Weekend Forecast for May 22-25, 2009
By Reagen Sulewski
May 21, 2009
Opening at Christmastime, the first Night at the Museum was the hit of the season, earning $250 million when all was said and done. Ticking a lot of boxes as a comedic action-adventure film that was safe for families, it's getting the promotion to the summer season and made bigger, and grander and noisier. Most of the principles of the star-studded cast, which in addition to Stiller includes Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Robin Williams, Christopher Guest, Hank Azaria and Amy Adams, who joins the group as Amelia Earhart, a potential love interest for Stiller's character.
Compared to Terminator 4's PG-13, Night at the Museum 2's PG rating does give it some breathing room in terms of competition, although not as much as it would have were T4 an R (as it should have been, but that's another rant). But for families, this might as well be their Terminator. Reviews aren't all that great for this film either, and it has every look of a cash-in, but basically everyone who bought a ticket for the first one will be out again this weekend. Look for an opening weekend of $82 million over four days. Together, the top two films could be the highest combination of new opening films on one weekend, compared to last year's grouping of The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia!, at $186.2 million.
Bringing up the rump for new films is the latest in the line of films to darken the good name of parody, Dance Flick. Apparently the "Movie" appellation has been so sullied by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer that the Wayans family felt they had to search for another synonym so as to maybe fool some of the dumber moviegoers out there (and perhaps just in time to save us from a title like Movie Movie). While the Wayans have admittedly done this sort of recycled comedy better than some other parodists, that's not saying much of late.
Dance Flick tackles the already dated genre of dance movies, giving those films like Save the Last Dance and Step Up their apparently deserved zinging. But it's difficult to imagine anyone caring enough about that genre to want to see it skewered, even toothlessly. Standard not-my-friend-if-you-see-this rules apply, though we're looking at only around $10 million for the long weekend for it.
A couple of returning films will still add significantly to the box office, with Star Trek probably sneaking past Angels & Demons into third place. The sci-fi reboot held up fairly strongly, dropping 45% off its opening weekend and pushing the $150 million mark. While it undoubtedly faces the stiffest direct competition of any film this weekend, Memorial Day Weekend is one where there's room for multiple big films. Over the four-day frame, I expect it to come in with $34 million.
Angels & Demons, on the other hand, might be considered to have stumbled out of the gate with a $46 million start, especially compared to The Da Vinci Code. Given the rapid disappearance of that film from theatres two years ago, I wouldn't be shocked to see Tom Hanks' latest end up with a holiday weekend figure of $30 million or less.
Wolverine also hit the $150 million mark last weekend, though in taking a week longer to do so than Star Trek after a significantly better opening weekend, it has to be a bit of cold comfort. The X-Men spin-off is pretty firmly entrenched as this summer's first disappointment, and this will likely be its last major earning weekend. Give it $9 million for the next four days.