Weekend Forecast for June 8-10, 2007
By Reagen Sulewski
June 8, 2007
Switching gears completely, we have Surf's Up, the animated release for the weekend. Another of Sony's attempts to break into this potentially lucrative market, the movie focuses on a band of that "in" avian, the penguin. Shia LaBoeuf stars as an up-and-coming surfing penguin hoping to win at the annual championships, until an accident sidelines him and he loses his cool. His best hope to take back the surf and to potentially win the heart of lifeguard Lani (Zooey Deschanel). Characters he meets along the way include a very lost chicken (Jon Heder) and a legend in the annals of penguin surfing (voiced by Jeff Bridges). If the whole thing seems formulaic...well, you're not wrong, but it's a typical route for a lot of kids films.
Shot in a fake documentary style, Surf's Up is doing its best to grab onto that association with March of the Penguins, which will undoubtedly help some. It definitely doesn't have the marketing power of a Pixar or even a DreamWorks feature, and we're well past the time when any animated film could open big. On the other hand, there's no reason for this one to bomb either, and for those disappointed by Shrek the Third or burnt out on epics, Surf's Up could be an antidote. I look for around $17 million on the weekend.
After spending two weeks at number one, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is about to tumble out of top spot. Including Thursday's figures, it'll have a little over $230 million in treasure, which is not too bad for 14 and a half days' work. Like all blockbuster sequels these days, though, this total isn't about to get all that much larger after a second weekend drop of 61%. This has to be held in context of the holiday opening weekend, of course, but combining this with the movie's failure to expand on Dead Man's Chest's record, there is no way to spin the numbers as good news or simply lowered expectations. I won't plan the pity party for Disney just yet, but this trilogy rounded itself out with a resounding "meh". Watch for a drop to $19 million this weekend.
A strong candidate to pass Pirates is last week's second place finisher, Knocked Up, which brought in a mildly surprising $30 million. This new breed of relationship comedy, directed by Judd Apatow and starring BOP-favorite Seth Rogen, capitalized on a simple premise by combining frat comedy with chick flick sensibilities. It's a delicate balance and I envy their ability to pull it off so well. Word-of-mouth is pretty strong, and there's every possibility it can match the performance of Apatow's last film, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, which turned a low $20 million opening into over $100 million in final box office. Knocked Up should hold on to second place in the weekend's box office with around $20 million.
Among other returning films we have Shrek the Third, which passes the $250 million mark. Like Pirates and Spider-Man, it's not living up to the quality of the second outing of the franchise in both quality and box office. These movies are still tremendous money makers, but for an industry so focused on sequels of late, this has to be worrying. This frame should see Shrek earning about $13 million to get past $275 million total. Spider-Man 3's milestone to beat this round is $325 million, though it may fall just short on the weekend itself.