April Preview (Part 2): 'The Lucky One,' 'The Five-Year Engagement,' 'The Pirates!' & More

by Ray Subers
The Five-Year Engagement

April 11, 2012

While the end of April 2011 did deliver a blockbuster with Fast Five, the time period traditionally serves as an opportunity to clear out some modest movies ahead of the beginning of Summer. Since late April 2012's most ambitious movies are a Nicolas Sparks adaptation, a Judd Apatow production and an Aardman Animation flick, it seems like late April 2012 fits more in the traditional model.

April 20 - Zac Efron Vs. Steve Harvey Vs. Chimps

On paper, at least, The Lucky One seems to have the most going for it among the three movies opening nationwide on April 20. Similar to Dear John, it's a Nicolas Sparks romance that has a hunky young guy spend at least some time in the military. Dear John opened to $30.5 million in February 2010 on its way to over $80 million. The Lucky One probably won't reach either of those numbers—Zac Efron is no Channing Tatum (his last romantic movie, Charlie St. Cloud, disappointed with $31.2 million), and an April debut isn't quite as prime as an early February one. Still, the movie has been heavily marketed and should be a popular choice for women, and an opening around $20 million wouldn't be surprising.

Think Like a Man could wind up being a surprise this weekend, though. It's been a long time since there's been an ensemble comedy with a predominantly African-American cast that didn't involve Tyler Perry, and the Steve Harvey book that the movie is based on is very popular. A good standard for Think Like a Man is April 2010's Death at a Funeral, which was also from Sony's Screen Gems label. That movie debuted to $16.2 million on its way to $42.7 million, which is probably what Sony is shooting for with Think Like a Man.

Chimpanzee will be the fourth documentary that Disneynature has released to coincide with Earth Day (April 22). As these movies tackle more specific topics, their grosses have steadily decreased—Earth scored $32 million in 2009, then Oceans earned $19.4 million in 2010, and finally African Cats grossed $15.4 million in 2011. Based on this pattern, there's really no reason to expect Chimpanzee to perform much better than Oceans or African Cats.

April 27 - Clear the Way for 'The Avengers'

The final weekend in April features four new nationwide releases, though none are likely to make a whole lot of money. The movie with the best shot is wedding comedy The Five-Year Engagement, which reunites Forgetting Sarah Marshall writer/director Nick Stoller and writer/star Jason Segel while adding in Emily Blunt. Sarah Marshall opened to $17.7 million and closed at $63.2 million, and there's a chance The Five-Year Engagement could top that movie. The main reason for this is that it's basically being positioned as a sequel to Bridesmaids: both movies are about preparing for a wedding and are produced by Judd Apatow, and all promotional materials use an identical pink/white/black color scheme. There's no way The Five-Year Engagement matches Bridesmaids's $169.1 million total, but the movie should still benefit from the connection.

Another potential moderate earner is Aardman Animation's The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Aardman's past Claymation titles, Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, opened to $17.5 million and $16 million, though Chicken Run held much stronger in the long run. Pirates aren't at their peak in popularity, and neither is Claymation (this movie would have been better off if it opened five years ago), though it should benefit from a May release schedule that is devoid of anything targeted towards families with younger children.

The other two nationwide releases are directly targeting male audiences, which is probably not the best idea a weekend ahead of The Avengers. Safe is the latest Jason Statham action vehicle, and his track-record is pretty consistent. Last year's Killer Elite and The Mechanic wound up with $25.1 million and $29.1 million, respectively, and that's an appropriate target range for Safe as well.

The Raven is the real wild-card this weekend. It's getting a noteworthy marketing push, and has the advantage of being from the director of V for Vendetta. Unfortunately, it's already tanked in the U.K. (less than $1 million total), which seems to indicate that the gothic murder investigation isn't all that interesting to audiences (tastes are pretty similar between the U.S. and U.K.). The best case scenario is an opening weekend around $15 million (From Hell's opening, adjusted for inflation), but that looks like wishful thinking.

Related Stories
• April Preview (Part 1)
• March 2012 Easily Sets Record
• 'The Vow,' 'Safe House' Lead Record-Breaking February
• January 2012 Improves on Atrocious Start to 2011
• 2012 Preview
• Franchises to Rule Again in 2012
• Mixed Bag for 2011 Sequels
• November Box Office Down Slightly
• Box Office Slows in October
• 'Lion King' Leads Record-Breaking September
• August Box Office Rises and Falls
• July Breaks Box Office Record
• June Sees Box Office Dip
• May Posts Record Gross
• April Sees Box Office Rebound

Related Charts
• March 2012 Release Schedule
• 2012 Grosses (2012-only releases)
• Year-to-Date Comparison

9/23 'House With a Clock In Its Walls' Debuts with $26.8M While Fellow New Releases Stumble
9/20 'House With A Clock In Its Walls' Looks to Top Soft Weekend
9/16 'The Predator' is #1 With Soft $24M, While 'Meg', 'Hotel Transylvania 3' & 'M:I 6' Hit Milestones
9/13 'The Predator' Targets Weekend #1; 'Simple Favor', 'White Boy Rick' & 'Unbroken' Also Debut
9/11 Summer 2018 Delivers $4.38 Billion in Domestic Grosses, Keeping Year on Record Pace
9/9 'The Nun' Delivers 'Conjuring' Franchise Record, $131 Million Global Debut
> MORE: News | Features
WEEKEND: Weekend Estimates, 'House with a Clock in Its Walls' #1
DAILY: Friday Estimates, 'House with a Clock in Its Walls' #1
DAILY: Thursday 9/20 (56 tracked)
WEEKLY: 'The Predator' Tops the Week with $31.7m
DAILY: Wednesday, 9/19 (40 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 9/18 (41 tracked)
New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 9/17 (40 tracked)