Box Office Guru Preview: Chan & Li Face Off Against Sarah Marshall

88 Minutes a distant third.

by | April 17, 2008 | Comments

After four straight weeks of the box office falling significantly behind last year’s pace, the marketplace is finally set to post a win thanks to a trio of new releases targeting different audience segments. In what could be a close battle for the number one spot, the Jackie ChanJet Li actioner The Forbidden Kingdom squares off against the raunchy relationship comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Each has a shot at the top slot. Also opening is the Al Pacino crime drama 88 Minutes which should play to an older audience. Overall, the box office will experience a healthy double digit gain over the same weekend in 2007.

The much-hyped first pairing of martial arts kings Chan and Li is the main selling point behind Lionsgate’s fantasy adventure The Forbidden Kingdom. The PG-13 film tells of an American teen who travels back in time to ancient China where he joins a quest to free the famed Monkey King. Kingdom is practically a must-see for fans of the action stars and of the genre so young males will lead the way. The film comes as a step up for Chan who lately has seen many of his films go directly to DVD. Li on the other hand remains a reliable box office star with most of his pics debuting to averages north of $5,000. However his last film War, a pairing with Jason Statham, debuted to $9.8M and a weaker-than-usual $4,313 average.

The two stars here have tremendous overlap in their fan bases so it may be hard to broaden the audience. However the younger-skewing story should help it pull in more kids and younger teens than past films from the stars. Reviews have been mixed and direct competition should not be too fierce. Kingdom boasts more starpower and screens than Sarah which could allow it to earn a slim victory this weekend. Invading 3,151 theaters, The Forbidden Kingdom may debut with about $17M.

Jet Li and Jackie Chan, at last.

Playing to an older and more female audience will be the R-rated comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall from producer Judd Apatow. The Universal release finds a man jetting off to Hawaii for a break after his celebrity girlfriend dumps him, only to find her and her new rock star boyfriend staying at the same resort. The studio has been bold in its marketing campaign knowing that it has almost no starpower to promote. Instead, it brilliantly churned out simple text posters with nothing more than attention-getting phrases like ‘I’m So Over You Sarah Marshall’ and ‘You Suck Sarah Marshall.’

Buzz has been strong on the comedy and reviews have been pretty good too. Plus with the weekend’s other new films offering male-oriented action, Sarah becomes the primary option for young adult women and couples. The spring date crowd won’t be lining up for a kung fu flick. Male appeal is solid so the break-up saga won’t fall into the chick flick category. Landing in 2,798 locations, Forgetting Sarah Marshall could take in about $16M this weekend.

The cast of Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Sony targets older adults and men in particular with its crime thriller 88 Minutes which features Al Pacino playing a forensic scientist being stalked by a killer. The R-rated film should play mostly to fans of the Oscar winner and will have a hard time branching out wider. Already released theatrically and on DVD in numerous countries around the world, 88 Minutes has a different criminal element to deal with – pirated copies that have circulated throughout the U.S. This has taken some moviegoers out of the picture in terms of sales.

88 should play to the same audience that came out for two other law enforcement roles Pacino took on this decade. 2003’s The Recruit bowed at number one with $16.3M while the previous year’s Insomnia debuted to $20.9M. Both had the help of extra starpower from Colin Farrell and Robin Williams, respectively. Pacino anchors 88 on his own so the grosses will be lower. Negative reviews will also help keep customers away. Opening in 2,168 theaters, 88 Minutes has a lot working against it and could debut to around $8M.

Al Pacino in 88 Minutes

Prom Night hacked up a strong number one bow last weekend but should see heavy erosion this time around thanks to the horror genre’s tendency to see front-loaded grosses. The Sony hit might lose half of its business and take in about $10M for a ten-day cume of $33M.

The Keanu Reeves dirty cop thriller Street Kings opened in second last weekend but has been the top grosser every day since. Fox Searchlight may see a 45% drop to roughly $7M and raise the sum to $23M after ten days. 21, the durable spring hit winning over audiences each week, may slide by 35% to about $6.5M. That would push the cume to a commendable $71M for Sony.

LAST YEAR: A sluggish late-April frame was ruled by the sophomore weekend of Paramount’s hit teen thriller Disturbia which grossed $13M. New Line’s crime thriller Fracture bowed in second with $11M on its way to a respectable $39M for New Line. Paramount claimed third with the Will Ferrell hit Blades of Glory with $7.7M and was followed closely by the $7.6M debut of the Sony thriller Vacancy. A $19.4M final resulted. Disney’s Meet the Robinsons followed with $7M. Focus landed in sixth with a solid opening for the cop comedy Hot Fuzz which took in $5.8M and a $7,089 average. It was the best per-theater score in the Top 20 and the final tally reached $23.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,

Tag Cloud

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