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Whisper Numbers: How to Train Your Dragon to beat Hot Tub Time Machine.

Two new films with literal titles enter the multiplex this weekend.   The PG-rated How to Train Your Dragon [HTRYD] squares off against the R-rated Hot Tub Time Machine [HOTUB] in a battle for different target audiences.

  
With its emphasis on storytelling rather than smirking animals firing off one-liners, Dragon (as recent ads have abbreviated) is the first film from DreamWorks Animation that looks like it could have sprung from Disney/Pixar. The influence no doubt stemmed from director Chris Sanders, who previously did Lilo & Stitch, a film Dragon has drawn comparisons to.  DreamWorks has been throwing its vast marketing prowess behind the 3D animated film, but Dragon has not had the same buzz as their previous offerings. That could partly be attributed to ‘story’ being harder to compress into ads than jokes.  Having 3D alone is also no longer the major selling point as moviegoers now have options with Alice in Wonderland [ALCNW] also in theaters and Clash of the Titans [CLASH] coming out next week. Opening in 4,055 theaters, Dragon should still pull off a healthy start at around $42 million.


‘80s star John Cusack [JOHNC] leads the cast of the ‘80s flashback comedy Hot Tub Time Machine.  With its ownership in doubt and no other release for another 6 months, MGM has put all its marketing resources behind Hot Tub Time Machine for the last few months.  The self-explanatory title and buzz remind the Whisperer of the infamous Snakes on a Plane.  But whereas SOAP plays itself off as an action film, Hot Tub Time Machine and Craig Robinson [CROBI] are winking right back at the audience.  The jokes in the ads are funny enough to entice adults nostalgic of the ‘80s or even last summer’s The HangoverHot Tub Time Machine could soak in about $27 million from 2,754 locations. 
With the loss of all IMAX locations and most of its 3D screens to Dragon, Alice in Wonderland looks to suffer a greater decline in its fourth weekend.  The fantasy film should still finish third with $17 million.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid
[WIMPY] should continue to show strength after its better than expected opening.   Even with the added competition from Dragon, Wimpy Kid has the fanbase to secure another $14 million.


Starpower may have opened The Bounty Hunter [BOUNT], but poor word of mouth looks to cut its longevity short. The romantic comedy may post $10 million in its second frame.

That’s the whisper from the trading floor.



Tag(s): HTRYD, HOTUB, ALCNW, CLASH, JOHNC, CROBI, WIMPY, BOUNT

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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, March 25, 2010 @ 03:29 PM 3498 views

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