My podcast colleague and friend, Scott Martin, is a back again this week to analyze the chances of the new wide releases to the cinema.
Heading into the last weekend of June we have two wide release movies that are coming into theatres to vie for box office supremacy in The Heat (starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy), and White House Down (Starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx). At first glance these movies seem to be quite different, which would mean they are no real threat to each other in the grab for audience dollars, however they both seem to follow the buddy action movie format. Which one will win the weekend, and does the winner have what it takes to oust Monsters University which took in just over $80 million last week? Let us ponder a bit more on each movie.
Melissa McCarthy has proven to the masses that she is a legitimate Hollywood star after Identity Thief became the number one movie in February and is currently the top grossing comedy of 2013. In the trailers for The Heat, McCarthy plays a quirky and dishevelled police officer who is teamed up with straight edge Sandra Bullock. It is a concept that is not even close to new, but the main attraction here is the potential for ultimate comic chemistry between the two leads. As well, it is very nice to see a female driven movie in the theatres, as Hollywood still leans towards male dominate blockbusters.
The role McCarthy plays is in keeping with the style she has brought to movies such as Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, and The Hangover Part 3. She plays the oddball character really well, and I think it is too soon in her career for this to seem overplayed to the public. I really am hoping for the day when she is cast to play the straight character instead of the misfit as I believe she has a lot of talent that we have yet to see.
When it comes to making the prediction on how much this movie will make, things get a bit tricky. Comedies have been extremely hit or miss, and some have fallen completely flat. Who would have thought that a movie starring Steve Carell and Jim Carey would have failed to make back budget, and The Internship seeming to be in the same predicament? I like to believe that the failing of Movie 43 shocked not a soul, but that would not be true. The success of The Heat rides on the shoulders of the odd couple in Bullock and McCarthy and they should get a solid opening weekend.
The Heat Opening Weekend Prediction - $38 million
And in the opposite corner, Channing Tatum is set to protect the president of the United States played by Jamie Foxx in 2013’s second White House action fest. The first being Olympus has Fallen, which starred Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, a no nonsense bad ass who will stab terrorists in the skull every chance he gets… he just cannot help himself, like a kid seeing a cookie on the counter. Whereas Olympus Has Fallen was a direct example of Hollywood highway robbery in how it ripped off Die Hard, White House Down has distanced itself from that comparison by taking the buddy film approach and leaving it more comparable to a rip-off of Die Hard: With a Vengeance.
The director of the film is Roland Emmerich, and if you do not recognize that name there are two things you need to know. The first is that he is great at creating a full theatre experience blockbuster movie. He has shown his savvy in movies such as Independence Day, The Patriot, and 2012. The other piece of information that you should be keen to know is that he likes stomping on the White House in his movies, and he gets to let loose his CGI assault on the iconic building like never before in this movie. The digital assault of the White House in Olympus Has Fallen was not the best piece of work, and was the dullest part of the film. Roland Emmerich is not the type of person to let that slide, so White House Down will most likely be visually stunning and be best enjoyed on the big screen.
The problem with White House Down is that, as mentioned, it is the second time in a few months that audiences are seeing this concept. Regardless of which studio first got the idea, White House Down will be viewed by a lot of people as the copycat. Another problem that they will run into is that the possible box office cannibalization that could occur with two buddy films entering the theatres the same weekend. Both have a great one-two acting combination, both show action in their trailers, and both show comedy in their trailers. I believe that White House Down would have been better suited to have come out in early June when its competition would have been easy pickings in The Purge, and The Internship.
White House Down Opening Weekend Prediction - $42 million