Joshua Rich's prediction: The hard-hitting "Gridiron" is prepped to carry the Rock for a touchdown
Hey folks! Turns out I?m not the only one back from a long vacation (wouldja look at my hot box-office-nerd tan!). After some of its slowest frames in ages, Hollywood is finally entering the big fall movie season. While most of the top releases this weekend may not be Oscar contenders, the studios certainly mean business. That is, they expect to actually do some business this week. You know, enough of that Wicker Man/Crossover/Covenant nonsense.
The major premieres are a mixed lot. It?s another one of those something-for-everyone weekends, which makes predicting the box office?s ultimate fighting champion all the more difficult. But, hey, I?m a brave man. And I?m rested. And tan. Sorta.
Certainly, after all that time spent in the gym, The Rock deserves to be the favorite in any brawl. His football drama Gridiron Gang, from Sony, bows in 3,504 locations and should be the champ. Just don?t think it?ll earn a Scorpion King-like $36 million. For one thing, remember what I said about football movies? They?re not big theatrical draws. Invincible premiered with a respectable $17 mil three weeks ago, sure, but now that the football season has started, people may prefer to catch the real deal on the tube (er, liquid-crystal flat panel). For another thing, loath as I am to admit it, because I happen to be someone who loves smelling what The Rock is cooking, the dude just hasn?t become the box-office behemoth he should be. His starring vehicles almost all tend to open in the mid teens. Just about a year ago, for example, Doom debuted with $15.5 mil. And that?s where this movie will wind up come Sunday.
Meanwhile, I can picture a family going to the multiplex this weekend and heading in all different directions after some hotshot high school student rips their tickets with one hand. Mom and Dad will head upstairs to see Universal?s fact-based noir crime saga The Black Dahlia, from director Brian De Palma (the hell has he been?), playing in 2,224 places. Young Mikey and Susie will skip on over to Fox?s G-rated animated flick Everyone?s Hero, in 2,896 venues. And 17-year-old Brittany and her boyfriend Brad will score a little back-row mwah-mwah at Paramount?s R-rated romance The Last Kiss, with Zach Braff mwah-ing fellow TV star Rachel Bilson, in over 1,100 theaters. Among their respective demographics, each of these movies has similarly decent buzz, although there isn?t much crossover potential. And so they?ll all wind up with similar sums in the bank: EH with $8 mil, TBD with a Hollywoodland-esque $6 mil, and TLK with $5 mil. Mwah!