Weekend Forecast for April 9-11, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
April 9, 2010
Several consecutive crowded weekends at the box office give way to one with just a single major release. Thanks, Hollywood, completionists get a weekend to relax!
That one film is Date Night, Fox's attempt at comedic alchemy. The theory, as it appears to go, is that taking one star from an NBC Thursday comedy and matching them with a star from another NBC Thursday comedy should create, like, twice the comedy. Unfortunately when it comes to being funny, it's usually multiplication instead of addition, and one times one is... one.
Steve Carell and Tina Fey star in the film, as a NYC couple who steal a dinner reservation on a night out, not realizing that the couple they stole it from is marked for a hit. When the hitmen come calling, they end up on the run for the night, bumping into various seedy and not-so-seedy characters as they attempt to escape hitmen.
The premise seems right for comedy, with the idea of the Bickersons finding their way through the nightlife of New York City making for some real potential, but only if they'd bothered to write real jokes and real situations. A lot is going to depend on the likability of the two leads, which is significant, but they can only take the film so far. A shirtless Mark Wahlberg is really the film's biggest asset in the commercials, which is kind of troubling.
Directed by Shawn Levy, who doesn't entirely inspire confidence with his comedy resume, consisting mostly of The Pink Panther remake and the two Night at the Museum films, Date Night will really test the star power of its two leads. Carell broke through as a leading man two years ago with Get Smart, though his pull outside a licensed property remains to be seen. Fey's biggest hit to date as a lead is Baby Mama, a $60 million grosser. This might be a case where the more that's shown of the film the worse its prospects get, as initially funny trailers have given way to forced-joke city. Opening at about 3,300 venues, this should see a weekend of approximately $25 million.
So, as poorly received as Clash of the Titans was on its opening weekend, it could very well repeat at the top spot. A $61 million opening was largely due to over-the-top melodrama and 3D action, but it's hard to see this film drop much more than half off its opening frame. These poorly regarded 3D films are really becoming the acid test for the film technique, with the cash-ins having to be burned off before we see if 3D really does become a permanent phenomenon, or fails as a fad. I'd look for around $33 million for Titans in its second weekend.
While Tyler Perry flexed his muscle with a $29 million opening for Why Did I Get Married Too, it's mostly guaranteed to be passed by How to Train Your Dragon, the secondary option for 3D out there right now. The animated film made up for a somewhat lackluster opening weekend with a drop of just a third in its second frame, and looks destined for an at-least-respectable $150 million domestic total. Finally, word-of-mouth pays off for a family film, the first in a long, long while. Give it $19 million this weekend.
As for Perry's latest attempt to turn sitcoms into movies ... well, it certainly opened well. The first Perry film to have long-lasting impact will be the first, so I don't see a lot of reason to predict more than $14 million for Married Too's second weekend of box office, even as this represents a significant move upwards for Perry.
It's somewhat difficult to compare The Last Song to other Nicholas Sparks adaptations, as it has some crucial demerits and benefits. It didn't open prior to Valentine's Day, but it does star Miley Cyrus. On the other hand, it does star Miley Cyrus, as restrictive a box office draw as there ever has been. That it fell so far below the Hannah Montana opening weekend, at $32 million, has to cause a tremendous amount of concern, as these types of fans aren't known for their patience. If this is the best she can do at the start, the next few weeks are going to be bloody. Look for just $7 million a second weekend.