Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Box Office Beat, the column in which I hopelessly predict the weekend box office results. The new kids on the block this time around are “Rock of Ages,” the incessantly promoted Broadway musical adaptation headlined by Tom Cruise, and “That’s My Boy,” Adam Sandler’s first attempt at grossing up his brand of gross-out comedy to an R rating. If my predictions turn out to be accurate, then both movies will be beaten by DreamWorks Animation’s holdover “Madagascar 3,” but that’s neither here nor there…
There are two perfect comparisons for “Rock of Ages”: 2008’s “Hairspray” (also directed by Adam Shankman) and 2009’s “Mamma Mia!” — both star-studded ensemble musicals, adapted from Broadway shows, released during the summer and primarily targeted at females. Conveniently, both films opened within $300,000 of one another, taking in $27.5m and $27.8m, respectively. Both went on to have great legs and play all summer long–a typical trend among films that appeal to older women–which should be the case here, too, even in spite of lukewarm reviews. Still, as the two prior films demonstrate, the opening three-day take for “Rock of Ages” is unlikely to ascend much higher than $28 million.
As for “That’s My Boy” — an apt comparison isn’t as easy to find, despite the fact that it seems like every other Sandler movie. The popular funny-man’s only three R-rated efforts were all much more serious than “That’s My Boy,” which is essentially just a cruder version of his usual schtick. Given that a large percentage of his fan-base is under 17, that’s no small deal. The average opening of Sandler’s last five gross-out PG-13 comedies (“Just Go with It,” “Grown Ups,” “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” and “Click”) was $36.8m. My best guess for “That’s My Boy” would be to subtract 15% from that figure to account for the under-17s excluded by the R-rating and another 15% for the lack of a prominent female lead to draw in women viewers. (Leighton Meester takes that billing, but she is not a big part of the ad campaign ala Jennifer Aniston in “Just Go with It” or even Emmanuelle Chriqui in “Zohan.”) That would put the film’s opening at $25.8 million — as good a prediction as any.
My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:
- “Madagascar 3” … $33.5m -44.5%
- “Rock of Ages” … $28.0m
- “That’s My Boy” … $25.8m
- “Prometheus” … $17.6m -65.5%
- “Snow White and the Huntsman” … $11.6m -49.7%
- “Men in Black 3” … $7.0m -49.6%
- “The Avengers” … $6.2m -44.9%
- “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” … $2.4m -26.5%
- “Moonrise Kingdom” … $2.2m +41.1%
- “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” … $1.7m -39.0%