This weekend will see the good, the bad, and the ugly at the box office. My gurus have revised upwards their initial projections for New Line Cinema’s Rush Hour 3. They say this action buddy comedy, directed by Brett Ratner and starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, should finish in the mid $50s million “at least” from its wide distribution of 3,778 theaters. 1998’s original opened to $33 mil from 2,638 runs and went on to make $141.1 mil domestic and $244.3 mil worldwide. 2001’s sequel debuted to $67.4 mil and took in $226.1 mil domestic and $347.3 mil worldwide. The question is whether RH3 even with more theaters and clostlier ticket prices can outdo RH2. But the problem for the studio is that the pic went wildly overbudget and overpaid sidekick Tucker to set a new Hollywood salary high. But at least this latest in the franchise had a decent trailer.
That wasn’t the case with this weekend’s Stardust, whose trailers starring Claire Danes, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sienna Miller have to be among the worst I’ve ever seen. (They remind me of the promos for that huge Terry Gilliam bomb, The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, though Stardust‘s producers prefer to compare their pic to Princess Bride on steroids.) Then again, I’m told that months and months ago Paramount’s Gerry Rich warned the filmmakers that this adventure romance fantasy pic was impossible to market. Budgeted without marketing costs at $70 million (which sounds way low to me because of all the f/x), only 1/2 is Paramount’s investment. But director Matthew Vaughn’s film unsurprisingly has been tracking horribly. My box office analysts expect only a $15 million weekend from 2,540 venues. Though it’ll do no biz domestically, Paramount is still “very bullish” on the pic’s chances overseas because of the international cast.
RIP Daddy Day Camp, yet another Joe Roth/Revolution bomb that Sony is contractually obligated to market and distribute. After its stillborn opening Wednesday, the Cuba Gooding Jr pic will officially die this weekend in its 2,332 runs. Sad how some in Hollywood will do anything for a paycheck.
On the subject of next weekend’s tracking, I looked back at what I wrote on May 1st about the prospects for August 17th: “Savvy box-office gurus are calling Sony’s small Superbad, produced by the aforementioned Judd Apatow, the late-summer sleeper; I’m told it lives up to the hype. This is a slam dunk with the 18-to-25 demo: It’s like a raunchier, funnier American Pie. And, after months of bloated blockbusters, it’ll be what people are in the mood for.” But awareness on the pic is still not what the studio hoped for. Still, my box office analysts expect low-budget Superbad to make between the high teens to $20 million from 2,800 theaters.
Also on August 17th, Warner’s Invasion is tracking lousy. My experts expect only a low teens opening in 2,700+ runs.