‘Rundown’ Set to Rock Weekend Box Office
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Three films targeting a wide swath of potential moviegoers are hitting the box office this weekend. But it looks as if only one will generate numbers equivalent to those of a summer blockbuster.
“The Rundown,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is shaping up as the likely competition crusher. A Universal Pictures release of a Universal-Columbia production, the action-comedy has earned good reviews comparing it with buddy films of yore.
“Rundown” marks Johnson’s first film where he moves beyond his well-known character of Mathayus the Scorpion King, who helped bring gobs of dollars to Universal. He originally appeared in “The Mummy Returns,” which opened to $68.1 million in May 2001, and then took center stage in “The Scorpion King,” which opened to $36 million in April 2002.
In early reviews, critics have compared Johnson’s “Rundown” exploits with those of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, so this movie could officially launch the wrestler-turned-actor into a bona fide action hero. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the film also stars “American Pie’s” Seann William Scott. Expectations are that the film will gross at least $15 million-$17 million, but it could reach into $20 million territory.
Directed by Peter Berg (“Very Bad Things”), “Rundown” centers on the unlikely team of Johnson and Scott, who must join forces to fight the evil leader of a gold-mining corporation that is after the same treasure they are. Targeting the under-25 crowd, the PG-13 film from screenwriters R.J. Stewart and James Vanderbilt will bow in 3,152 theaters.
Miramax Films will release the Danny DeVito-directed dark comedy “Duplex” this weekend in 2,189 theaters. The PG-13 film starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore has received little advertising support and, despite the star power of its two leads, is not expected to generate much box office heat. Although it looks to attract the upscale young-adult audience interested in a plot concerning an up-and-coming couple whose lives are slowly unraveling due to a pesky rent-controlled upstairs neighbor, the film is not likely to earn much more than $6 million.
Meanwhile, Disney’s “Under the Tuscan Sun” is hoping to draw the adult-female audience to a loose adaptation of Frances Mayes’ best-selling memoir. Offering up Diane Lane’s first starring role since last year’s Oscar-nominated performance in “Unfaithful,” the film will open on 1,226 screens with hopes of capitalizing on strong word-of-mouth. Rated PG-13 and filmed entirely in Italy, “Tuscan” focuses on Lane’s character as a newly divorced American writer who is coerced into a trip to Italy to help her overcome her profound depression. On impulse, she purchases a rundown villa, and an interesting supporting cast helps turn the woman’s life around.
Written and directed by Audrey Wells (“Guinevere”), “Tuscan” veers considerably from Mayes’ novel, but the marketing campaign is reaching out to fans of the book as well as to scorned women everywhere. The film could open to $10 million and then climb from there, if Disney’s expectations are fulfilled.
In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics will bow “My Life Without Me,” directed by Isabel Coixet, in New York and Los Angeles. The R-rated film stars Sarah Polley as a young mother of two who lives in a trailer and decides to cover up the fact that she is dying of cancer so she can live out her final months of life with a sense of freedom. Alfred Molina, Mark Ruffalo and Amanda Plummer co-star.
R.S. Entertainment will debut “Luther” starring Joseph Fiennes and Molina and directed by Eric Till. The movie tells the story of German priest Martin Luther, who challenged the orthodoxy of the Catholic church in the 1500s, igniting a religious reformation that transformed Christianity and much of Western culture.
Focus Features will expand the increasingly popular “Lost in Translation” to 488 theaters this weekend. The Sofia Coppola-directed film already has earned $4.7 million in two weekends of limited release.
‘Rundown’ Set to Rock Weekend Box Office