 43 were all sizable flops.
Reviews are middling but not awful and the genre is largely unaffected by reviews unless they trend strongly in one direction. The only thing against it is it's up against the best weekend of the year in the NCAA Tournament. Still, Olympus Has Fallen should be good for $18 million on the weekend.
Fresh off ending 30 Rock, Tina Fey returns to theaters with Admission, a romantic comedy where she plays a straight-laced, high-strung Princeton admissions officer who has her world turned upside down when an old friend ([bp:4264_]Paul Rudd[/bp]) re-enters her life and has some surprising news for her.
Based on a novel, it seems like a Tina Fey/Paul Rudd pairing is something that already happened, or at least should have happened sooner, but it surprisingly hasn't. Critical consensus is the pairing is wasted on this material as it's getting pretty savagely reviewed. Focus Features is hedging its bets as well by only putting it in 2,160 theaters. Admission will end up with about $7 million for the weekend.
After a strong limited performance ($263,000 in just three NY/LA sites), Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers expands to 1,100 theaters this week. In it, four co-eds (including Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens) plan a wild spring break that begins with knocking off a convenience store and takes them into the criminal underworld, led by a mysterious gangster ([bp:683_]James Franco[/bp], having a good year). I'm sure it's a happy ending, complete with rainbows and kittens.
In the running for the least commercial director working today, Korine's films have always had a very small but devoted following, and whatever Spring Breakers earns this weekend will most certainly make it the highest grossing film of his directorial career. The expansion of Spring Breakers is also a notable gamble on the part of distributor A24, as the extent of the advertising is pretty much word-of-mouth and social media. Still, buzz is strong and reviews are good, and Spring Breakers could hit with, well, spring breakers, to the tune of $5 million.
After two weekends at the top, Oz the Great and Powerful cedes the way this week to The Croods, after a second weekend decline of 48%. While not a runaway blockbuster, it's got $150 million heading into its third weekend, and things could certainly have gone much worse. Add in worldwide numbers and it's more than made its reported production budget back. A weekend of $24.7 million sends it towards $200 million domestically.
The Call was a surprising second place last weekend with $17.1 million, as the [bp:912_]Halle Berry[/bp] thriller found the right niche and, for one weekend, is a rare bright spot at the box office in 2013. It'll probably give about half of that back, but $8.5 million is what most of us thought its opening weekend would be.
Steve Carrell and [bp:1155_]Jim Carrey[/bp] reached into the hat and pulled out a bomb with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, earning just $10.1 million last weekend. Things won't get much better this weekend, either. Give it about $4 million.