After skipping the third film in Sony Screen Gems’ vampires vs. werewolves franchise, Kate Beckinsale [KBECK] returns for the fourth film Underworld: Awakening [UNDW4]. Fans are sure to turn out for the sequel and even pony up extra for 3D, a first for the series. The opening should fall somewhere between Underworld: Evolution, the second film’s $26.9 million in 2006, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the third film’s $20.8 million in 2009. Competition from new and holdover action films will limit any breakout potential. Opening in 3078 theaters, Underworld: Awakening may consume $24 million.
Cuba Gooding Jr. [CGOOD] and Terence Howard [THOWA] lead the cast of Red Tails [REDTL] about the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Produced by George Lucas, the PG-13 rated film relies heavily on special effects in hopes of attracting young moviegoers. The film should have support from older men as well as the African-American audience. Attacking 2512 theaters, Red Tails could shoot down $14 million.
With new films targeting the same male audience, Contraband [CNTRB] is poised to drop around 50% in its second weekend to $12 million.
The drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close [ELAIC] expands wide after 4 weeks of limited release. Warner Bros. has tried to portray the film set against the backdrop of 9/11 as more than just about the events of 9/11. Although Tom Hanks [THANK] and Sandra Bullocks [SBULL] lend their starpower, the film falls on the shoulder of young newcomer Tom Horn. Reviews have been mixed, which will discourage some amongst the older target audience. Playing in 2630 theaters, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close could draw in $12 million.
Director Steven Soderbergh [SSODE] wants to turn mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano into a movie star in Haywire [HAYWR]. Unfortunately, female-led action films have a hard time connecting with moviegoers. It will be even harder for a first timer, even with an all-star supporting cast. The R-rating will prevent teens from checking out Carano, while older guys will have other options this weekend. Breaking into 2439 theaters, Haywire could score $8 million.
That’s the whisper from the trading floor.
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