Box Office Beat: Weekend of December 7

Danny Baldwin's Box Office BeatHello and welcome back to Box Office Beat, the column in which I predict the upcoming weekend’s box office results. It’s going to be a very short piece this time, because there is only one new wide release and it’s destined to bomb. (Though, you should note that the terrific cop drama “End of Watch” is being re-released in 1,249 venues and if you haven’t seen it yet, you most definitely should now.) Let’s get this over with…

Playing for KeepsThe “big” new movie is “Playing for Keeps,” directed by Gabriele Muccino (“The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Seven Pounds”). Haven’t heard of it? Well, you’re not alone. This single-dad-and-son movie / soccer movie / rom-com starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, and Uma Thurman currently boasts a 0 percent score on the Tomatometer and has not had a very visible ad campaign. It would certainly seem like distributor Film District knows this thing is dead-on-arrival. As a last ditch effort to fill seats, they’ve put out a not-so-enticing Groupon offer (two tickets for $24, with a $15 future Groupon credit). Good comparisons involve movies with bad reviews, semi-big stars, and a not-quite-major distributor in this general genre. Wait, stop there. The perfect comparison came out just three months ago: CBS Films’ “The Words,” which also featured Dennis Quaid in a supporting role. That grossed $4.8 million opening weekend, which seems like a perfectly reasonable prediction here, especially given the two films’ theater counts are nearly identical (“Playing” has about 30 on “Words”). I’m going with it.

My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:

  1. “Skyfall” … $8.3m  -49.9%
  2. “Rise of the Guardians” … $7.9m  -41.0%
  3. “Lincoln” … $7.8m  -41.7%
  4. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” … $7.8m  -55.2%
  5. “Life of Pi” … $7.3m  -39.9%
  6. “Playing for Keeps” … $4.8m
  7. “Wreck-It Ralph” … $4.5m  -35.2%
  8. “Killing Them Softly” … $3.3m  -51.6%
  9. “Red Dawn” … $2.9m  -55.4%
  10. “Flight” … $2.7m  -39.7%