Weekend Preview: 'The Rite' and 'The Mechanic' can't fix this box office rut, but could 'The King's Speech'?
Friday, January 28, 2011on
The Rite will easily top the box office this weekend. The exorcism picture starring Anthony Hopkins has got a solid trailer, solid promotion, and solid tracking working in its favor—plus, horror is a rather reliable genre, and people's fascination with demonic possession remains strong. I'll give The Rite $20M in its opening weekend, and sure, with poor reviews and a young target audience, it will drop off quickly from there, but these films are cheap to produce, and Warner Brothers doesn't need astronomical numbers. Very typical January release.
The week's other newcomer is Jason Statham's latest actionfest, The Mechanic, and alas, it will perform just like all the rest of them. With kinetic action and over the top dialogue to boot, The Mechanic won't appeal to many outside the hardcore action niche, and fledgling studio CBS Films probably isn't looking at its first smash. Blowing up in 2,703 theater, the film may earn a standard-for-Statham $11.5M this weekend and finish around $30M overall.
Last weekend's number one picture, No Strings Attached, may fall by about 35% to $12.5M in its second frame, giving the romantic comedy about $39M overall. Meanwhile, The King's Speech, on the heels of 12 regal Oscar nominations, is adding 873 theaters to its run, and it may finish with a similar $12.5M—which would be a truly phenomenal figure. It could be a close battle between Mechanic, Speech, and Strings for the second place spot, but if there's one film that may overperform this weekend, it's The King's Speech. Heck, if The Rite flops, we could be looking at a surprise number one!
The Oscar nominations should also provide some nice box office boosts for films like True Grit, Black Swan, 127 Hours (which is adding 847 theaters onto its run and may crack the top ten). The Green Hornet won't enjoy the same benefits, but it may fall by about 40% to $11M.
What do you think will blow up at the box office this weekend?