Box Office Beat: Weekend of February 1

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 Super Bowl weekend, meaning Sunday’s grosses should be relatively subdued as Americans stay home, fill up on pizza and nachos, and watch grown men pummel each other. But that doesn’t make the movie-money race any less interesting, as three new wide releases enter the market.

Warm BodiesHistorically, two types of films are the most common to release on Super Bowl weekend: chick-flicks and horror, which appeal to the audiences most disinterested in football. The likely victor of the weekend, “Warm Bodies,” rolls both into one with a zombie romance. The audience for this should be heavily female—like the “Twilight” franchise, it’s based on a popular young adult novel—but word on the street is that the movie’s pretty good (as you would expect from director Jonathan Levine), so male crossover isn’t out of the question. I see the $20.9m that last year’s Super Bowl weekend, teenage girl-targeted release, “The Woman in Black,” raked in as the absolute floor for “Warm Bodies.” In fact, I think this will surge up close to “Zombeland”’s $24.7m, even though the audiences aren’t exactly similar. Super Bowl Sunday will hurt the gross a bit, but I’m going to predict a strong $23.5 million for “Warm Bodies.”

Bullet to the HeadNext, there’s Walter Hill’s “Bullet to the Head,” starring Sylvester Stallone, which was an odd choice for distributor Warner Bros. to release on Super Bowl weekend, in that Stallone’s usual macho man audience will be watching the game on Sunday. Perhaps they’re trying to replicate the unexpected success of the first “Taken,” which exploded on this weekend four years ago despite being a “guy movie,” or perhaps they expect the film to bomb and they’re just trying to get rid of it. Dump-job or not, however, I’m sure WB is looking to make more on “Bullet to the Head” than Lionsgate did on “The Last Stand,” starring Stallone’s buddy Arnold, which opened to a paltry $6.3m a couple weeks back. And it would certainly seem as though they will pull that off, given that Stallone, unlike Schwarzenegger, has consistently opened movies to $12 million or higher over the last decade. Will “Bullet to the Head” surge that high? Probably not, because it’s not a sequel like “Rambo” or “Rocky Balboa,” but I think it’ll barely manage double digits. I’ll predict an even $10 million.

Stand Up GuysLastly, there’s “Stand-Up Guys,” starring screen legends Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. Despite the cast, the writing on the wall does not look good for this film, as it’s both poorly reviewed and only being released in 659 theaters. The best-case-scenario for distributor Lionsgate would be to achieve an opening similar to last year’s adult-targeted, Walken-starring picture “Seven Psychopaths” ($4.2m). But that played in over two times the theaters (1,480) out of the gate, so even that marginal gross seems out of reach. Maybe two-thirds of it, if they’re lucky; my guess is $2.8 million.

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

  1. “Warm Bodies” … $23.5m
  2. “Bullet to the Head” … $10.0m
  3. “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” … $8.8m
  4. “The Silver Linings Playbook” … $6.1m
  5. “Mama” … $6.0m
  6. “Zero Dark Thirty” … $5.3m
  7. “Django Unchained” … $2.9m
  8. “Parker” … $2.8m
  9. “Stand Up Guys” … $2.8m
  10. “Lincoln” … $2.4m