B.O. makes a 'Beer' run
Hollywood’s turbulent summer is nearing completion on a muted note with a quartet of medium-profile launches this weekend.Warner’s raunchy laffer “Beerfest” bows at 2,964 playdates, but Disney’s football drama “Invincible,” at 2,917, could land on top. Also opening are New Line’s kid comedy “How to Eat Fried Worms” at 1,870 and U’s period drama “Idlewild” at 973. Expectations for the frame are in line with typically scaled-down perfs for the final August frame amid the twin distractions of the start of school and end of summer vacations. The soph sesh of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” topped the same sesh last year with $16.3 million while the launch of “Hero” led the 2004 weekend with $18 million. “Beerfest,” featuring the Broken Lizard comedy troupe as Americans belching their way through a Munich drinking competish, is aimed squarely at young males. It’s one of the few recent comedies to carry an R rating, along with MGM’s “Clerks II,” which grossed a mild $23 million earlier this summer. Previous two Broken Lizard pics — “Super Troopers” and “Club Dread” — generated modest biz of $18 million and $5 million in domestic cumes, respectively. “Invincible,” a feel-good recap of walk-on Vincent Papale’s 1976 season in the NFL, follows a long line of inspirational Disney sports pics such as “Remember the Titans,” “The Rookie,” “Glory Road” and “Miracle.” Studio’s brought in the NFL to promote the Mark Wahlberg vehicle, aiming to capture football fans hungry for action just as the new season prepares to kick off. “How to Eat Fried Worms,” co-financed by Philip Anschutz’s Walden Media, is targeting families. Adapted from Thomas Rockwell’s bestseller, “Worms” centers on a new kid getting in trouble with the school bully. The R-rated “Idlewild,” set in a 1930s nightclub and starring OutKast duo Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton, should receive backing from the group’s fans and positive notices may attract crossover audiences, but it’s unclear whether that will translate to significant coin. The frame will also see Fox Searchlight more than double the playdates for “Little Miss Sunshine” from 691 to 1,430, a week after the dark comedy cracked the top 10 with a stellar $8,120 per-screen average. Indie comedy’s cume is near $15 million after four weeks. Holdover biz for “Snakes on a Plane,” U’s soph sesh of “Accepted” and Sony’s “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” should also play in the mix. As with most horror pics, “Snakes” will likely see a decline in the 50% range while “Talladega” is likely to keep showing traction as it crosses the $120 million milestone. As opposed to the domestic front where there’s no clear front-runner, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” should remain the dominant foreign film and win its eighth straight weekend. “Chest” went past Sony’s “The Da Vinci Code” in total foreign gross earlier this week, hitting $534.9 million foreign and $937 million worldwide. BVI’s opening the “Pirates” sequel this weekend in Greece and will launch the final major market Sept. 15 in Italy, which should be enough to drive “Chest” past $1 billion worldwide. UIP’s “Miami Vice” is likely to provide some competition to “Chest” with openings in Brazil, Germany and Poland. “Vice” has taken in $39 million overseas from 23 markets, led by $12 million in the U.K. BVI is expanding “Cars” into China, Finland, Italy and Norway this frame and Sony’s taking “Monster House” into France, Germany and Taiwan. “Cars” has cumed $149.4 million offshore while “House” has topped $20 million. UIP’s launching “You, Me and Dupree” in the U.K. after taking in $8 million in half a dozen markets, including $6 million from Australia. It’s opening “United 93” in several mid-sized markets such as Portugal and the Czech Republic; the 9/11 drama has topped $20 million overseas in 23 markets, led by $5.2 million in the U.K. Sony announced Thursday that it had crossed the $1 billion mark in foreign grosses this year. Fox announced on June 12 that it had become the first studio to cross that mark this year. On the arthouse circuit in the United States, Sony Classics unveils thriller “The Quiet,” starring Edie Falco and Elisha Cuthbert, at seven sites. Regent opens gay ensemble comedy “Queens” at five.