'Safe Haven' may edge out 'Beautiful Creatures' in mid $20 mil range
Even without setting a record, it’s still going to be a “Yippee Ki-Yay” kind of holiday weekend at the domestic box office. Fox’s fifth “Die Hard” installment starring Bruce Willis, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” leads a couple of other new entries bowing Valentine’s Day, with expectations tracking north of $50 million through Presidents Day. More bullish predictions peg the pic at around $60 million-plus in five days. But “Die Hard” is unlikely to push the long Presidents Day weekend to a new record, which was set in 2010 when “Valentine’s Day” led with a massive $63 million in four days. A pair of femme-targeted pics, Warner Bros.’ “Beautiful Creatures” and Relativity Media’s “Safe Haven,” should jockey for second place domestically, projected to land somewhere in the high-teens to low-$20 millions in five days. “Safe Haven” could have a slight edge as it’s outselling the competition in advanced tickets and has stronger social media buzz than “Creatures,” according to Fizziology. As a family counterprogrammer, the Weinstein Co.’s 3D toon “Escape from Planet Earth” is expected to gross in the low to mid teens in four days. The toon, which bows Friday, could overperform based on the recent lack of family product. “Die Hard” will see a muscular overseas bow as well. Pic bows day-and-date in 57 territories, including Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the U.K. Last weekend, Fox released the film in a handful of emerging Asian territories, where it tallied a decent $10.4 million. Domestically, the film looks to secure this year’s highest three-day opening, beating last weekend’s $34.6 million debut for “Identity Thief.” The fifth “Die Hard” installment also should be the franchise’s highest Stateside opening to date, surpassing the previous outing, “Live Free or Die Hard,” which scored a $33.4 million three-day opening in 2007. That pic also happens to be the series’ highest domestic grosser at $134 million. Early reviews for “Good Day” have been mostly negative, though action films tend to be review-proof. Pic’s playability beyond “Die Hard” fans will depend greatly on fanboy word-of-mouth. Latest outing returns Willis as detective John McClane, who teams up with his CIA operative son, played by Jai Courtney, to prevent a nuclear weapons heist in Russia. The film is directed by John Moore (“Behind Enemy Lines”), from a script by Skip Woods. Dune Entertainment co-financed. The film’s Valentine’s Day release date is an inspired move on Fox’s part in an attempt to attract more men to the theaters, though women also are fans of the franchise. The R-rated pic should maintain a stronghold on over-25 couples, while $28 million “Safe Haven” will attract both young fans of “Dear John” and older Nicholas Sparks fans. “Safe Haven,” which stars Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, launches day-and-date in Australia and Russia. The film marks helmer Lasse Hallstrom’s second time directing a Sparks adaptation after 2010′s “Dear John,” which grossed a solid $80 million domestically. Warner’s “Beautiful Creatures,” based on the young-adult series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, will compete for femme attention this weekend. The PG-13-rated supernatural-themed film should earn most of its gross from teen fans of the books. Alcon Entertainment fronted the negative costs and P&A. The film, which Richard LaGravenese wrote and directed, stars newcomer Alice Englert as a coming-of-age witch who falls for a human, played by Alden Ehrenreich. At the specialty B.O., Sony Pictures Classics expands Oscar pic contender “Amour,” at $3 million Stateside, to a more aggressive 306 locations, with an additional 300-plus playdates including the AMC-Cinemark-Regal best picture marathon this weekend. Sony Classics also launches Chile’s foreign-lingo nominee “No” at four engagements in New York and L.A.