‘Hellboy’ Hath Fury at Box Office
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – During the coming week, the country will turn its attention to religious observances as the beginning of the Jewish Passover coincides with the Christian Holy Week. But first, moviegoers are expected to take a detour to hell — or at least to the Sony Pictures release of “Hellboy.”
Based on the Dark Horse Comics saga, “Hellboy,” from Revolution Studios, stars Ron Perlman as a beet-red spawn of Satan who’s defending the forces of good against dastardly Nazi villains. Director Guillermo del Toro, who has proved his genre chops with movies including “Mimic” and “Blade II,” has fashioned a PG-13 film for widest possible appeal. And as the first superhero movie of the year, “Hellboy” should find a ready audience of younger males just as “Daredevil” did when it bowed to $40.3 million in February 2003.
“Hellboy,” though, faces a very crowded field — it’s one of four new releases hitting multiplexes this weekend — so most observers are pegging it to bow around the $20 million mark, though a few said they would not be surprised if it debuts even higher.
“Hellboy” will be duking it out with MGM’s “Walking Tall” for the action-seeking, young male crowd. A remake of the 1973 revenge tale that starred Joe Don Baker as justice-seeking Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser, the new version stars Dwayne”The Rock” Johnson as a former member of the U.S. Special Forces and relocates the action to Washington state. Kevin Bray (“All About the Benjamins”) directed the PG-13 feature.
The Rock’s most recent outing, last year’s “The Rundown,” opened to $18.5 million. But while “Walking Tall” also might attract some older males who remember the big-stick approach of the original, it will have to fend off “Hellboy,” and so the betting is that it will debut at the $15 million mark or slightly higher.
Meanwhile, there will be another face-off going on over the family audience. Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” which opened at No. 1 last weekend with $29.4 million, will remain a major factor. Even with a 40%-50% fall-off, it should bring in another $15 million-$18 million.
Trying to siphon away some of the family crowd is Walt Disney Pictures’ latest animated entry, the PG-rated “Home on the Range.” A 2-D toon directed by Will Finn and John Sanford, “Home” features a herd of cows trying to save the family farm, and sports a voice cast that includes Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, Jennifer Tilly, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Steve Buscemi.
“Home” is the weekend’s widest opening, but, given the presence of “Scooby,” its true strength is difficult to predict. The cautious betting is that it might not be strong enough to wrest the bragging rights for top family film away from “Scooby.”
The main option for teenage girls will be Paramount Pictures’ “The Prince & Me.” Directed by Martha Coolidge, who defined a generation of teenagers 20 years ago with “Valley Girl,” the PG-rated romantic comedy stars Julia Stiles as a college girl who falls in love with a fellow student (Luke Mably) who turns out to be a European prince. “Prince” is tracking in the $12 million range.
Newmarket Films’ “The Passion of the Christ,” which has continually confounded predictions, could do so once again. Entering Holy Week, the Mel Gibson-directed passion play has been experiencing 35%-40% declines in its five weeks in theaters. But the prospect of religiously inspired repeat moviegoing could give it an extra boost this weekend. It should easily pull in another $8 million, perhaps more, as it approaches the $330 million mark.
‘Hellboy’ Hath Fury at Box Office