The weekend B.O. competish may not be the clear-cut battle of the sexes that most have been expecting.
According to online ticketing service Fandango, 42% of its users Thursday were femmes planning to see Lionsgate’s testosterone-heavy actioner “The Expendables” — indicating that the pic may be a draw for the core demo targeted by Sony for its Julia Roberts starrer “Eat Pray Love,” which opens wide this weekend at 3,082 locations.
Lionsgate also noted that its tracking for “Expendables,” which bows today at 3,270, started to pick up with women over 25 on Thursday.
While both pics should attract plenty of moviegoers over 25, Universal’s fanboy pic “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” will benefit from counterprogramming by appealing mostly to younger auds. “Scott” enters the fray at 2,819 engagements.
Of the three wide U.S. entries, only “Expendables” will roll out day-and-date overseas, mostly in Latin America, including Braziland Mexico. Spain and India will also get the pic this weekend.
Sony plans to kick off “Eat Pray Love” overseas in Italy and Japan on Sept. 17, with other major territories following in late September and early October.
Last year at the domestic B.O., Sony faced a similar demo derby, with its lit adaptation “Julie and Julia” pitted against Paramount’s male-targeted “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” The latter pic topped the frame with a $54.7 million domestic opening, compared to “Julia’s” $20 million debut.
But “Eat Pray Love” can likely bank on the draw of Roberts and fans of the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Sony mounted an aggressive marketing campaign with the slogan “Let yourself go,” meant to mirror Gilbert’s worldwide trek. The studio inked licensing deals with brands including HSN, Cost Plus World Markets, Borders and Lonely Planet to reinforce the globe-trotting, femme-empowerment theme.
Directed by Ryan Murphy, “Eat Pray Love” is Roberts’ first star vehicle since Universal’s 2009 caper “Duplicity,” which co-starred Clive Owen.
Roberts appeared earlier this year in Warner Bros.’ comedy-ensemble “Valentine’s Day,” which opened with $56.3 million on Feb. 12 and has cumed $110.5 million to date.
While Roberts maintains considerable draw among older femmes, the macho dream-team assembled in “Expendables” should attract male auds, with females added to the mix. “Expendables” is helmed and co-written by Sylvester Stallone, along with David Callaham. Stallone co-stars alongside action heavyweights Jason Statham, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis.
Pic, about a team of mercenaries headed to South America to overthrow a dictator, was acquired by Lionsgate from Nu Image/Millennium Films.
Universal’s “Scott Pilgrim,” with a small interest from Relativity Media, received top marks from auds when it unspooled at Comic-Con.
Pic toplines Michael Cera as the title character, who has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes. Directed by Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”), the film features anime-like effects that should appeal to fanboy auds but may have trouble broadening to other demos.
Universal said it has high expectations for the film’s overall performance, but added that the pic’s unique storytelling style makes it difficult to compare to other pics aimed at a similar aud.
Among the frame’s top holdovers, Warner’s “Inception” continues to earn notable coin on weekdays but could see a sizable drop this weekend as adult auds choose fresher fare. Last weekend, “Inception” dropped from its top perch for the first time since launching on July 16; it’s cumed an impressive $235 million domestically.
Sony’s B.O. champ last weekend, “The Other Guys,” debuted with a healthy $35.5 million, totaling $49.1 million so far. Pic should benefit as the frame’s top comedy, while Disney’s fellow soph-sesh entry “Step Up 3D” could lose teenage moviegoers to “Scott Pilgrim.” “Step Up 3D” bowed to $15.8 million and has cumed $21.5 million domestically.
In limited release, Focus Features will scale back on “The Kids Are All Right,” reducing its location count to 830 from 994 last weekend, when it landed in the top 10 with $2.6 million. Domestic totals for “Kids” have reached a stellar $15.1 million as of Wednesday.
Sony Pictures Classics launches today its Australian drama “Animal Kingdom,” toplining Guy Pearce, at four locations in New York and L.A., while Disney releases its Studio Ghibli produced-toon “Tales From Earthsea” at five U.S. engagements.