×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Frosh fare look to widen weekend B.O.

'Moneyball' plies 'Social' strategy while 'Lion,' 'Dolphin' duke it out for families

B.O. observers are predicting a healthy upswing at the weekend’s domestic B.O., with four new wide releases all likely to amass double-digit tallies.

Sony’s Brad Pitt sports pic “Moneyball” — in a bow that almost directly mirrors the studio’s rollout of “The Social Network” last fall — could attract enough adult moviegoers to win the weekend. But a pair of family-targeted films, Warner Bros.’ “Dolphin Tale” and Disney’s 3D holdover “The Lion King,” are expected to make it a tight three-way race in the $18 million-$20 million range.

If “Moneyball” and “Dolphin Tale” wind up close on Friday, B.O. pundits say “Dolphin Tale” — boosted by 2,700 3D locations — will likely win the weekend since family pics play better on Saturday and Sunday.

The frame’s remaining wide releases, including Lionsgate’s Taylor Lautner actioner “Abduction” and “Killer Elite,” the inaugural release from Open Road Films, are projected to do solid business as well, north of $10 million.

Whether it’s audience malaise or a reflection of product quality, U.S. moviegoers haven’t lately embraced more than two new titles in the market concurrently. Last weekend, for instance, “The Lion King” and “Drive” were the only pics to bow in double digits. (“Contagion” collected $14.5 million in its second frame.)

Bizzers were optimistic that this weekend could see more than two films score double-digit grosses.

Overseas, Sony’s “The Smurfs” could remain on top for a seventh straight week. Last week, the live-action/toon hybrid surged 23% vs. the previous frame thanks to bows in Australia and Italy. But with no new markets, “Smurfs” could feasibly concede this weekend to newer entries like “Abduction,” which launches day and date in 20 territories, including Oz, Brazil and Russia.

Killer Elite,” too, is bowing simultaneously in the U.S. and several overseas territories, such as Russia and the U.K., via local distribs.

Both “Killer Elite” and “Moneyball” should appeal to primarily over-25 male auds; the latter also could draw plenty of females. “Abduction” has a strong hold on “Twilight” girl fans and should be helped by a less-restrictive PG-13 rating.

Meanwhile, families could be torn between “Dolphin Tale,” which also has support from faith-based auds, and “The Lion King.” But family turnout depends on how the latter plays to adults (“Lion King” drew much better-than-expected support from over-25 auds during opening weekend).

Though “Lion King” has been performing well midweek — a usual boon time for adult auds — the re-released toon still could see a minimal drop in its second weekend, when families typically visit plexes. Some bizzers suggest the film may have seen the bulk of its B.O. draw in its first frame.

Sony is de-emphasizing the opening weekend’s impact to the overall prospects for “Moneyball.” As with “The Social Network,” which opened to $22 million and cumed almost $97 million domestically, the studio anticipates that “Moneyball,” budgeted at a reported $50 million, will develop similar legs, based on strong reviews coming out of the Toronto Film Festival.

In limited release, Roadside Attractions’ docu “Thunder Soul” bows at 35 locations, while Relativity Media’s Gerard Butler starrer “Machine Gun Preacher” opens at four locations in New York and L.A.

Sundance Selects, sister division of IFC Films, launches gay-themed drama “Weekend” at one location. Pic won raves at SXSW and Outfest Film Fests.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Women in Motion

    Kering and Tokyo Festival Bring 'Women in Motion' Talk Series to Japan

    Actress Shinobu Terajima, director and photographer Mika Ninagawa, and Japanese-British artist Sputniko! will take part in Women in Motion, on Thursday next week. The event is a special symposium hosted by the Tokyo International Film Festival and global fashion conglomerate Kering, and is the first time that the Cannes-based Women in Motion series has touched [...]

  • Ji.hlava Festival Director Marek Hovorka on

    Ji.hlava's Marek Hovorka on Documentaries With a Cinematic Sensibility

    Nine international documentary films and one judge. That’s the unique competition format for Opus Bonum, the section dedicated to international documentary titles at Ji.hlava Intl. Documentary Film Festival (Oct. 24-29). Films from France, the U.K., Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, India, Madagascar, Egypt and Palestine play in the competition section, and the winner will [...]

  • Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux and dogs'Lady

    'Lady and the Tramp' Cast on Remaking a Classic, Premiering on Disney Plus

    The divas on display at Tuesday’s special screening of “Lady and the Tramp” were of the four-legged variety. It was a night that brought out A-listers such as Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux, but those stars were outshone by Rose and Monte, the two canine actors who portray the title characters in the live-action remake [...]

  • Mindanao

    Tokyo Film Review: 'Mindanao'

    Filipina actor, TV star, reality show host and social media queen Judy Ann Santos turns in a de-glammed, gently anguished, remarkably sympathetic performance in “Mindanao,” the latest title from prolific Filipino director Brillante Mendoza. Her watchability, however, comes despite a storytelling approach that is undercut by several unconvincing directorial decisions — chief among them the [...]

  • The Lighthouse, with Willem Dafoe, FICM.

    Willem Dafoe on Robert Pattinson, Choosing Roles, Acting as Adventure

    MORELIA, Mexico – Mindful of how his words could “turn into click-bait,” Willem Dafoe, in Morelia to present his latest film “The Lighthouse,” declined to comment about the looming advent of more streaming giants in the market. “It’s a complex question; we’re still forming ideas on how people see films and how films are being [...]

  • Motherless Brooklyn BTS Edward Norton

    Edward Norton Hails His 'Motherless Brooklyn' Crew for Their 'Career-Best' Work

    Edward Norton wrote, directed, produced and stars in Warner Bros.’ “Motherless Brooklyn,” but he’s quick to give credit to his behind-the-camera collaborators. Norton told Variety: “I think this is career-best work for some of these people.” The film is set in 1950s New York, and the team accomplished a lot on a budget of $26 million [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content