JoBlo.com's Box-Office Predictions! (November 4-6)

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 TOWER HEIST, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick join some cohorts (whose faces are perhaps more familiar than their names) to exact revenge on the type of selfish Wall Street fatcat everyone currently despises.

Either Universal planned the most elaborate marketing angle ever with the whole Occupy Wall Street uproar, or a movie about the common man getting payback on the proverbial Man just happened to align perfectly with reality.

But… could that somehow actually backfire? Will sympathizers swiftly mobilize and pay to witness vicarious vengeance (performed, it should be noted, by high-paid humans pretending to be lowly wage-slaves) on the big screen? Or are the middle-class masses exhausted from constantly seeing the 99% in headlines and broadcasts for the past month?

There have been a couple of hugely successful heist movies in the past year or so, but keep in mind that one of them (INCEPTION) had a novel approach and a director coming off THE DARK KNIGHT, and the other (FAST FIVE) was just a premise-shift for an existing popular franchise. And they both had the benefit of summer releases, and more action content than (deliberate) chuckles. Still, those figures can't be argued with -- INCEPTION snatched a $62M opening and $292M total (and $825 global total!) and FAST FIVE drove off with an $82M weekend before sputtering out at $202M (and $626 worldwide). And since it could also be considered a heist comedy (however unintentional), TAKERS somehow swiped $57M last September after a #1 weekend opening...

At the very least, the timing and cast of TOWER HEIST should guarantee a better performance than its director Brett Ratner had with his last heist movie, AFTER THE SUNSET ($11M opening, $28M total). And if you want to see it, you'll have to hit the theater since the "opportunity" to pay 60 bucks to watch it at home was swiftly scrapped by the studio after blowback from cinema chains.

Stiller can draw a considerable family crowd in other series (FOCKERS and MUSEUMS), and people might be eager to see Murphy in what appears to be a return to form (i.e., actually funny and sans latex). But on the other hand, none of the OCEAN’S movies could break a $40M opening with Clooney, Pitt and Damon picking pockets...

My guess: $38 million

In A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR CHRISTMAS, the loveable titular weed aficionados (John Cho and Kal Penn) reunite for more puffs and laughs in a 3D holiday adventure design to blow the limits of lowbrow humor right out of the screen and into your face. As is now customary, fictional NPH will also return for more profane behavior, and Danny Trejo provides some thuggish merriment.

While I can certainly appreciate a raunchy stoner comedy, it’s not exactly a reliable box office genre -- those two HANGOVERs were smashes, but mainly focused on other methods of altered perceptions. For the straight pot topic, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS showed surprising appeal with a $23M opening and $87M total. But by the same token (tokin'?), the more ambitious slacker-fantasy YOUR HIGHNESS from several primary PINEAPPLE participants (plus plucky, pretty Portman) found its potential audience loafing on the Cheeto-dusted couch and waiting for the Blu-Ray -- it only opened to $9M and finished with $21M, less than the PINEAPPLE EXPRESS first weekend.

Harold and Kumar’s fanbase (such as it is) has surely grown in the past few years thanks to countless cable airings of their previous smoky exploits (theatrically, HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE and the sequel HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY opened to $5.4M and $14.9M respectively, each ultimately making $18M and $38M)… But really, are those the kind of consumers who’ll be motivated to head out for opening weekend? Cuz what if there's, like, stuff on TV?

I realize that the stores are decorated for Christmas before the trick-or-treat candy even gets marked down, but either I’m getting my Grinch on early or the first weekend of November seems premature for a holiday movie, particularly one that doesn’t exactly appeal to a broad family audience. Then again, this will be the only chance this year to see baked protagonists get Claymated.

Even with the premium 3D ticket price? My guess: $14 million

Those two new movies don’t have any major competition hitting theaters (the Al Pacino/Channing Tatum cop drama THE SON OF NO ONE is getting thrust onto a mere 10 screens), but there could be threats from last week’s holdovers.

PUSS IN BOOTS might hang onto the family crowds, but the SHREK spinoff only opened to $33 million (though in defense, the feline Banderas had to deal with abnormal weather in part of the US). Audiences who were shoveling snow (!!) last weekend could find it this time around. And so my guess: $20 million.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 took a standard horror genre second-week plunge of more than 60% last week, and will sink further into static-filled shadow now that we're post-Halloween, but the sequel/prequel should easily pass the total take of PA2 ($84M) and squeeze out a few more scares. My guess: $9 million.

(FYI - This same weekend last year found MEGAMIND opening to $46M, and DUE DATE premiering in second with $32M. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 was still hanging in 6th with $7M.)

So the Top 5 may shake out like this:

5. IN TIME - $5M



Source: JoBlo.com



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