One Last Spring Fling at Box Office
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – With a summer heat wave scheduled to hit the multiplexes next weekend, Hollywood is mounting what amounts to a spring clearance this weekend.
Four wide releases debut in hopes of generating some business before the first of the wannabe summer blockbusters hits. At least that appears to be the strategy behind the debuts of the films bowing this weekend, in advance of 20th Century Fox’s “X2: X-Men United,” which arrives next weekend.
Till then, horror and gratuitous sex should dominate the theaters for this upcoming frame. And that could allow Sony Pictures’ PG-13 comedy “Anger Management” to hold onto the box-office crown for the third week in a row.
Sony’s primary “Anger” competition comes from one of the distributor’s own — its release of the Columbia Pictures thriller “Identity,” starring John Cusack and others, which is setting down in 2,733 theaters. The R-rated feature, which has been tracking solidly, is directed by James Mangold, whose credits include the recent romance “Kate & Leopold” as well as the psycho-drama “Girl, Interrupted.” At 87 minutes long, “Identity” could give “Anger” a run for its money with frequent show times and a solid ensemble cast that includes Rebecca DeMornay, Amanda Peet and Ray Liotta.
The key factor in determining which film occupies the top spot when the dust settles is the degree to which attendance drops off for “Anger” in its third weekend. A 50% decrease would put the film in the $12.8 million range for the weekend, a figure “Identity” could overcome if it measures up to the tracking numbers it has generated during the past week.
Expected to check in at No. 3 for the weekend is New Line Cinema’s spring break T&A display “The Real Cancun,” which bills itself as the first “reality” movie. Filmed last month and edited on the fly, the movie tracks a group of college students’ exploits in the popular party destination in Mexico. The heightened buzz around the R-rated film could see it breaking double digits (in millions) this weekend. The film will bow in 2,261 theaters, the second-widest in the bunch.
Meanwhile, Lions Gate Films is behind the wide release of “Confidence” from director James Foley, most recently of “The Corrupter” and “The Chamber.” With a stellar cast featuring Dustin Hoffman, Ed Burns and the incredible Rachel Weisz, the crime drama has received strong reviews and good buzz following its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film will debut on 1,871 screens and could gross north of $5 million.
The other wide opener is MGM’s “It Runs in the Family.” Starring practically the entire Michael Douglas family — including father Kirk, son Cameron and Michael’s mother Diana — the film centers on the trials and tribulations of family life. “Confidence” and “Family” are targeting similar demographics and will be more dependent than the other films on strong reviews. The PG-13 “Family” is directed by Fred Schepisi and written by Jesse Wigutow.
“Holes,” which Buena Vista Pictures launched last weekend, should have a strong second frame after beating expectations with its $17 million opening.
In the limited-release arena, Paramount Classics will debut Russia’s official entry for the foreign language Academy Award, “House of Fools,” directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. Inspired by a true story of the patients of a Russian psychiatric asylum, the film will bow on three screens in New York and Los Angeles.
Miramax Films will release “People I Know” starring Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, Ryan O’Neal and Tea Leoni. Set in the world of celebrity doings, Pacino plays a New York press agent dealing with a client’s scandal. The R-rated film, directed by Dan Algrant, will bow on five screens in New York and L.A.
“City of Ghosts” from MGM’s UA division will bow on six screens in N.Y. and L.A. Starring Matt Dillon, in his directorial debut, and James Caan, the R-rated film centers on a con man fleeing to Southeast Asia when a scam goes sour.
One Last Spring Fling at Box Office