Image Credit: Dreamworks AnimationAfter a few weeks devoted to horror geeks and Jackass freaks, the box office is set to explode this weekend as three very different films — each aiming for a particular audience — are unleashed for your consumption. For families, DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures are providing the PG-rated animated superhero comedy Megamind, starring Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt. For comedy lovers who prefer a bit more profanity and Robert Downey Jr. with their laughs, Warner Bros. (and co-producer Legendary Pictures) is releasing the R-rated Due Date, which is director Todd Phillips’ follow-up to last year’s surprise smash The Hangover. And, finally, director/writer Tyler Perry has assembled an impressive ensemble of actresses, including Kimberly Elise, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, and Janet Jackson, for Lions Gate’s drama For Colored Girls. My scientifically verified and astrologically swayed predictions follow:
1. Megamind: $52 million
Paramount is anticipating the $130 million Megamind to debut to about the same figure as DreamWorks’ last original animated film, How to Train Your Dragon, which soared to a $43.7 million opening in March. But Dragon didn’t have the star power of Ferrell and Pitt, and Paramount’s been promoting Megamind with the fervor of a gubernatorial candidate. Megamind will also benefit from an extremely wide opening at 3,944 locations, two-thirds of which will be showing the comedy in 3-D. Add in 195 IMAX 3-D screens, a short running time of 96 minutes, and an audience starved for family entertainment, and I’m thinking this thing should have no problem topping $50 million. (By comparison, Universal’s similarly themed Despicable Me grossed $56.4 million its first weekend in July).
2. Due Date: $34 million
Phillips’ last film, The Hangover, opened to an unexpected $45 million last year and finished its domestic run with $277.3 million — the largest jackpot ever for an R-rated comedy. It also made a star out of Zach Galifianakis, who now shares the screen in Due Date with none other than Robert Downey Jr. Unfortunately, the early buzz on Due Date is that it’s no Hangover, but that shouldn’t prevent the road-trip comedy from still scoring big this weekend.
3. For Colored Girls: $23 million
In his first ever R-rated directing effort, Tyler Perry adapted the 1975 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf (try fitting that title on a theater marquee). Lions Gate has been marketing the film as a serious drama, which it is, but initial reviews have been mixed. Perry’s fans, however, have been notably supportive throughout his career — the eight films he has directed have opened to an average of $24.2 million. For Colored Girls should earn approximately the same amount as it screens at 2,127 locations.
4. Saw 3D: $8.5 million
Life is hard for a horror film after its first weekend, and with Megamind stealing plenty of 3-D screens from Saw 3D, this final entry in the horror franchise should expect a drop of about 65 percent.
5. Paranormal Activity 2: $7 million
Paranormal 2 shouldn’t tumble as much as Saw 3D will this weekend — a slip of 58 percent is more likely. If the horror sequel falls any more than that, the action comedy Red, which has been showing incredible stamina, could very well step in and snag fifth place.
Also opening this weekend in four locations is Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, starring James Franco as a real-life mountain climber who becomes trapped under a boulder. The intense drama should score a massive per-theater average, even if a few moviegoers have been reported to have fainted like, well, goats. And Summit’s action thriller Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, will begin its journey at 46 theaters.