Yet again, the box office is headed for a slow weekend, marking what has become a rather distressing trend for the film industry in 2013. Granted, it’s Oscar weekend this time around — so at least Hollywood has a good excuse.
Here’s how the weekend box office may shake out:
1. Identity Thief – $14 million
The Melissa McCarthy/Jason Bateman comedy is already the highest grossing film of 2013, and it may climb from No. 2 to No. 1 in its third frame. With no new comedies entering the marketplace, Identity Thief should fall by about 40 percent to $14 million — good for an $95 million total.
2. A Good Day to Die Hard – $12 million
The Fox thriller debuted to lower-than-expected numbers last weekend and has earned $40 million after seven days in theaters. Many analysts thought it would earn that much in its first weekend. Word-of-mouth on the Bruce Willis vehicle isn’t especially strong, and with direct competition for actino fans from Snitch, Die Hard may fall by more than 50 percent. The film could earn about $12 million over the weekend.
3. Snitch – $11 million
While The Rock is certainly not part of the same generation of action stars as Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarznegger, it remains the case that the action genre has been over-stuffed with entries so far in 2013. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can shine in ensemble hits like Fast Five and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, but as a solo action draw, his record is weaker. His last leading action vehicle, Faster, flopped with just $8.5 million in its first weekend in 2010. Snitch may fare a bit better, but the film, whose U.S. distribution rights Summit purchased for a reported $5 million, is only looking at an $11 million weekend from 2,511 theaters.
4. Safe Haven – $10.5 million
Relativity’s $28 million Nicholas Sparks drama benefited from inflated business thanks to Valentine’s Day last weekend, so a large drop is in store this weekend. Fortunately, Safe Haven is still a top choice for women (whom Hollywood continually, bizarrely refuses to target), which should offset declines. The Julianne Hough/Josh Duhamel hit may fall by about 50 percent to $10.5 million and $48 million total.
5. Escape from Planet Earth – $10.3 million
Weinstein’s $40 million animated movie modestly succeeded last weekend thanks to a dearth of family fare. With no new family films entering the fray, Escape should dip by a scant 35 percent to just over $10 million and $34 million total.
6. Dark Skies – $9 million
Another Weinstein-distributed film should finish close behind. This Jason Blum-produced effort hasn’t benefited much from his connection to the popular Paranormal Activity franchise in the lead-up to its release, and although horror tends to play well in the winter, Dark Skies‘ trailer failed to effectively bring on the chills. Plus, star Keri Russell has never packed movie theaters. (Extraordinary Measures, anyone?) In 2,313 locations, Dark Skies may earn a cloudy $9 million.
Check back to EW all weekend for box office updates, and for more box office musing, follow me on Twitter.