Weekend Forecast for January 13-15, 2012

By Reagen Sulewski

January 13, 2012


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After last week's shocking box office results, the question out there for this weekend is whether there's another unconventional film ready to shake up expectations. The answer: maybe?

2012 is shaping up to be the Year of 3-D Revivals, following the Lion King's remarkable run last year, where it brought in about $90 million after its conversion to 3-D. With that result in mind, get ready for just about the entire Disney catalog to make its way through theaters again, starting with this weekend's release of Beauty and the Beast. Famous as the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture, it was the dominant family film of 1991, earning a then outstanding $137 million. This was of course before the Peak Disney of The Lion King three years later, and a big part of why that film was chosen as the first 3-D conversion.

You don't need me to rehash the plot of this for you, so let's just get down to brass tacks - usually hailed as one of the more sumptuous Disney animated films, it's also probably the most musical, with three different songs from it getting Oscar nominations. In that respect it has a bit of a leg up on a lot of the posible 3-D conversions. Except probably not The Lion King, which is likely to set the standard for these re-releases for some time to come, thanks to its initial popularity. I don't think it's going to be as simple as pro-rating the final box office takes, but it'll likely be closer to that than not. So no $30 million opening weekend, but probably something like $17 million. Here, though, we have the biggest chance for a breakout film this weekend.


More conventionally, we have Mark Wahlberg in an action film. In Contraband,he stars as a retired smuggler pulled in for one last job to help out his brother-in-law (if you're married to Kate Beckinsale, you do just about anything to make her happy, right? I mean, especially if you drink coffee winkwinknudgenudge), who's in trouble with a shady underworld thug(?) played by Giovanni Ribisi, who's growing nicely into his "total scuzzball" roles. When the job goes wrong, that's when all hell breaks looks, and then 'splosions.

Wahlberg has an up and down career when it comes to movie openings, though this fits well into his "noble tactiturn iconoclast fighting impossible odds and kicking faces" oeuvre, as opposed to his "noble taciturn real life person living Cinderella story" oeuvre. Which is more successful for him is a matter of debate, as it's sort of a wash between Invincible/The Fighter/Rock Star and Shooter/Italian Job/Max Payne (which, lest we forget, opened to $17 million). There's not a lot to distiguish this either positively or negatively compared with any of these movies, so we're left with mostly Wahlberg's plain draw, which as noted, can be substantial. With the January release and how a lot of these movies have been trending down of late (see: Killer Elite for one example), I look for this to be towards the lower end of his range, with about a $15 million opening weekend.

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