Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Eastwood vs. Scorsese - Round 2

by | October 19, 2006 | Comments

Hollywood sure loves to dwell on yesteryear. Another wave of historical films hits the multiplexes on Friday led by the World War II drama "Flags of our Fathers" directed by Clint Eastwood.

Going back another half-century is the Hugh JackmanChristian Bale thriller "The Prestige." Kirsten Dunst rewinds even further to the 18th century playing the title role in "Marie Antoinette." Moviegoers who want to stick to the today’s times get to ride the family film "Flicka" which also is added into the mix this weekend. Overall, the North American box office should simmer down after two weeks of red-hot action thanks to a quartet of new releases that does not seem to be exciting the public too much.

What happens when two-time Oscar winners Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg join forces to produce a film? You get the DreamWorks/Warner Bros. production "Flags of our Fathers" which chronicles the famous battle at Iwo Jima and the notoriety that followed for the soldiers photographed hoisting the American flag. The R-rated film is low on starpower boasting a cast featuring Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, and Jesse Bradford. Clearly it will be subject matter and the director that will draw in audiences. "Flags" is likely to become the oldest-skewing film in the marketplace. Young adults should not show too much interest and female appeal will be limited as well for this war story. Competition for adult men will be tough given the start of the World Series and the continuation of all sorts of live football all weekend long on television.

Clint Eastwood’s WWII epic "Flags of Our Fathers."

But loyal Eastwood fans will probably find the time for "Flags" this weekend and some reviews have been good. Critics have not been giving the type of support this time that they gave in recent years to "Million Dollar Baby" and "Mystic River" giving it a lesser sense of urgency. Plus a fall season full of period films really doesn’t need more of them. A narrow release will curtail box office potential too. This weekend, it could turn out to be a rematch where Eastwood will square off against Martin Scorsese whose "The Departed" is proving to be an exciting option, set in modern times, for ticket buyers.The New York-based filmmaker wants revenge after losing to Dirty Harry at the Academy Awards a year and a half ago. "Mystic River" opened wide in October 2003 to an average just north of $7,000. Paramount’s "Flags of our Fathers," which debuts in roughly 1,800 locations, could reach the same vicinity and collect about $13M this weekend.

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play dueling magicians at the turn of the 20th century in "The Prestige." The current Caped Crusader reteams with director Christopher Nolan in this PG-13 period drama which co-stars Scarlett Johansson as, you guessed it, the beautiful young woman both men desire. Michael Caine also appears in another Alfred-like role. The Buena Vista film’s biggest challenge will be to convince audiences that this is not that Edward Norton film they just saw a few weeks ago. While "The Illusionist" was not a big blockbuster, it was very well-liked by moviegoers and has had some of the best legs of 2006. Those who paid to see it may not be in the mood for another one so soon. Just ask Mr. Capote. Starpower in "The Prestige" is good, but the two leads do not usually sell well outside of their comic book flicks. "The Departed" and "Flags of our Fathers" will steal away adult audiences providing ample competition, but "The Prestige" does have more female appeal than Clint’s war tale so adult couples that have seen Leo vs. Matt already might give Wolverine vs. Batman a try. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, "The Prestige" could debut with around $10M.

Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman, in that other 19th century magician movie.

The weekend’s only family offering comes on horseback in the form of "Flicka." 27-year-old Alison Lohman stars as a stubborn 16-year-old girl who befriends a steed against the wishes of her dad on a scenic Wyoming ranch. The PG-rated film should mostly appeal to girls and play to the same crowd that spent $9.2M this weekend a year ago for the bow of another girl-and-her-horse flick, "Dreamer." Business will be stronger in the heartland than in large urban centers. Fox is giving "Flicka" the widest release by far of any of this weekend’s new openers so the sheer size of the distribution will give it some traction, even if the average limps a bit. "Open Season," which is still strong going into its fourth hunt, will be the only real threat to business. While bad girls might line up for "Marie Antoinette" this weekend, the good girls will get to ride with "Flicka" which will gallop into over 2,000 more theaters. Opening in 2,876 sites, the horse flick could take in around $10M this weekend.

Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw in "Flicka."

Spidergirl Kirsten Dunst tosses on a fancy wig to play the famous queen of France in "Marie Antoinette," written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Booed last May at the Cannes Film Festival, the PG-13 film is a biopic aimed squarely at teenage girls and young women with a story of a bold gal with a strong head on her shoulders, for most of the time. The studio is marketing the film in a hip way hoping to appeal to young people. "Marie" should skew heavily female as interest from guys will be weak. Dunst will have a chance to test her starpower as the only big-name actor in the cast. Her date movie "Wimbledon" did not fare too well in the Fall of 2004 with a $7.1M opening from over 2,000 theaters. Reese Witherspoon‘s "Vanity Fair" bowed to $4.8M from just over 1,000 playdates by appealing to a similar audience. "Marie Antoinette" will launch in only 859 theaters on Friday limiting its box office potential. A weekend gross of about $5M could result.

Kirsten Dunst is "Marie Antoinette."

Last weekend’s box office champ "The Grudge 2" has seen its audience get frightened away during the week as the Sony thriller dropped to second place on Monday and third on Tuesday. A hefty tumble of 55% could result giving the spookfest about $9M for the weekend and a ten-day sum of $33M.

On the other hand, Warner Bros. has been enjoying great legs from its mob thriller "The Departed" which eased only 29% in its second mission. "Flags of our Fathers" and "The Prestige" will eat into its adult audience, but the Martin Scorsese hit should continue to remain a very popular moviegoing option. A 30% fall to about $13M might lead "The Departed" back into the top spot this weekend unless one of the newbies breaks out. Regardless, that would push the cume to a stellar $76M.

LAST YEAR: The Rock cooked up a number one opening with his sci-fi actioner "Doom" which opened with $15.5M. Universal’s video game-inspired flick fell apart quickly and found its way to only $28M. Debuting in second place was the less expensive family film "Dreamer" with $9.2M on its way to a stronger $32.8M final for DreamWorks. The Spielberg studio also claimed the third spot with the leggy kidpic "Wallace and Gromit" with $8.6M, off only 26% in its third weekend. Sony’s horror pic "The Fog" fell from first to fourth with $6.7M. Warner Bros. saw a weak opening for its Charlize Theron drama "North Country" which grossed just $6.4M. Cume reached a mere $18.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

DGA The CW stand-up comedy Anna Paquin cars Travel Channel Countdown finale disaster TNT Watching Series Oscars Hallmark Christmas movies 71st Emmy Awards Warner Bros. book Masterpiece DirecTV Rocky Turner Trailer canceled RT21 First Reviews hispanic The Arrangement Box Office Freeform Adult Swim cartoon comiccon Pride Month golden globes sitcom robots WarnerMedia Awards Tour BET National Geographic anthology ratings Columbia Pictures Opinion dramedy Spectrum Originals teaser Character Guide E3 transformers WGN quibi tv talk CBS cancelled TV shows Music Amazon Prime Video Mudbound TIFF Superheroe HBO singing competition zero dark thirty 2017 Family comic aliens Ghostbusters TBS Cartoon Network Winter TV Quiz Shondaland Nominations hist CMT Tubi medical drama dc Musicals Apple TV+ justice league toy story OneApp Emmy Nominations Black History Month Martial Arts Women's History Month versus Schedule crossover spain NBC Crunchyroll diversity Summer Fantasy FX on Hulu Trophy Talk Disney Channel Mary Tyler Moore Pop TV theme song Fox News screenings PaleyFest Comedy SDCC Crackle TruTV Disney+ Disney Plus franchise Logo Film Festival History television Tarantino DC Universe Valentine's Day Spike thriller politics LGBTQ Emmys YouTube Premium Drama San Diego Comic-Con IFC SundanceTV TCA 2017 45 ITV Pixar cancelled television Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt romance BBC Comics on TV docudrama Infographic Turner Classic Movies Lifetime Christmas movies Writers Guild of America latino romantic comedy psychological thriller binge Reality Mindy Kaling FXX APB 24 frames zombie witnail sequel Funimation Photos cops Video Games cats game of thrones miniseries Britbox Set visit documentary Ovation HBO Max VH1 richard e. Grant X-Men Western DC Comics war streaming Elton John what to watch MTV Sundance kids Ellie Kemper American Society of Cinematographers children's TV Trivia Heroines First Look psycho Starz anime TV renewals spinoff zombies indie 007 spy thriller Sundance TV Lionsgate crime drama Discovery Channel DC streaming service Marvel Studios elevated horror Superheroes Christmas Grammys Television Academy Endgame doctor who Action animated Comedy Central period drama Pet Sematary science fiction halloween Star Trek New York Comic Con Sony Pictures travel werewolf series Comic Book TCA Winter 2020 directors Avengers Academy Awards PBS renewed TV shows biography ghosts Disney streaming service Star Wars sports Epix Certified Fresh TV Land Podcast independent Lucasfilm The Walking Dead Thanksgiving christmas movies Nickelodeon Kids & Family supernatural casting crime ABC Family crime thriller Arrowverse sag awards discovery police drama Best and Worst Paramount adventure Disney IFC Films TV cinemax Tumblr 2016 Winners harry potter name the review boxoffice technology 2015 VICE spanish language free movies Toys true crime facebook Dark Horse Comics Bravo Marathons screen actors guild award winner Food Network TCM revenge Teen strong female leads cancelled TV series Acorn TV President Super Bowl Stephen King CNN BBC America MSNBC social media Holidays Rock GIFs space Lifetime Spring TV Reality Competition AMC Vudu south america foreign game show Horror SXSW Brie Larson Red Carpet Biopics Hallmark Premiere Dates FOX 2020 video CBS All Access YouTube reviews RT History joker Cannes cancelled TLC A24 historical drama Universal Captain marvel vampires MCU spider-man breaking bad The Witch Apple TV Plus Cosplay cooking dogs rotten movies we love Musical Mary Poppins Returns unscripted political drama green book Classic Film jamie lee curtis El Rey USA Network Extras Rocketman Marvel Tomatazos Sundance Now 2019 Paramount Network Year in Review ESPN CW Seed Rom-Com Mystery serial killer Showtime Hulu E! Black Mirror YouTube Red universal monsters GLAAD Awards Animation Sneak Peek Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Amazon Studios blockbuster NYCC Netflix Christmas movies Shudder See It Skip It OWN mockumentary Fall TV Interview Creative Arts Emmys ABC Syfy talk show Walt Disney Pictures festivals TCA dceu Calendar Nat Geo movies movie Apple Pirates adaptation comics The Purge Baby Yoda Country Amazon Prime GoT LGBT USA Netflix nature dragons 20th Century Fox Disney Plus A&E Sci-Fi cults Mary poppins reboot Esquire Peacock Holiday natural history canceled TV shows Film Chernobyl mutant slashers Amazon YA Binge Guide batman blaxploitation Election scary movies Marvel Television FX based on movie Pop Polls and Games 21st Century Fox Song of Ice and Fire composers 2018