Friday, January 17, 2014

Kevin Hart Tries to Ride Ahead of Jack Ryan to the Top of the Box Office

Scott drags his feet into what he believes to be an uninspiring weekend at the box office.  He remains one tough solider and does his best to lay out the new releases and analyzes their box office chances.  Even if nothing looks appetizing to watch for poor Scott, it is a bit of an interesting weekend numbers wise, because we have two pictures that could either be surprise box office hits or shockingly huge bombs.  Scott looks at this and more in his in-depth weekend preview.

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We are now truly, undeniably, in the dredges of the winter, which means it is a time where some movies come to die. We were able to deny the fact for the last few weekends because there were some limited release Oscar hopefuls from 2013 that were getting their nationwide expansion, but no such luck this weekend. There are some expansions of 2013 movies happening, but they are ones that have already seen their time on the stage and are now just coming out again because of the attention that their Oscar nominations have gotten them. I am kind of rambling at the moment because I am trying to avoid the task at hand, which is talking about some rather uninspiring films.

A film that may have a chance to get top spot in the box office this weekend is Ride Along staring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, about a bit of a geeky guy who ends up on a police ride along (we are now seeing where the title came from) with his fiancé's ubermanly brother. While it is an interesting pairing, the premise of the unlikely duo fighting crime is anything from original. I am not saying that it does not have a chance at success, The Heat was a buddy comedy that did exceptionally well, but the signs for how it will do are hard to read. The critics are not loving it, but this is not the type of film where critical response has much effect on the box office. Kevin Hart has been pretty hot in theatres, with his stand up performance in Let Me Explain making more than $30 million last year. It is tracking moderately on Twitter, higher than any other movie opening this weekend, and it seems like the kind of movie that is capable of surprising people with how well it does, but equally able to shock us with a disastrous opening weekend.

Ride Along Opening Weekend Prediction - $24 Million

The character of Jack Ryan is back in theatres, fresh with a new actor taking up the mantle and even getting play in the movie’s title. Chris Pine stars in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, a film that was originally set to be released in December of 2013, but got bumped to January due to the shuffling around of The Wolf of Wall Street. While this is a part of a semi-established franchise, it has been a while since there has been a film and I am not sure if putting ‘Jack Ryan’ in the title is actually going to mean anything to viewers. I loved The Hunt For Red October, but not because of Jack Ryan, but because it was an awesome movie about big subs and even bigger subs. I have always believed that the movies starring Jack Ryan have worked because they look intriguing and not because the public has a built-in affinity to the character like they do to James Bond. Semantics aside, this movie will help determine the weight that Chris Pine can bring to the financial success of a film outside of being a part of an ensemble. I wish I had something more analytical to say about this film, but it's January and I am just scrounging for whatever talking points I can find.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Opening Weekend Prediction - $22 Million

The Nut Job is an animated film about a mouse, or rodents, or something (one of them looks exactly like Pinky from Pinky and the Brain) and seems to be getting no love from the critics. I am imagining that when the release weekend was selected for this film it was assumed that there would be very little animated competition for it. However, Frozen has been an unstoppable force for the last few months and it will most likely be taking a lot of the family ticket sales, especially since it can now boast an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature.

Okay, back to The Nut Job. At the time of writing this article, Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit has just over 5,000 tweets for January 16th… The Nut Job has 118. Things may not bode well for this film.

The Nut Job Opening Weekend Predictions - $8.5 Million
The fourth movie debuting in wide release this weekend is Devil’s Due, which is essentially The Omen meets Rosemary’s Baby meets found footage. January can generally be kinder to horror movies than other times of the year, so I do not expect this film to get the horrendous opening that perhaps it deserves.

Two weeks ago, another found footage horror movie entered theatres, and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones brought in $18 million. The Marked Ones had the advantage of being attached to a franchise, as well as having better looking trailers, and I would be surprised if Devil’s Due is able to get even half of what The Marked Ones made.

Devil’s Due Opening Weekend Predictions - $8 million

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