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Box Office: "BODIES" TO HAVE BOX OFFICE BITE
Source: Jeff Bock
Date: Jan 31, 2013
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The super-est of football games will be front and center this weekend, and for non-gridiron fans that can be downright scary. Luckily, it's horror, not inspirational sports dramas, that's driving Hollywood's box office early in the 2013 season.

With the high scoring success of "Texas Chainsaw 3D," "A Haunted House," "Mama," and even "Hansel & Gretel" it's easy to see why January has October's number in terms of  bragging rights.

Expect more of the same this weekend too, as kids are clamoring for cheap thrills amidst all the football hoopla and awards hype. This past weekend saw eight of the top ten films sporting an "R" rating, so expect the teen-friendly zombie pic "Warm Bodies"--rated PG-13--to take a big ol' juicy bite out of the box office and walk...er...lurch away as the #1 film in the land. And that folks, is what we call a...no-brainer.    

Yes, box office brains will be splattered and bucks will be gathered, as hungry teenagers should drive "Warm Bodies" to an opening of nearly $20 million at 3,009 sites. Not too shabby for a film that's hilariously billed as the first zombie romance--can't think of a better date movie than that.

Lionsgate/Summit--which released "Twilight," "The Hunger Games," and "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"--definitely has their finger on the pulse of the lucrative teen market...as well as young-at-heart hipsters. 

Demographically speaking, "Warm Bodies" should be able to cross multiple boundaries and might just become a full-on pop culture phenomenon ala "Zombieland." Sony delivered an opening of $26 million with that zombie epic back in 2009, and honestly, besides "The Walking Dead" on the boob tube, we haven't seen much brain-munching since.  

With the success of the "Monster High" doll line, it's clear that girls and gals no longer crave sugar and spice and everything nice, these days they're more apt to join the boys, preferring slugs and snails and body parts in pails.  

Three R-rated action flicks in as many weeks? Can I get a "Bullet to the Head," please? Why thank you Sly Stallone and Warner Bros., that's just the ticket...another men-only movie on Super Bowl weekend, no less. I can't make this stuff up, folks.  

It's pretty obvious that the "Expendables" need their dependables. Honestly, kicking ass by yourself just isn't what it used to be. Even John McClane will be bringing his son along for his latest adventure, but at least Bruce Willis is making sequels, whereas his action-jackson cohorts are still trying to mark new territory.  And the only thing they've succeeded in doing so far is spraying the box office with a vast array of bottom feeders. 

The truth hurts more than an swift elbow to the throat, but as we saw with "The Last Stand" and "Parker" these past two weeks, people want their muscles as a multi-pack, not individually wrapped. While "The Expendables" extended the big-screen careers of these once mighty box office bad-asses, it's obvious their collective success also plays a part in the limp openings of their solo missions.  

At least Stallone is backed by veteran director Walter Hill, unfortunately "Bullet to the Head" is a suicide mission as far as the box office is concerned. Sly can't really do much worse than Arnie and Statham, but a $7 million debut, or thereabouts, in 2,404 theaters certainly doesn't justify a bloated $55 million budget. 

Super Bowl Weekend is all about BBQ's and big screens. So why would a studio release a flick that's prime demo is older males? Welcome to Dump City: Population 2.

Lionsgate's crime caper, "Stand Up Guys," rolls out into a moderate wide release of 659 theaters and will be lucky to shoot into the Top 10. 659 theaters for a flick that stars Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin??? Egads, this is what its come to?

Despite the fact that Walken is still one of the coolest dudes around, he definitely doesn't have much box office cache anymore; one look at the lackluster grosses of "Seven Psychopaths" will back that up.  And joining Walken in the land of self-parody--a place he has worked in for decades--is Pacino, who has recently taken up residence there. Let's hope Arkin is just visiting.

 

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1. Warm Bodies - $20M

2. Hansel & Gretel - $9M

3. Silver Linings Playbook - $8M

4. Bullet to the Head - $7.5M

5. Zero Dark Thirty - $6.5M

 

 


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