Box Office Guru Preview: Jim Carrey and Will Smith Face Off For #1 Spot

Also, TheTale of Despereaux looks to come in third.

by | December 18, 2008 | Comments

Hollywood titans Jim Carrey and Will Smith go head-to-head at the North American box office but only one can add to his long list of number one openings. Carrey has the edge with his comedy Yes Man while Smith could fail to reach the top spot for the first time in seven years with Seven Pounds, his new dramatic offering. Most holdovers will be in the single-digit millions so audiences should welcome these two new star-driven vehicles. Also debuting is the animated mouse adventure The Tale of Despereaux which will target young children.

Jim Carrey returns to his core genre – the broad comedy – with Yes Man playing a loan officer who changes his mundane life when he joins a self-help program requiring him to give a thumbs up to anything and everything life throws at him. The PG-13 film should play to a wide audience and since the actor doesn’t do these types of comedies that much any more, it should prove to be highly in demand not just this weekend, but over the holiday weeks ahead. Star-driven comedies sell when the trailers and commercials have plenty of jokes and this one fits the bill. No, this isn’t a defining moment in his career artistically, but for now audiences that have already laughed it up with Vince and Reese will be looking to move on to the next big comedy and Carrey is most bankable in this type of role, especially one which offers plenty o’ physical humor.

The funnyman’s last live-action comedy came three years ago over Christmas weekend with Fun With Dick and Jane which bowed to a four-day take of $21.5M and a six-day Wednesday-to-Monday tally of $29.1M from 3,056 sites. Warner Bros. has done a fine job in marketing the film focusing on the its two biggest assets – Carrey and the funny situations. These are the two elements that will sell the pic – not reviews, not awards, and not co-stars. Teens and young adults will respond in solid numbers. Mature adults may be distracted by the final shopping weekend before Christmas and may catch it later. Audiences want to laugh and feel good right now and this should deliver the goods at the turnstiles. Marching into 3,434 theaters, Yes Man may open to about $26M and post good holds in the weeks ahead.

Jim Carrey in Yes Man

What could be the least hyped Will Smith film since The Legend of Bagger Vance opens this Friday in the form of Seven Pounds. With it comes a serious threat to the A-plus-lister’s amazing streak of eight consecutive $100M+ blockbusters which began in 2002. But Sony has been in the most difficult of positions as the PG-13 film’s story is so full of twists and turns that most of it cannot be revealed in the pre-release marketing. Without giving away too much, Smith plays a tax man who seeks to help seven strangers with acts that go well beyond the world of kindness. Essentially it is a story that audiences must unravel as the film progresses so the studio can do little more than just say ‘Hey, it’s Will Smith. Buy a ticket!’ In fact the poster is really just a headshot of the man.

Seven reunites Smith with Gabriele Muccino who directed The Pursuit of Happyness which bowed to $26.5M two years ago around this same time. That pic was in ways an easier sell with its uplifting rags-to-riches story and kiss of approval from Oprah. This time around, moviegoers are left to wonder as most don’t really know what the hell Seven Pounds is about. The marketing push is there, but the volume has been low considering the name that hangs above the title. The film has been noticeably absent from awards season with no major group highlighting the pic and reviews have been lukewarm. Strong critical acclaim and some big nominations could have really helped here.

That man in black’s name will certainly be enough for many fans who will just trust their guy and give this a shot on opening weekend. But many might wait for the recommendations of friends and will choose the guaranteed laughs of Mr. Carrey for this weekend’s entertainment instead. Landing in roughly 2,600 locations, Seven Pounds could debut with about $17M. With Brad, Leo, Tom, and Adam all launching new films next week, Will will need to win over fans fast in order to compete in the long-term.

Will Smith in Seven Pounds

Universal secures a spot in the marketplace for its kidpic offering for the holiday season with the animated mouse flick The Tale of Despereaux. The G-rated film is not necessarily out for a big opening, but just looking to settle into the marquees now so when kids start to break for the holidays and parents get some time off of their own, it will be in perfect position to take in some cash. The one big problem is that it is not based on any well-known brand and that will hurt its chances in the short-term. Still, the week between Christmas and New Year’s when everyday is a Saturday at the multiplexes will be the key period when this film can draw in some sales. Overall excitement is not too high and reviews will be mostly irrelevant. It’s really about how many kids will get excited enough to bug their parents to see this new character. Debuting in 2,739 theaters, The Tale of Despereaux could collect about $8M this weekend.

The Tale of Despereaux

Fox Searchlight opened its Mickey Rourke pic The Wrestler in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday and begins a platform rollout this weekend. Already winning numerous Best Actor prizes for his performance as a down-and-out grappler looking for redemption, the Darren Aronofsky-directed film has earned unanimous acclaim from critics and also scored the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Klaatu and Gort will see a big dip this weekend. After ruling the chart this past week, the sci-fi thriller The Day the Earth Stood Still should face a hefty decline as word-of-mouth is quite poor. The Keanu Reeves pic sits with a weak C+ average from 3,700+ voters on Yahoo Movies. However, there are no new action pictures opening so a total collapse may not occur. Look for Day to drop by 45% to about $16M which would give Fox $55M in ten days.

The holiday comedy smash Four Christmases has been seeing great strength at the box office as moviegoers have been spreading good will and with Santa’s big day approaching, the subject matter is becoming even more relevant. Looking at 2003 when the calendar was exactly the same, the Christmas laughers witnessed slim declines this very weekend. Bad Santa starring the former Mr. Jolie dipped only 15% in its fourth weekend while Will Ferrell‘s Elf eased only 9% in its seventh frame. All this despite a record-breaking opening by the final Lord of the Rings epic which played broadly. Four Christmases does have Jim Carrey stealing some laughs so it may witness a 15% slide to around $11M pushing the cume to a stellar $103M for Warner Bros.

LAST YEAR: Leading a wave of five new releases over the pre-Christmas weekend, Disney shot straight to number one with its action sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets which bowed to $44.8M on its way to a stellar $220M domestically and $457M worldwide. Sophomore juggernauts I Am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks followed with $33.5M and $28.2M, respectively. Debuting in fourth place was the Tom HanksJulia Roberts dream team in Universal’s Charlie Wilson’s War which grossed $9.7M. Johnny Depp was close behind with Paramount’s Sweeney Todd which bowed to $9.3M from half as many theaters. Final grosses were $66.7M and $52.9M, respectively. The Warner Bros. romance P.S. I Love You opened in sixth place with $6.5M leading to a $53.7M stateside tally, but a much stronger $88.4M haul overseas. The frame’s biggest casualty was the Judd Apatow project Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story which debuted to just $4.2M finishing with only $18.3M for Sony.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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