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Box office preview: Will 'Immortals' unleash its wrath upon 'Puss in Boots'?

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Immortals
Jan Thijs

After two weeks atop the box office, Puss in Boots will need to draw his sword and fend off an army of gladiators as Relativity’s Immortals will do its best to claim the box office throne this weekend.

Also entering the fray is the Adam Sandler cross-dressing comedy Jack and Jill and Clint Eastwood’s biopic J. Edgar. All three new releases are hoping to put their best foot forward to set up a strong run through the Thanksgiving holiday. But how will the fare? Check out my box office predictions below. 

1. Puss In Boots – $26 million

The Shrek spin-off has been box office champ for two weeks running, and it may just pull off a third weekend in first place. Puss in Boots will certainly fall harder than the scant 3 percent it dipped last weekend, but with no new outright family films hitting screens, it may score a small 20 percent decline to about $26 million, which would push its total well past $100 million.

2. Immortals – $24 million

Relativity’s $75 million R-rated swords-and-sandals action film, which stars future Man of Steel Henry Cavill as Theseus, is hoping to draw the same male crowds that helped make 300 and Clash of the Titans box office gladiators that opened to $70.8 million and $61.2 million, respectively. For whatever reason, though, Immortals doesn’t seem to be generating nearly as much excitement. Perhaps that is because the last few ancient-times action films, The Eagle (which earned $19.5 million total), Conan the Barbarian ($21.3 million), and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ($90.8 million) have been poorly received by audiences. Or perhaps it’s because ads for Immortals can make it look like a cheap 300-knockoff. Or perhaps it’s just because moviegoers appear to have abandoned theaters en masse this fall. Whatever the reason, Tarsem Singh’s visually stunning 3-D actionfest doesn’t seem poised to rule like a god over the rest of the box office this weekend, and it may conjure up $24 million in its first three days. Much like 2004’s Brad Pitt vehicle Troy — which earned $133 million domestically and $364 million abroad — Immortals could find itself relying on international grosses to boost its cume.

3. Jack and Jill – $22 million

Adam Sandler takes a lot of heat for making crappy comedies, but do you really blame him? The man knows his audience — he doesn’t care about pleasing critics — and he scores a $100-plus million hit almost every year. In fact, he’s headlined twelve $100 million earners in the last 13 years, his most recent being this February’s Jennifer Aniston collab Just Go With It, which scored $103 million.

In Jack and Jill, Sandler takes on the popular comedic trope of cross-dressing by playing both a man and his twin sister, and the actor is hoping for some Norbit-sized results. Typically, Sandler waits until the summer to open his bawdy comedies, but Jack and Jill appears to be a bit tamer than usual, and thanks to its PG rating, it may attract a few more families. Unfortunately for Sandler, though, that may also mean it attracts a few less of Sandler’s standard fans. Still, if the $80 million Sony film can open solidly — I’m predicting about $22 million this weekend — it could play very well to families over the next few weeks as we head into the holidays. (And don’t even try to tell me that word-of-mouth will kill it. Not everyone wants their comedy refined. If Yogi Bear can pass $100 million, so can Jack and Jill.)

4. Tower Heist – $13.5 million

After a disappointing $24.1 million opening, the Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy comedy, which audiences issued a lukewarm “B” CinemaScore grade, may fall by a somewhat steep (for a mainstream comedy) 45 percent due to the arrival of Jack and Jill. I’m really not expecting Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy’s Oscar-dropout debacle to affect Tower Heist‘s box office performance too much. Something tells me that the target audience for Tower Heist isn’t overly concerned with award season Academy drama. The caper may steal another $13.5 million.

5. J. Edgar – $13 million

Unlike Adam Sandler, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio do need to worry about pleasing critics when trying open a film. Their film-buff fanbases are more likely to read reviews and then decide whether to see a movie. Unfortunately for Warner Bros.’ J. Edgar, reviews haven’t been overwhelmingly kind. (Issues with the old-age makeup have been particularly prevalent.) Still, many people are always interested in Eastwood and DiCaprio’s work, and reviews are far from condemning, so a solid number of them will show up just to see what these two have come up with.

Warner Bros. claims that it spent $35 million on the J. Edgar Hoover biopic, which also stars The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer. Eastwood’s last picture, Hereafter, earned $60,000 on its opening day (a Friday) from six theaters, while J. Edgar pulled in $53,000 (on a less theater-trafficked Wednesday) from seven theaters. Very similar results. Hereafter ultimately earned $12 million during its first weekend in wide release. J. Edgar will expand into 1,910 theaters on Friday, and it may earn just a tad more — thanks, in part, to history fans interested in Hoover — about $13 million.

What are you planning on seeing this weekend? Sound off in the comments!

For more box office musings, follow me on Twitter: @EWGradySmith

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