JoBlo.com's Box-Office Predictions! (November 11-13)
It's always fascinating to observe the box office competition, the bloody Hollywood gladiatorial clash. To cheer for champions and underdogs, to speculate on tactics, or to hail the demise of the dreadful. And, of course, to witness the weekly reminders that success (or failure) isn't always an indicator of quality.
All through the week, JoBlo.com delivers news, reviews, rumors and opinions on everything about the movies. But when the weekend arrives, eyeballs tend to fall on the business side of show business to see how those all-important numbers tally.
In IMMORTALS, scenery-chewing god Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) wages war against humanity but faces opposition from hunky Henry Cavill, exquisite Freida Pinto, and Stephen Dorff, of all people.
While this might be selling director Tarsem’s visual skills a bit short, his latest movie is blatantly aiming for the same crowds that made 300 a surprise success – IMMORTALS is a similarly carnage-packed R-rated swords-and-sandals epic about sweaty, sinewy armor-clad dudes slaughtering each other (and deities). It even comes from some of 300’s producers, as proudly proclaimed on the IMMORTALS advertising materials.
But that association and the hyper-stylish gold/gloss/grunge aesthetics are the movie’s biggest assets, since there aren’t any top-tier actors (no, Rourke doesn't count). Tarsem made a fair impact with his first feature THE CELL ($17M opening/$61M total), but his second attempt, the vibrant passion project THE FALL, was ignored at the box office with a $2.3M take (although it’s since found an appreciative audience).
And unless I missed something, it doesn’t seem like Relativity has given this an appropriately heroic marketing effort. Despite the 3D boost and wide opening (3000+ theaters), I don’t envision the movie even approaching 300’s box office success ($70M opening, $270M total) or, for that matter, the more recent fantasy CLASH OF THE TITANS ($61M opening, $163M total).
(I would wonder if the movie could boost star Henry Cavill’s career the way Gerard Butler benefited from the muscular mayhem of 300, but he doesn’t really seem to need the assistance – Cavill is already wearing the big red ‘S’ in 2013’s MAN OF STEEL.)
My guess: $20 million
In Clint Eastwood’s J.EDGAR, Leonardo DiCaprio creases his brow even further to get Oscar-level serious as the FBI founder who wielded an excess of power and kept loads of secrets.
As far as directing other A-list talent, Eastwood’s past few hypothetical award-grabbers (CHANGELING - $9M opening/$37M total; HEREAFTER - $12M/$32M; INVICTUS - $8.5M/$37M) haven’t come anywhere near the box office as putting his legendary self before the camera as the crotchety racist with a heart of gold in GRAN TORINO ($29M/$148M).
DiCaprio’s last time portraying a historical figure on film was in Scorsese’s THE AVIATOR in 2004, which resulted in an $8.6M opening and a long-run $102M total, but his other recent work on the dramatic side didn’t fare nearly as well at the box office (REVOLUTIONARY ROAD - $5M/$22M; BODY OF LIES - $12.8M/$39M; BLOOD DIAMOND - $8.6M/$57M).
Will the audiences who convened to see Leo dream deeper in INCEPTION ($62M opening/$292M total) be curious to see him emote through Hoover’s decades, accent and facial prosthetics? Aside from its lackluster critical reception (currently 40% on Rotten Tomatoes), J. EDGAR is also opening on 1000 fewer screens than the weekend’s other new entries.
My guess: $14 million
In JACK AND JILL, Adam Sandler's holidays are thrown into turmoil when his terrifying twin sister shows up, testing the boundaries of the Sandler tolerance index.
Let's face it, Sandler is practically the definition of “critic proof”. Just look at the opening weekends and totals of his last few movies for evidence: JUST GO WITH IT ($30M opening/$103M total), GROWN UPS ($40M/$162M), BEDTIME STORIES ($27M/$110M), YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN ($38M/$100M) and I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY ($34M/$120M). Of those, ZOHAN managed to be the best-reviewed with 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the others tumbling down through the scores all the way to GROWN UPS’ nearly subterranean 10%.
The only exception to that relative consistency is Sandler’s attempt at serious acting, Judd Apatow’s R-rated FUNNY PEOPLE in 2009, which ranked a relatively high 68% at RT but made just $51M after a $22M opening.
But JACK AND JILL is clearly no attempt at seriousness (unless you approach it like a horror movie, which would appear justified), and while Sandler’s typical audience will probably show up no matter what his movies are about, I still wonder how many truly want to pay to see him dressed like a woman – two Sandlers aren’t necessarily better than one. Can the baffling inclusion of Al Pacino help? Doubtful.
My guess: $23 million
The weekend gets an extra day thanks to the Veterans Day holiday on Friday, but will people use that downtime to rush out for any of these new movies? For action and eyeball sizzle, this same weekend last year offered UNSTOPPABLE and SKYLINE, neither of which made any impression against family-friendly holdover MEGAMIND.
Despite the diverse competition, I’d expect a similar result this weekend as PUSS IN BOOTS continues to swashbuckle the newcomers at the box office, particularly after its shockingly strong second week. No such luck for the fairly ignored TOWER HEIST, although it should still manage to stick around the upper half of the chart.
My stab at the Top 5:
1. PUSS IN BOOTS - $24.5M
2. JACK AND JILL - $23M
3. IMMORTALS - $20M
4. J. EDGAR - $14M
5. TOWER HEIST - $11M
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