Welcome to another The Reject Report and another week where we ask the question of whether Avatar will keep its winning run at the top of the box office going. So far, it seems like there’s nothing out there able to topple it — not even any of the four movies going wide this week.
As everyone knows by now, Avatar toppled the all-time domestic box office record on Tuesday by beating Titanic’s $600 million domestic haul, just 47 days into its release. There’s little more I need to add about it; Neil Miller said his piece on it this week and Brian C. Gibson had his say about the whole debate on whether there should be an asterisk attached to the records because of the higher ticket prices for 3D showings. I tend to agree with the people who say Avatar got the record fair and square, more or less, although overall inflation is something you have to always consider. The fact is, though, people were willing to pay the extra ticket prices to see the movie in 3D. They could just as easily have said “no way, I’m not paying James Cameron any extra money to see this movie, I don’t care how good it is!” Or they could have opted for cheaper entertainment options like renting or buying a DVD or watching a TV show. People could have even downloading pirated movies off the Internet!
Well, so much for piracy, and so much for any of this. At the end of the day, people were still willing to pay the increased ticket prices to go watch Avatar in 3D. That’s an achievement in this day and age. At the end of the day people willingly paid the money to go see it. It all counts.
I will say, though, that I do get annoyed when I see headlines like “Avatar is shattering every box office record!” Actually, the opening day, opening weekend and midnight records are still intact; same with a lot of the “fastest-to” records still held by The Dark Knight, and a few other records out there. So I’m trying really hard not to fall for this line of bull about how Avatar is shattering “every” record out there. That is definitely an overstatement.
I also get annoyed when I see headlines like “Avatar is unstoppable at the box office,” referring to the fact that it keeps on finishing the weekends in first place. Quite frankly, though, Avatar’s box offices the last couple of weekends have been nothing spectacular and could have been topped had some exciting flick been released that got people pumped up about going to the movies. But that wasn’t the case last week with Edge of Darkness falling far short, and it sure doesn’t look to be the case this weekend given the lineup of movies rolling out. Take a look at these upcoming flicks:
Crazy Heart is now into over 800 theaters starting this weekend. This stars Jeff Bridges in his Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe winning role of Bad Blake, a once-famous singer-songwriter looking to turn his life around. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall also star.
There’s interest in the movie because of the Oscar buzz surrounding the cast, but it’s not going to be in a ton of theaters and that’s why I am predicting this to make only about $5 million this weekend.
Watch the Crazy Heart trailer:
Next is An Education which rolls out wide into 760 theaters, but like Crazy Heart it has been in limited release for quite a while now. It’s a British coming-of-age film starring Carey Mulligan as Jenny Miller and a cast including Peter Sarsgaard, Emma Thompson and Dominic Cooper.
Directed by Lone Scherfig, with screenplay written by Nick Hornby, this is one of the ten movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (woo hoo!), so that’s one reason why people will want to see it. But again, it’s not in a ton of theaters, and you don’t have an all-star cast for this thing, and I just don’t think it’s going to get much beyond $3 million.
Watch the trailer for An Education:
Next, From Paris with Love is into 2,700 locations. Based on the title you might be conned into thinking this is another one of those February romantic comedies. Wrong — this features John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Kasia Smutniak in an action flick from director Pierre Morel, who directed Taken.
Now, Taken made a lot of money, so I don’t discount the ability of Pierre Morel to make a hit movie. I dunno if this will be quite as successful, though. My guess is this will get something in the neighborhood of $15 million.
Watch the From Paris with Love trailer:
Finally, Dear John is set to debut in 2,900 locations. Based on the novel by author Nicholas Sparks, it stars Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum in a story about a soldier and a student who fall in love.
This seems to me to be the likeliest of these four movies to topple Avatar. Not that it will do it, though. I’m predicting it to get as far as $18 million — which wouldn’t be a bad showing.
Watch the Dear John trailer below:
But it would have to get as far as $25 million if it is really going to challenge the reigning champ. That is my prediction for how Avatar will finish this weekend for an eighth straight first-place finish. Here is how I see the weekend unfolding:
Avatar $25 million
Dear John $18 million
From Paris with Love $15 million
Edge of Darkness $10 million
When in Rome $7 million
Tooth Fairy $6 million
The Book of Eli $5.5 million
Crazy Heart $5 million
Legion $4 million
An Education $3 million
That’s it for now. Back this weekend to see whether the Avatar roll continues for an eighth weekend in a row here at the Reject Report.
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