By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekend Estimates by Act of Klady
So there are two modest surprises at the top of the chart this weekend. First, you have Act of Valor, which certainly outperformed expectations, but not to any insane level. If it weren’t Oscar, the story would probably be very well deconstructed by the media, though with all eyes pointed at the No-Dak, it probably won’t. Did Relativity find The Military Niche or The Right Wing niche with their film that laid so heavily on having real Navy SEALS in the cast? Presumably, this is the same crowd that was part of the success of The Expendables and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, amongst others.
The other surprise was the weak reception for Tyler Perry, his worst launch ever, for Good Deeds, which was sold with a visual of Perry out of drag, and not a bevy of Black super-starlettes in support. Be clear… bitching about a $15m+ opening based on one guy’s face for a film being marketed primarily to one niche is not a failure and should not, on its face, be considered any kind of disappointment. But again… his weakest opening ever. This is a guy who came virtually out of nowhere, in movie biz terms, and opened his first film to $21.9 million. Should this number concern the producers of I, Alex Cross? Yeah. But hopefully, they will have more to sell than Perry as a movie star.
Wanderlust & Gone are reminders of how stardom is not a given, even after a few big successes. This is Paul Rudd’s third under-$8m opening in a row, two of which had him as the clear lead of the film. A few years in the lead of a big sitcom could make Rudd into a Steve Carrell-sized movie draw. But even Carrell opened Dan in Real Life to $12m a few years ago. Rudd works with interesting, rising filmmakers… smart, interesting actors… and have a wonderful career. He’s just not likely to ever be a box office draw of any major weight. You could do a lot worse than to be comedy’s Liev Schreiber.
Amanda Seyfried has had a rough couple of weeks. Her old Mean Girls co-star, McA, once again stole her thunder, pushing her Scream Gems sappy to over $100, setting a new bar for that division of Sony Pictures. And now, she is out in her very best twist on Liam Neeson’s Taken turn (“What if the kidnapped girl had a sister who kicked ass? Hmmmm…”) and it opens to single digits. Seyfried has had 7 wide releases in the last 5 years. Propelled by Mamma Mia!, she was not derailed by the Megan-Fox-focused Jennifer’s Body and home-runned the opening of Scream Gems’ Dear John. Letters to Juliet opening to $14m was “good for Summit.” Then Red Riding Hood, her first real test at a major, opened to about the same number… and that was ok, but nothing close to great. And then In Time, which was hung on Justn Timberlake and had Seyfried in dark, stylized hair that made her almost unrecognizable and therefore not a very viable commodity, opened to a couple million less. And now, this.
Every indication is that Seyfried is a limited starlet and that she better find herself a movie for teen girls while she is still young enough to draw them. Her next film is an ensemble rom-com… though it’s being release by LionsMit, so who knows?
In landmarks news, the aforementioned The Vow cracked $100m, a Screen Gems first. The Artist cracks $30m. The Descendants is on the cusp of $80m. Hugo is on the cusp of $80m. And Safe House is on the cusp of $100m.
In a final thought… Fox’s Chronicle, which all in cost less to get to screen then the 3D conversion of Star Wars: Episode 1, will outgross the remarkably unexciting 3D relaunch of Jar Jar Binks.