Weekend Forecast for December 21-23, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
December 21, 2012
Even for this time of year, this is a pretty crowded slate. An astounding eight, count 'em, eight new wide releases find their way to theaters over the Christmas opening “weekend”, stretched out over three different opening dates. As big as Christmas week can be, expecting eight films to succeed is a huge stretch, and there's going to be bad news for at least half of these films.
Let's start with the two films that have already opened on Wednesday, The Guilt Trip and Monsters, Inc. 3D. The first of those two brings together that pairing we've been asking for for so long, Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, as a mother and son on a cross-country business trip. Or rather, Streisand as a mother who invites herself on said same trip, presumably because she secretly wants to destroy her child and everything he's done. I mean, I'm just guessing here.
The commercials for this have been stunningly laugh free, and I'm frankly left a little baffled as to who exactly this movie is targeted at. “Just like spending two hours in a car with your overbearing mother” isn't the greatest of sell-lines ever, you know? While Rogen has turned into a fairly consistent performer in his big comedy vehicles, The Guilt Trips seems to be actively turning off his audience and I don't think we have to try very hard to figure out who to blame that on. With an anemic $1 million on Wednesday, just barely beating out the six-week old Lincoln for second place, this is pretty squarely in bomb territory already, and we might see just $6 million for the weekend.
Monsters, Inc 3D is really the only out and out children's film opening over the holiday period, which seems like a bizarre oversight by Hollywood – no Alvin, no Night at the Museum, not even a Smurfs. While 3D re-releases are more or less found money for studios, at the same time, none of them so far have really destroyed the box office. The Lion King, with about $100 million, is the gold standard, while Star Wars Episode I's $40 million is looking to be more along the line of the average. That Monsters, Inc. is one of the lower grossing Pixar films is no particular help to the bottom line here, and that shows in the under $800,000 debut. Of course, kids are not out of school yet (so why open on a Wednesday then?) and things will pick up for it – certainly more than they will for The Guilt Trip – but a sub-million dollar day never turns into a $20 million weekend or anything of that ilk. I'd expect something closer to a $10 million three-day total.
The battle that starts December 21st is between Tom Cruise and Judd Apatow, and who'd have thought that was a statement that would ever make sense? Cruise represents action with Jack Reacher, while Apatow brings the comedy with This Is 40, and while neither looks like a world beater, both have a good shot at being middle tier hits.