Four new contenders enter the late August box office frame looking to claim the top spot, but it’s a sleeper hit that’s likely to prevail in first place. The period drama The Help [THELP] outperformed expectations in its debut and has generated tremendously positive word of mouth, not to mention year-end awards consideration. Its older target audience should help The Help hold at least 70% from its opening weekend and earn another $19 million, which should be enough to fend off the new competition.
Director Robert Rodriguez [RRODR] revisits his family spy franchise with Spy Kids: All the Time in the World [SPYK4], the fourth film in the series. The previous installment Spy Kids 3D: Game Over was one of the first modern 3D film and opened to a whopping $33.4 million in 2003. With fans of the first 3 Spy Kids as well as its young stars all grown up, the Weinstein Co. will have to reach a whole new generation for its PG-rated film. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World introduces a new family of spies as well as added another dimension, 4D Aromascope. Audience members will be prompted during the movie to scratch and sniff from a card. With The Smurfs being the last family film, the novelty of 4D should entice some family with children to take one last summer outing. Jessica Alba [JALBA] leads the cast which should make the movie tolerable for the dads in the audience. Opening in 3294 theaters, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World could smell $16 million.
Lionsgate remakes Conan the Barbarian [CONAN], the 1982 film that launched the acting career of bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. Newcomer Jason Momoa takes over the role in the R-rated fantasy film which promises plenty of blood and violence in 3D. Last year, Lionsgate succeeded with another ‘80s action throwback in The Expendables. Unfortunately, Conan the Barbarian lacks the starpower despite the brand recognition. The film’s appeal looks limited to males, young guys tired of the PG-13 rated superheroes and older men nostalgic for the original. Hacking into 3015 theaters, Conan the Barbarian could slice up $16 million.
A remake of a 1985 film, Fright Night [FRNIT] is the second horror film, make that the second 3D R-rated horror film, to open in two weeks. Anton Yelchin [AYELC] stars as a teen who discovers his neighbor is a blood-sucking vampire in the form of Colin Ferrell [CFERR]. The under-performance of its main competitor Final Destination 5 may indicate audience fatigue over shelling out for another 3D film. However, the film could connect with moviegoers like the very similar Disturbia, which opened to $20 million in 2007. Fright Night looks to scare up $15 million at 3114 locations.
After two weeks ruling the box office, Rise of the Planet of the Apes [RSAPE] looks to drop back to around $14 million.
Focus Features offers something for the ladies with the romance One Day [1DAY]. Anne Hathaway [AHATH] and Jim Sturgess [JSTUR] play a young couple who meet up one day a year over twenty years. While the source novel was a bestseller, buzz from the trailers were not good and the reviews haven’t been much better. The film also has to compete against the surging The Help for its target female audience. Opening in 1719 theaters, One Day may settle with $6 million.
That’s the whisper from the trading floor.
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