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Whisper Numbers: Holiday weekend looks to Die Hard

The long weekend due to the President’s Day holiday brings four new wide releases, with three opening on Thursday to take advantage of Valentine’s Day. Bruce Willis [BWILL] reprises his signature role as John McClane for the fifth time in A Good Day to Die Hard [DIEH5]. The former NYPD cop takes his one-man anti-terrorist act abroad for the first time as he visits Russia to locate his estrange son, played by Jai Courtney [JCOUR]. The R-rated action film is tracking extremely well, though much of that goodwill comes from the well-received fourth edition Live Free or Die Hard, which was rated PG-13 and earned $48.4 million in its first five days in 2007. However, A Good Day to Die Hard has garnered by far the worse reviews in the series, which could matter to the older male target audience. A Good Day to Die Hard is also the shortest movie in the series at 97 minutes, and the only one not released during the summer season. Smart fans can see that this unnecessary sequel was made purely for the money, and Fox’s marketing bears that out by amping up the explosive action with little regards to revealing the actual story. Jumping into 3522 theaters, A Good Day to Die Hard could blast away $38 million from Friday to Monday.

Melissa McCarthy became a legitimate box office draw when Identity Thief [IDTHF] exceeded all expectations last weekend. With the R-rated comedy performing well in Middle America, Identity Thief could steal another $20 million over the 4-day weekend.

The feature adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel Safe Haven [SAFHV] opens on Thursday just in time for Valentine’s Day. The last Sparks adaptation The Lucky Ones starring Zac Efron opened to $22.5 million in April. In 2010, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried powered Dear John to $30.5 million while Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth managed just $16.0 million for The Last Song. With the combination of Josh Duhamel [JDUHA] and Julianne Hough [JHOUG], Safe Haven should fall somewhere in between. The PG-13 rated romance has earned terrible reviews, but that’s not gonna matter to the female target audience. Couples will goose the box office on Valentine’s Day, and then Safe Haven should settle in with $19 million from Friday through Monday in 3233 locations.

Beautiful Creatures [BTCRT] is the latest fantasy romance based on a young adult book series trying to capture a slice of the Twilight fanbase. Like its Harry Potter franchise, Warner Bros. has cast unknown in the leads, while surrounding them with recognizable stars. Also opening on Thursday, the PG-13 rated film has some slight competition from Safe Haven, which skews older, as well as Warm Bodies, which is in its third weekend. Putting a spell in 2950 theaters, Beautiful Creatures could collect $18 million over the 4-day weekend.

Escape from Planet Earth [ESCPE] is the first new animated film since Thanksgiving. The PG-rated Weinstein Co. release has the family audience all to itself over the holiday weekend. However, the animated film had been mired in litigation so the marketing did not start in earnest until a month ago. Landing in 3288 theaters, Escape from Planet Earth may take $14 million over the long weekend.

That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 03:51 PM        2820 views

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