Box office preview: Can ‘Megamind’ slow down ‘Unstoppable’?
Image Credit: Dreamworks AnimationLike last weekend, a trio of new releases will be crowding theaters and giving those afflicted with decidophobia a strenuous workout. But unlike last weekend, during which the box office tallied a massive $152 million overall, this weekend’s figures will be more subdued. None of the three new movies is expected to approach the $46 million Megamind collected a week ago, and if my predictions hold true, the superhero comedy should emerge victorious once again. But Megamind will face some stiff competition from Fox’s runaway-train action film Unstoppable and Universal’s aliens-hate-Earthlings thriller Skyline. And then there is Paramount’s workplace comedy Morning Glory, which will likely have to settle for fifth place. My predictions:
1. Megamind: $29 million
While the $130 million animated film failed to match the openings of the biggest DreamWorks Animation blockbusters, it still did quite well for itself. The comedy received good reviews and an “A-” score from CinemaScore moviegoers (and, in particular, an “A” from those under 25). But the best thing Megamind has going for it is this: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows isn’t being released this week. Thus, with no new kiddie entertainment, expect a small drop of around 37 percent.
2. Unstoppable: $23 million
Tony Scott’s Unstoppable, based on the true story of an unmanned freight train speeding toward a city, has the best shot at overtaking Megamind. Denzel Washington is as dependable as movie stars come these days; seven of his last eight films have opened to at least $20 million. And the actor’s last three collaborations with Scott — The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Deja Vu, and Man on Fire — debuted to $23.4 million, $20.6 million, and $22.8 million, respectively. Add in some surprisingly positive reviews, and $23 million seems about right.
3. Skyline: $19 million
With no marquee-worthy stars, Skyline will have to rely on its sci-fi premise (alien invasion), slick advertising (you have to admit that shot with hundreds of people being “harvested” into a spaceship is pretty nifty), and teen-friendly PG-13 rating. When I toss those three components into my Predict-o-matic machine, and figure in the fact that Universal isn’t screening the movie for critics, the number I wind up with is $19 million. Not too shabby for a project that cost only $10 million to produce.
4. Due Date: $18 million
The Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis road-trip comedy has been dominating the box office this workweek — it held the top spot on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But it also garnered mediocre notices from critics, and a blah “B-” grade from CinemaScore audiences. For the film’s second weekend, count on a drop of about 45 percent.
5. Morning Glory: $12 million
The Paramount comedy, starring Rachel McAdams as a morning news producer (and Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton as the program’s bickering anchors), opened on Wednesday to a soft $1.1 million. However, the Roger Michell (Notting Hill) film should perform decently this weekend as an attractive alternative to all the testosterone-fueled spectacles currently slugging it out in theaters.