Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Rock's "Gang" Aims to Score Big

by | September 14, 2006 | Comments

Following the worst box office weekend in three years, Hollywood has nowhere to go but up. It hopes.

Four new pictures enter wide release on Friday led by the sports drama "Gridiron Gang" from Sony which is gunning for its tenth trip to the number one spot this year. Universal goes after an older crowd with the crime thriller "The Black Dahlia," Fox aims for kids with the animated film "Everyone’s Hero," and Paramount tries to court the adult date crowd with "The Last Kiss." Overall, the North American marketplace should bounce back from last weekend’s horrible showing, but only by a small margin.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hopes to score the fifth number one opening of his career this weekend with the football saga "Gridiron Gang." The PG-13 film finds the wrestler-turned-actor playing a juvenile camp officer who assembles a pigskin squad in order to give lost kids some hope in life. Sony is targeting one of the most reliable moviegoing segments with "Gang" – urban youth. With a young and multicultural cast, plus a star in the lead role, this new film hopes to appeal to the same crowd that made hits out of other sports flicks like "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter." Of course, the star this time is not an Oscar-caliber actor. "Gang’s" marketing push has been strong and an ultrawide release will make the product available everywhere.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Gridiron Gang."

The Rock provides solid starpower, although his box office muscle in recent years has delivered openings in a very narrow range. Pics like "The Rundown," "Walking Tall," and "Doom" have all debuted within the $15-19M range. "Gridiron Gang’s" rating should open the doors to a wider audience and with the start of the NFL and college football seasons, the subject matter is very relevant at this time of year. Plus with a dead marketplace featuring choices that are exciting nobody, teens and young adults should find this one the only film worth rallying behind. Charging into 3,504 locations, "Gridiron Gang" will have no problem conquering the box office and could score around $17M this weekend.

Moviegoers opting for a trip back to the 1940s instead of a football pic can choose Brian De Palma‘s "The Black Dahlia" which Universal opens on Friday. The R-rated thriller stars Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as Los Angeles cops investigating the mysterious death of a young woman chopped in half and disemboweled. Scarlett Johansson and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank take the token female roles. Just as with "Hollywoodland" which bowed last weekend, "Dahlia" will play to an older adult audience interested in LA-based crime noir pics from the mid twentieth century. Unlike with the younger-skewing "Gridiron Gang," reviews will play a big part in the success or failure of "Dahlia." This one needs more support from critics than it’s getting in order to become a commercial winner. Starpower is certainly there, but the subject matter may not pique the interest of adults across all 50 states. Add in competition for the target audience plus an overall slowdown in moviegoing activity and it may be hard for the studio to break even on this one. "The Black Dahlia" enters 2,224 theaters and might collect around $9M this weekend.

Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart are on the case in "The Black Dahlia."

Following this summer’s "Superman Returns" and last week’s George Reeves mystery "Hollywoodland," the Man of Steel spotlight now turns to the late Christopher Reeve whose final project, the animated sports tale "Everyone’s Hero," makes its way into theaters on Friday. With voices provided by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and William H. Macy, the G-rated flick tells of a boy on a mission to retrieve Babe Ruth’s stolen bat. Reeve co-directed with Colin Brady and Dan St. Pierre. Fox will be looking to attract kids and Little League coach parents with "Hero." The film is not registering too high on the priority lists of children. But the studio does have one thing working in its favor – the current marketplace has nothing major for children. And don’t expect the other new releases to appeal to the family crowd either. Opening surprisingly wide in 2,896 theaters, "Everyone’s Hero" could score around $7M this weekend.

The animated Babe Ruth in Christopher Reeve’s "Everyone’s Hero."

TV stars Zach Braff of NBC’s "Scrubs" and Rachel Bilson of Fox’s "The O.C." join forces on the big screen in "The Last Kiss" which Paramount inherited from its DreamWorks tie-up. The R-rated remake of an Italian film about a man in the early stages of a mid-life crisis also stars Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, and Tom Wilkinson. The marketing push behind "Kiss" has been lacking so look for the romantic dramedy to become a small blip on the box office radar this weekend. Adult women will make up the primary audience making period pics "Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland" direct competitors. Consumer excitement is pretty low for "The Last Kiss" which heads into only 1,100 theaters. A weekend gross of roughly $4M could result.

Zach Braff and that chick from "The Real World" in "The Last Kiss."

The new fall season brings a flood of activity in limited-release action. Balcony Releasing got the frame started on Wednesday with its New York opening of the political doc "Al Franken: God Spoke" which adds a second Manhattan venue on Friday. The raunchy softball comedy "Artie Lange’s Beer League" opens on Friday in about 175 theaters. With Ralph Macchio in the cast, the R-rated Echo Bridge release should find itself stuck in six-digit territory. Yari Film Group unleashes the Cayman Islands-set drama "Haven," which stars Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton, into 24 theaters across the country.

The mockumentary wedding comedy "Confetti" bows in a dozen sites from Fox Searchlight. American troops in Iraq are the focus of the Focus Features documentary "The Ground Truth" which attacks eight theaters. Lionsgate offers up its own non-fiction flick "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" in six playdates examining the Beatles icon’s rage against the establishment.

Sony’s ninth number one of the year "The Covenant" looks to get booted out of the top spot by the studio’s tenth chart-topper. A 50% drop would give the teen thriller about $4.5M for the frame and a modest ten-day cume of $15M. "Hollywoodland" lacked strength in its debut and will now face a direct hit from "Dahlia" so a 45% decline could be in order. That would give Focus around $3.5M over the weekend putting the total at a weak $11M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Reese Witherspoon captured the number one spot with her latest comedy "Just Like Heaven" which grossed $16.4M on its way to $48.3M for DreamWorks. Sony’s surprise suspense hit "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" lost half its business and dropped to second with $14.9M in its sophomore frame. Nicolas Cage bowed in third with his new actioner "Lord of War" with $9.4M. The Lions Gate release reached $24.1M. Steve Carell enjoyed his fifth week in the top five with "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" which laughed up $6M. The horror pic "Cry Wolf" bowed poorly in fifth with only $4.4M leading to a $10M finish.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

toy story Animation CBS History Winners period drama video on demand rotten movies we love TV renewals OneApp streaming classics nbcuniversal Premiere Dates casting TNT Teen dragons Kids & Family Turner Classic Movies Christmas Hallmark Christmas movies Best and Worst Marvel Television natural history CMT Oscars Sundance TV breaking bad medical drama game of thrones First Look festivals PlayStation cars psychological thriller diversity tv talk Sneak Peek FOX DirecTV screen actors guild GIFs Women's History Month hollywood hispanic IFC Films Pop Disney Plus book Election boxoffice Pride Month TCA Awards LGBT Red Carpet X-Men politics Chernobyl Certified Fresh DGA National Geographic Amazon Studios Pet Sematary werewolf Summer FX video CBS All Access Endgame series Nickelodeon USA Network Emmy Nominations Britbox emmy awards documentaries indie Ovation American Society of Cinematographers adaptation sequels political drama war movie Crunchyroll Mary Poppins Returns TCA 2017 WarnerMedia Freeform sequel TCA Winter 2020 Fantasy revenge Lucasfilm DC Comics Photos Peacock twilight Sony Pictures what to watch comedies teaser Showtime TV Land Tumblr award winner mutant Disney+ Disney Plus HBO Go Apple TV Plus fast and furious transformers Cannes science fiction sag awards versus Fox News satire Song of Ice and Fire reboot Funimation Baby Yoda LGBTQ zombies canceled A24 aliens Tarantino space Tomatazos MCU Elton John Chilling Adventures of Sabrina disaster DC streaming service Musicals CNN Nat Geo MTV Shondaland HBO E! BAFTA Hulu PBS Super Bowl Character Guide reviews Hallmark BBC America Emmys stop motion Paramount Network 2015 24 frames The CW Tubi 2017 movies Turner Amazon Prime Video TLC foreign criterion Spring TV Anna Paquin Box Office travel Netflix Christmas movies concert Cartoon Network BBC FXX Schedule Sci-Fi Classic Film 45 canceled TV shows Trailer romantic comedy cooking justice league hist dc Disney streaming service spy thriller chucky Amazon Prime Masterpiece AMC renewed TV shows The Purge dogs talk show Rock children's TV 72 Emmy Awards Fall TV cancelled TV series obituary El Rey witnail comics Musical 2016 mission: impossible Star Trek WGN name the review Warner Bros. composers Comics on TV MSNBC supernatural The Witch Holidays ABC serial killer asian-american cancelled TV shows doctor who RT History cartoon blockbuster GLAAD dceu Brie Larson SDCC unscripted Vudu Lifetime Netflix Universal cinemax Lionsgate richard e. Grant spain Shudder dramedy Stephen King New York Comic Con Rom-Com The Arrangement cops GoT Rocketman Martial Arts directors Creative Arts Emmys Arrowverse Polls and Games technology Food Network Academy Awards TCM ABC Family docudrama Cosplay SXSW batman anthology Ellie Kemper Marvel TruTV films BBC One halloween cats 20th Century Fox quibi Family vampires Dark Horse Comics adventure true crime finale comiccon superhero a nightmare on elm street blaxploitation sports BET social media discovery Black History Month Mary Tyler Moore worst latino Winter TV Holiday crime thriller die hard Watching Series biography CW Seed best crime drama universal monsters Esquire TCA Hear Us Out theme song Quiz 007 The Walking Dead VOD Music historical drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Discovery Channel Trophy Talk Horror Video Games Acorn TV free movies critics nature Avengers christmas movies Opinion zombie miniseries Pixar green book 71st Emmy Awards Reality Competition slashers Mary poppins binge Mindy Kaling Spectrum Originals robots Star Wars Drama Western Grammys mockumentary See It Skip It YouTube Premium A&E south america comic Awards franchise cults TV FX on Hulu Marathons independent television strong female leads cancelled laika NBC Columbia Pictures anime Interview ghosts Spike police drama ITV news Sundance Now TIFF based on movie Awards Tour all-time SundanceTV APB VH1 Sundance Podcast YA Superheroes Mudbound kids Comedy Central 21st Century Fox DC Universe Writers Guild of America Comic Book zero dark thirty TBS Binge Guide 4/20 Logo 2019 Pirates ratings Travel Channel Starz Calendar stand-up comedy Marvel Studios USA Amazon facebook game show Nominations Adult Swim Action child's play rotten PaleyFest RT21 Television Academy singing competition Film 2018 dark ESPN Trivia spanish language Film Festival Black Mirror crime Pop TV Superheroe Toys BET Awards stoner NYCC elevated horror E3 VICE Epix Thanksgiving First Reviews Country Year in Review romance Bravo YouTube Red HBO Max OWN scary movies Reality joker Apple spinoff Infographic parents thriller Rocky Biopics Crackle Comedy spider-man harry potter Captain marvel Walt Disney Pictures Disney jamie lee curtis Apple TV+ 2020 Disney Channel Extras YouTube Set visit San Diego Comic-Con sitcom IFC Valentine's Day Lifetime Christmas movies Paramount cancelled television psycho Mystery indiana jones animated Ghostbusters Television Critics Association screenings Heroines President Syfy crossover golden globes Countdown documentary