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Whisper Numbers: Battleship sights up The Avengers

Three new wide releases enter the box office fray, but the blockbuster holdover The Avengers [AVNGR] still looms large. The Marvel superheroes declined 50%, respectable after its record-smashing debut, in its second weekend and should improve on that in its third weekend. The crowd-pleasing The Avengers looks to bank another $57 million, which should be enough to remain in the pole position.

The classic board game Battleship [BTSHP] has been turned into a sci-fi actioner featuring aliens. Universal has marketed the PG-13 rated film relentlessly as Transformers at sea. Without the popular giant robots, however, the end results look more like Battle: Los Angeles at sea. Taylor Kitsch [TKITS], Liam Neeson [LNEES] and popstar Rihanna lead the cast, but the biggest selling point is the special effects. Unfortunately, Battleship may flounder in the wake of its main competitor The Avengers. The film has already opened overseas to poor reviews, which could discourage the more discriminating moviegoers. It also doesn’t help that most people considers the idea of adapting a story-less boardgame into a movie a complete joke. Hitting 3690 theaters, Battleship could score upwards of $39 million.

Sacha Baron Cohen [SBCOH] creates a new, politically incorrect character for The Dictator [DICTR], but this time in a story-driven comedy rather than a mockumentary. The R-rated film finds his Qaddafi-like North African ruler lost in New York City and learning to live like an ordinary immigrant with the help of an activist, played by Anna Faris [AFARI]. Cohen has tirelessly promoted the film in character, much like he did for his previous effort Bruno, which opened at $30.6 million in 2009. Unfortunately, Bruno suffered from poor word of mouth, which could still linger to this day and hurt the opening prospects of The Dictator. After opening on Wednesday and grossing $4.1 million, The Dictator may seize $21 million over the weekend from 3008 theaters.

Lionsgate has assembled an all-star ensemble cast for What to Expect When You’re Expecting [WTEXP], the latest self-help book to get the feature treatment. Cameron Diaz [CDIAZ], Jennifer Lopez [JLOPE], Elizabeth Banks [EBANK] play women going through the painful joys of pregnancy. Even with ads touting Chris Rock [CROCK] and the Dudes Group, guys would have to be dragged to the PG-13 rated comedy by their wives and girlfriends. Opening in 3021 theaters, What to Expect When You’re Expecting may deliver around $20 million.

Dark Shadows [DRKSH] attracted primarily older moviegoers who remembered the original TV series. That audience segment should keep Dark Shadows from tumbling more than 50% in its second weekend to around $15 million.

That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 03:44 PM 10023 views

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