Box Office Preview: Don’t Stop Believin’ in Adam Sandler

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Just like last week was shaping up to be a close call between two new movies, we think this could be a similar weekend, but in this case, we don’t think either movie will be able to gross more than Madagascar 3 in its second weekend at #1 even with superstars like Adam Sandler and Tom Cruise.

Adam Sandler already has twelve $100 million movies under his belt, so there’s nothing to say that his latest movie, That’s My Boy (Sony), won’t join them, although he’s coming off one of his most critically-flamed movies since Little Nicky in Jack and Jill. Even so, Sandler has his dedicated male fanbase and for this one, he has a mighty back-up weapon in Andy Samberg, who has been hugely popular on “Saturday Night Live” due to his SNL Digital Shorts. He’ll certainly help bring in a decidedly younger audience of guys and gals, but being R-rated may limit how many of them can buy tickets to check it out (rather than buy tickets to something else and sneak in). The R-rating may have at least partially accounted for the relatively disappointing showing for Judd Apatow’s Funny People, which teamed Sandler with Seth Rogen, but the best thing going for the movie is its themes of fatherhood and Sony’s decision to release the movie over Father’s Day weekend. That alone should help make it a strong choice for Dads and their teen and older sons on Sunday, so while it should have a decent opening to $9 or 10 million, the Father’s Day Sunday bump should put the movie over the top and allow it to sustain weekend business better than some of Sandler’s other movie. We’re looking at between $27 and 30 million this weekend and with 4th of July coming, we think it should end up close to $100 million or slightly higher. Even with that Sunday bump, we think Madagascar 3 should continue its run at #1, being one of the few strong family choices for Father’s Day.

The presence of Tom Cruise as a rock star is one of the biggest selling points of Hairspray director Adam Shankman’s latest movie musical Rock of Ages (Warner Bros.), which also stars Julianne Hough, newcomer Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bryan Cranston. Compared to Sandler, Cruise has seventeen $100 million movies, except four of those made over $200 million, including his most recent one, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Playing rocker Stacee Jaxx is a very different role for Cruise, and it’s doubtful all of his fans, especially his male ones, will have any desire to see him in this role. On top of that, movies about rock stars haven’t fared that well as well as seen by Mark Wahlberg’s turn in Rock Star, although Russell Brand previously starred in Get Him to the Greek, which did decently. The good thing is that the movie is based on a hugely popular musical that has created a diehard fanbase who have gone to see the show hundreds of times in some case. They’ll certainly be curious to see how it plays out and younger women who generally like musicals and ’80s karaoke will check it out over some of the other options even if it might not have a draw for younger people like the Sandler-Samberg comedy, being that those under 20 weren’t alive when most of the movie’s songs were popular. We’re looking at an opening in the mid-$20 millions with legs dependent on whether the target audience of older women are into the movie. It’s not going to have much business from them once Magic Mike opens, so we think this one will probably top out around $80 to 85 million.

Review

This weekend last year was a weekend that would live on in infamy as Ryan Reynolds took on the role of the DC Comics hero Green Lantern (Warner Bros.), which many were hoping would do for Warner Bros. what Iron Man did for Marvel Studios. It didn’t, and its $53.2 million may have been seen as a disappointment, especially for those who thought that Reynolds was going to be a huge mega-star. (His comedy The Change-Up release six weeks later fared even worse.) In fact, Green Lantern was such an atrocity that it made a Jim Carrey family movie like Mr. Popper’s Penguins (20th Century Fox) less of an atrocity as it opened in third place with $18.5 million in 3,330 theaters. J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 held well to take second place with $21.5 million. The Top 10 grossed $145 million and with the two new movies likely doing roughly $55 million between them, we think this weekend may be level with that amount or slightly down.

This Week’s UPDATED Predictions

UPDATE: This week we’re pulling the rare switcheroo as we get closer to the weekend because it certainly seems Tom Cruise’s role as a rocker inRock of Ages is getting far more buzz than Adam Sandler is getting in his movie even if the latter stands a better chance of getting a bump on Father’s Day. We think Rock of Ages may even win on Friday but then Madagascar 3 will pick up the slack on the weekend and ultimately win the weekend.

1. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) – $33 million -45% (same)

2. Rock of Ages (Warner Bros.) – $27.3 million N/A (up 2.5 million and one spot)

3. That’s My Boy (Sony) – $25.5 million N/A (down 2.5 million and one spot)

4. Prometheus (20th Century Fox) – $24.0 million -54% (up .2 million)

5. Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal) – $11 million -52% (same)

6. Men in Black 3 (Sony) – $7.1 million -48% (down .2 million)

7. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) – $6.4 million -43% (down .1 million)

8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) – $2.2 million -33% (same)

9. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) – $1.9 million +22% (Up .4 million and one spot)

10. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsgate) – $1.5 million -45% (down .2 million)

Humpday director Lynn Shelton returns with Your Sister’s Sister (IFC Films) starring Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass as two best friends trying to get over the death of their ex-boyfriend and brother, respectively. She convinces him to go up to her family’s summer island home to get away for a bit and a drunken sexual encounter with her lesbian sister (Rosemarie Dewitt) leads to an awkward weekend between the three.

Review

Interview with Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt & Lynn Shelton

Interview with Mark Duplass (Coming Soon!)

Ethan Hawke stars in The Woman in the Fifth (ATO Pictures), the new film from Pawel Pawlikowsky (My Summer of Love) with Hawke playing Tom Ricks, an American writer who comes to France to try to reconnect with his estranged wife and daughter but instead gets caught up in a tryst with a mysterious woman, played by Kristin Scott Thomas. It opens in New York on Friday.

Video Interview with Ethan Hawke

Prashant Bhargava’s Patang: The Kite (Kushi Films) is a story set in the annual Ahmedabad kite festival based around a businessman bringing his daughter to his childhood home to experience the time of year when millions of kites fill the skies.

Mathieu Demy wrote, directed and stars in Americano (MPI Pictures) as Martin, who travels from Paris to Los Angeles to settle his mother’s estate where he encounters a woman he hardly knew, played by Salma Hayek. It opens at the Landmark Sunshine in New York.

Extraterrestrial (Focus World), the new movie from Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) is a sci-fi comedy about a drunken one-night stand that takes place in a deserted city that’s been evacuated when a giant flying saucer arrives. It opens at the ReRun Gastropub Theater and in Seattle and Austin on Friday (as well as on VOD) and then in Los Angeles on June 22.

Robert Lieberman’s thriller The Tortured (IFC Films) stars Jesse Metcalfe and Erika Christensen as a happily married couple whose five-year-old son is abducted and murdered, leaving them distraught as their relationship crumbles. When the man responsible is caught and set free, they decide to get their own vigilante justice to get revenge for their son’s death.

The Ice T-directed rap documentary Something from Nothing: the Art of Rap (Indomina Relasing) looks at the craft of making Hip-Hop through interactions with the likes of Eminem, Nas, Mos Def, Kanye West, Chuck D, Run-DMC, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and others. Sorry, if you were hoping for Vanilla Ice, you’ll have to see That’s My Boy instead.

David Ren’s The Girl from the Naked Eye is a martial arts thriller starring Jason Yee as a man who sets out to avenge the murder of his high-class escort girlfriend.

Next week, the month of June continues unabated with three new movies in wide release, headlined by the latest Pixar animated adventure Brave (Disney•Pixar), Timur Bekmambetov’s historical action-thriller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (20th Century Fox) and the Steve Carell-Keira Knightley apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Focus Features).

You can read stuff like this and regular box office, awards and festival coverage on the new Weekend Warrior Blog and to keep up with the latest articles and posts, you can follow us on Twitter.

Copyright 2012 Edward Douglas