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Box Office: YIPPEE KI V-DAY!
Source: Jeff Bock
Date: Feb 13, 2013
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It’s awfully hard to believe that the “Die Hard” franchise is entering its fourth decade in theaters…and we’re only five movies in. That’s the sort of output only someone like Terrence Malick could appreciate. It all began in 1988 with a film that cut to the chase, redefining what an action flick was all about, and eventually spawning a whole new way of thinking about action flicks. “It’s like Die Hard…on a boat.” Die Hard…on a train. Die Hard…with snakes…on a plane.

With female audiences split between the gothic romance, “Beautiful Creatures,” and the latest Nicolas Sparks offering, “Safe Haven,” it looks like Bruce Willis will deliver the box office a Valentine sealed with a kiss, kiss and a whole lotta of bang, bang for their buck–upwards of $40 million over the 4-day President's Day weekend and zeroing in on $50 million including the Valentine's Day haul. 

Many theaters are actually having Die Hard marathons, showing all five movies leading up to the last one at 10pm on Wednesday. Call it a Die Hard Half-Decathlon. Either way, that's 10 hours and 13 minutes...plus a few intermissions.

Regardless of the fact that "Live Free or Die Hard" was PG-13 and "Die Hard 5" is R (like the rest of the franchise), with a little love, this should turn out to be the top opener of the series. The four-quel debuted in the summer of 2007 with $33 million and went on to score $383 million worldwide. Funny enough, Willis hasn’t had a bigger hit since.

Where Sly, Arnie, and Statham couldn’t deliver this winter, Willis will surely pack the necessary firepower as has followed the sage wisdom that every aging action star should adhere to: just make sequels. Like Stallone did with the latest incarnations of “Rambo” and “Rocky” and Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 3,″ when times seem tough, you just gotta whip out the big guns and fans will flock.

The original “Die Hard” made Willis a major player in Hollywood, and whenever his star dims a bit, he stamps his John McClane passport, flashes that trademark smirk and delivers what is probably the most endearing action one-liner of all time: “Yippie Ki Yay, Mother F*cker.”

So what’s this one about? Well, it’s like Die Hard…on another continent. Russia to be exact. Perfect, we still have five more land masses to annihilate. It’s true; Willis wants to bring McClane back sooner than later. Wonder if he would ever team up with James Bond? “Die Hard Another Day,” anyone? “Tomorrow Never Dies Hard,” perhaps?

As my mother recently reminded me, females actually make up a high percentage of Die Hard's die-hards.  I believe her exact words were: "Ooh. Bruce Willis...cute butt. When are we going?" Warner's "Beautiful Creatures" and Relativity's "Safe Haven" will be in direct competition for the PG-13 crowd, but they will still have to contend with last week's champ, "Identity Thief," which will lure in many couples on date night. Comedy is a much easier sell to dudes than either of these two.   

You can't really go wrong with a Nicolas Sparks adaptation around V-day, however Josh Duhamel is certainly no Channing Tatum, so don't expect "Dear John" numbers with this tear-jerker. Additionally, Julianne Hough is sort of a poor-woman's Amanda Seyfried. Still, Relativity will certainly get a box of box office chocolates worth  upwards of $25 million over the extended weekend, as they tug at heartstrings in 3,233 theaters.

The wild card of the weekend is "Beautiful Creatures." Let's just get this right out in the open--this is the first in a VERY long line of films that wants you to believe it's the second coming of "Twilight." Is it? Probably not. But with an estimated budget of just $60 million, this should do okay, and maybe even sequelize. In 2,950 sites, expect around $21 million over the long weekend.

The final of four new wide releases arrives with little fanfare as Weinstein Co. whips out the animated tale "Escape From Planet Earth." May just be the right film at the right time, as this is the first toon to be released in 2013, and, the fact is, multiplexes haven't seen an original animated release since Thansgiving's "Rise of the Guardians."  In over 3,000+ theaters, don't be surprised if this blasts off with around $16 million through Monday.   

Weekend Estimates (4-Day)

1. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD - $40M

2. IDENTITY THIEF - $21M

3. SAFE HAVEN - $19M

4. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES - $18M

5. ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH - $14

 


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