I’m told that not only is Pixar/Disney internally hoping for a $70+ million dollar opening for Wall-E, but also a Best Picture Oscar nomination for the L’il Robot. It’s possible with 100% great reviews from top critics and even rival studios bigwigs gushing about the pic: “I saw it on Wednesday and it’s just adorable and smart and interesting. It has more character development and emotion than any movie I’ve seen this year.” My box office gurus are projecting a $65M to $70M opening, and maybe more from 3,992 theaters. Clearly it’ll be another giant box office since Universal’s Angelina Jolie / James McAvoy starrer Wanted now looks like an all-round date movie instead of just a guyfest.
Universal is hoping for at least $35M and maybe even $40M from 3,175 venues for Wanted‘s Fri/Sat/Sun total. My box office gurus are projecting $40M to $42M. “In terms of comps, that would be an extraordinary result for an R-rated summer action movie,” a source tells me. “So anything above $35M is absolutely a franchise.” The appeal for well-reviewed Wanted is a surprise: women want to see it as almost as much as men, young and old are coming in nearly even, and relative newcomer McAvoy is almost as much of a draw for the film as veteran Jolie.
Wall-E and Wanted will compete for older females. But it won’t matter. “All the Wall-E reviews have been extraordinary. And Pixar is a brand that has earned the complete and total trust of the public,” a rival marketing czar gushed. “But we have seen over and over and over again that films with different ratings and different genres can happily coexist at the box office — Alvin And The Chipmunks and I Am Legend, American Gangster and Bee Movie.” One wrinkle in Wall-E‘s marketing was that the 1 hour, 37 minute pic has no dialogue for the first 40 or so minutes. “It’s a bitch when the characters don’t talk. Finding funny things for the TV ads is way hard.”
Looking ahead to Fourth Of July weekend, my box office gurus think Sony’s Hancock will be massive. They’re predicting a floor of $100M all the way up to $115M over the 5-day holiday since Will Smith owns that holiday weekend.