News

Forecast: Sandler, Gods Challenge 'Puss'

by Ray Subers
Jack and Jill
 

 
November 10, 2011

Adam Sandler's box office draw is set to be tested this weekend when he squares off against Leonardo DiCaprio and a handful of Greek gods. Jack and Jill, which will open on roughly 4,700 screens at 3,438 locations, should manage to win the weekend, though it looks like it will fall on the low end of Sandler debuts. Fantasy epic Immortals will wage war on roughly 5,000 screens at 3,112 theaters, with 70 percent of theaters offering the movie in 3D. And, after a mid-week limited debut, Clint Eastwood's historical drama J. Edgar hits around 2,400 screens at 1,910 locations. Also in competition for the top spot this weekend is two-time champ Puss in Boots, which looks poised for another fairly light decline.

Jack and Jill is Adam Sandler's fifth collaboration with director Dennis Dugan in the past four-and-a-half years, and second this year following Just Go With It. They have been perhaps the most consistent director-star team working right now—all four of their recent movies have opened at over $30 million and closed north of $100 million.

That may be a stretch for Jack and Jill, though. While Sandler's brand of humor has never been classified as subtle, the over-the-top nature of Jack and Jill, which finds Sandler playing twins Jack and Jill, appears to push the boundaries of what audiences will tolerate (the trailers and commercials have frequently been described as reminiscent of the parody movies featured in Tropic Thunder or even Sandler's Funny People). It's also off-season for Sandler comedies, which tend to be most successful in the Summer. All of this should conspire to deliver an opening below the Sandler-Dugan standard.

Immortals is being touted as from the producers of 300, and it appears to share many of the same aesthetic choices as the $210.6 million blockbuster. 300 had a clearer premise, though (300 Spartans against a massive Persian army), and also had the backing of perpetual hit-maker Warner Bros. Pictures, which also pushed similar movie Clash of the Titans to $163.2 million last year. Immortals on the other hand comes from upstart distributor Relativity Media, whose biggest opening thus far was Limitless's $18.9 million.

Immortals has likely received Relativity's biggest marketing effort yet, which should help it get close to Limitless numbers. Still, it's worth noting that the best opening this year from an R-rated 3D movie came from Final Destination 5 ($18 million), and the best one without the backing of an established franchise was Sanctum with just $9.5 million. Relativity is hoping for an opening between $25 and $26 million, and it's also releasing the movie day-and-date through much of the world including China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Italy and South Korea.

After debuting to a solid $52,645 at seven theaters on Wednesday, J. Edgar expands nationwide on Friday. While Clint Eastwood is a legendary name, his recent movies have struggled when he isn't in front of the camera. In fact, out of the last five movies he's directed but not starred in, Invictus is tops with a middling $37.5 million. J. Edgar should get a bit of a boost from the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, though even Leo has occasionally struggled to open movies (2008's Body of Lies was more of a mainstream thriller, and had Russell Crowe, and still only debuted to $12.9 million).

The most comparable movie to J. Edgar in subject matter is probably The Good Shepherd, which was a fictionalized look at the founding of the CIA (J. Edgar is at least in part about the founding of the FBI). That movie opened to $9.9 million on the weekend before Christmas 2006 and ended up just shy of $60 million. While that total figure is a stretch for J. Edgar, it should initially open higher thanks to its pedigree and release date.

Weekend Forecast (Nov. 11-13)
1. Jack and Jill - $25.5 million
2. Puss in Boots - $22.1 million (-33%)
3. Immortals - $20.5 million
4. Tower Heist - $14 million (-42%)
5. J. Edgar - $11.5 million

Bar for Success
Jack and Jill needs to get close to the $30 million the last four Sandler-Dugan collaborations have opened to, while Immortals should get a pass at over $20 million. With DiCaprio's starpower, J. Edgar ought to improve on Clint Eastwood's recent openings, including Hereafter's $12 million last Fall.

Comps for:
'Immortals'
'J. Edgar'
'Jack and Jill'



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