Footloose takes on Real Steel at the box office this weekend, and the dancing country rebels will do their best to overcome Hugh Jackman and his boxing robot.
Also arriving in theaters is horror prequel The Thing and bird-watching comedy The Big Year, neither of which seem like major contenders. Here’s how the weekend may shake out:
1. Footloose – $19 million
This remake of the 1984 dancing classic has kicked up some surprisingly positive reviews, and it may boogie its way to a solid opening weekend as well. Paramount spent just $24 million on the film, which was directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow) and stars Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough. With Footloose’s massive name recognition, large 3,459 theater count, and Paramount’s very confident advertising campaign, the studio should have no trouble eventually recouping that cost. Some cautious, Kevin Bacon-loving moviegoers aren’t yet convinced that this new Footloose is worth their time, and they may wait to hear positive word-of-mouth before paying for a ticket, so this weekend, don’t expect the film to post huge numbers. Footloose may cut loose to the tune of $19 million.
2. Real Steel – $15 million
Last weekend’s rockem-sockem champion has a long way to go before it matches its hefty $110 million budget, but Real Steel’s solid “A” CinemaScore grade and strong family appeal should help it avoid the hefty 55 percent drop that a special effects adventure film like this would typically see in its sophomore frame. The Hugh Jackman vehicle should fall by a slimmer 45 percent down to $15 million.
3. The Thing – $11 million
A prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 original remake of The Thing, this Mary Elizabeth Winstead-led horror film, which was reportedly made by Universal for $38 million, doesn’t look poised to match the iconic status of the original, but it will almost certainly outdo its $19.6 million total gross. (Of course, that number doesn’t account for inflation.) Advertising has made the film look less like a must-see event, and more like a derivative creature feature, and buzz just hasn’t built for the prequel. The Thing shouldn’t be too negatively affected by its weak critical response, as horror movies tend to be rather review-proof, and The Thing may scare up $11 million out of 2,997 theaters.
4. The Big Year – $8 million
Fox’s $41 million Steve Martin/Jack Black/Owen Wilson bird-watching collaboration has struggled to effectively hook audiences by looking like an unclear mix of comedy, adventure, and boring competitive birding drama. Comedic actors playing against type doesn’t usually attract moviegoers (see Punch Drunk Love, Funny People, Greenberg), so I doubt that the core trio will pull in many viewers. Fox’s low 2,149 theater count doesn’t communicate much confidence on their end, either. The Big Year might have a small weekend with $8 million.
5. Dolphin Tale – $6.3 million
The swim-away hit has splashed up a cool $51.8 million thus far, and thanks to strong word-of-mouth and tiny week-to-week drops, it may enjoy one more weekend in the Top 5. The Ides of March could take that fifth place spot away, but George Clooney’s other recent political pictures, The American and The Men Who Stare At Goats, fell by 56 and 53 percent, respectively, so Ides could be looking at a precipitous drop as well. Dolphin Tale, meanwhile, will likely see another slim 30 percent decline down to about $6.3 million.
What are you looking forward to seeing this weekend?
Follow Grady on Twitter: @EWGradySmith