UPDATE: So, we hadn’t even finished this weekend’s preview when Friday’s early numbers came out. Obsessed is exceeding expectations, banking $11 million today for what looks like a $27.5 million film. That would beat Mean Girls for the best last-April-weekend opening ever and it would be Beyonce’s best opening as an above-the-title star (supporting roles in movies like Austin Powers in Goldmember don’t count). Still, the bad reviews are starting to trickle in, with the movie posting a 25% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Meanwhile, Earth is underperforming, only banking $2.61 million on Friday for what looks like a $9 million-10 million weekend. Expect either The Soloist or 17 Again to take the No. 2 spot. Read on for more of this weekend’s predictions.
EARLIER: Box office experts are predicting that the Beyonce thriller Obsessed will open at No. 1, with $15 million-20 million more than $20 million this weekend. The movie looks like a lame ripoff of Fatal Attraction, which leads us to wonder if box office forecasters are as crazy as Ali Larter’s stalker character in the film. Apparently not, they just think Obsessed will win by default on a slow weekend without any blockbuster competition.
Both Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus have had their weekends in the box office sun, and it’s unlikely they’ll lure enough teenage girls to take back the top spot. And the other movies opening this weekend are either too serious (The Soloist, Disney’s nature documentary Earth) or don’t feature big enough stars or buzz (Fighting) to grab the top spot. Plus, none of those films have Beyonce, who’s been a big draw at the box office in the past. Obsessed is expected to appeal to both women and men and do well with African-American audiences. Sony’s Screen Gems division, which is releasing the pic, kept it away from critics, so the (bad) reviews are just starting to creep in, but the company has a knack for creating one good first weekend out of thrillers of this ilk, no matter how bad the movie is.
After Obsessed, there’s no real consensus on how the rest of the top 5 will shake out, so we’ll just summarize the various industry predictions.
Disney’s new G-rated nature documentary Earth had a strong opening with $4 million on Earth Day. It’s been getting great reviews, and all of the cute animals it features should make it a big draw for families. Our experts are predicting a weekend total ranging from $10 million-13 million, with the LA Times saying it might not even crack $10 million. Slashfilm puts it at No. 2 for the weekend while Entertainment Weekly thinks it’ll finish in fourth place. (UPDATE: See above: Earth‘s not doing as well as predicted.)
After getting pushed back twice from its initial release date last November, DreamWorks/Paramount’s The Soloist finally hits theatres this weekend. It’s getting mixed reviews (61% freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes), and forecasters wonder if the adult audience at which the film is aimed will turn out in large enough numbers to make the movie a hit. Nonetheless, stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx might attract a larger audience than similar serious adult dramas (Duplicity, State of Play). The Soloist is also opening in a perplexingly small number of theatres (2,024), which should hurt its overall total. Industry experts are predicting $10 million-14 million. Entertainment Weekly puts it at No. 2 for the weekend while Slashfilm thinks it’ll finish in fourth place.
The only other wide release this weekend is Rogue Pictures’ Fighting. It’s Hollywood’s first big bet on up-and-comer Channing Tatum’s star power, and might provide an indication of how well Paramount’s Tatum-fronted G.I. Joe will fare in August. The movie should appeal to both teenage boys interested in seeing two guys beat each other up and girls interested in seeing Channing Tatum shirtless. Still, most estimates have the film not even cracking $10 million for the weekend.
In terms of holdovers, Zac Efron’s 17 Again is expected to take a 46-50% drop, only pulling in roughly $12 million for a third place finish. The well-reviewed State of Play, meanwhile, is expected to experience a smaller decline of 35-40% for a $9 million weekend and possible fifth place finish.
Next weekend, summer movie season begins with Wolverine and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (which of those do you think will finish on top?), so none of this week’s new releases are likely to log a second weekend at the top of the box office.
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