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Whisper Numbers: Can Moneyball win the weekend box office?



Although general manager Billy Beane used statistical analysis to build a baseball team that was a perennial playoffs contender, his Oakland Athletics never actually won a World Series. Does the movie adaptation of the best-selling book Moneyball [MONYB] have what it takes to finish in first place? Brad Pitt [BPITT] flexes his starpower as Beane, while Jonah Hill [JHILL] plays the stat geek and Philip Seymour Hoffman [PSHOF] plays the manager of the A’s. Baseball movies have not generally done well, as demonstrated by the fact the biggest opening is held by the 2006 comedy The Benchwarmers at $19.6 million. Sony has played up the comedic aspect of the sports drama and marketed the PG-13 rated film as Major League meets The Social Network, the latter of which shared the same producer and screenwriter. The film has earned excellent reviews and generated award buzz, which should help bring out older adults who are on the fence. Playing in 2993 theaters, Moneyball could hit $18 million.

The Lion King 3D [TLK3D] has a chance to reign another weekend should Moneyball underperform expectations. The animated re-release may decline around 40% to $17 million.

Competing for 3D screens and the family audience will be the PG-rated Dolphin Tale [DLPHN] about a boy who rescues a dolphin that lost its tail fin. Starring the actual animal that inspired the movie, the Warner Bros. release is sure to tug at the heartstring of those looking for an inspirational story and wholesome entertainment. Jumping into 3507 locations, Dolphin Tale could land around $15 million.

Taylor Lautner [TLAUT] goes solo for the first time in the action thriller Abduction [ABDUC]. While fellow Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson had mixed results in their lead vehicles, Lautner has a better chance to break-through with a more commercial film playing a teenager on the run to find his true identity. Lionsgate hopes to attract his female fanbase as well as their dates, guys who actually don’t mind seeing an action film. By appealing to both sexes under 25, Abduction could locate $14 million from 3118 theaters.

For their first release, Open Road Films opted to hitch a star with a consistent track record at the box office. Killer Elite [KILET] is the latest R-rated action film starring Jason Statham [JSTAT]. Clive Owens [CLOWE] and Robert DeNiro [RDENI] provide additional name recognition, though not necessarily additional coins at the box office. The ad campaign has been spot on to connect with the male target audience. Busting into 2986 theaters, Killer Elite may tally roughly $9.5 million

That’s the whisper from the trading floor.



Tag(s): MONYB, BPITT, JHILL, PSHOF, TLK3D, DLPHN, TLAUT, ABDUC, KILET, JSTAT, CLOWE, RDENI

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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, September 22, 2011 @ 04:37 PM        2725 views


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