We're into the second week of post-Thanksgiving coasting. The release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey next Friday has had something of a chilling effect. Any studio that wants a movie to play strongly for a couple of weeks in a row opted out of this weekend. The only new wide release is Playing for Keeps (2,837 theatres). Currently tracking at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes,
things do not look good for the Gerard Butler-led romantic comedy. It's more of the same-old, the story of a retired pro soccer player who coaches his son's team, gets with all the soccer moms, and then pursues his ex-wife. FilmDistrict may hope the movie will approach $10 million, but somewhere in the $5 million range will be more likely.
Seeing a gap in the marketplace, Open Road will re-expand the release of End of Watch, which received good reviews when it first opened eleven weekends ago. While playing in 1,249 locations, it should rack up at least a million and cross the $40 million mark.
The top five films will all be close together, with receipts right in the $10 million range. Skyfall has been playing ahead of Lincoln in the weekday box offices, so there's a good chance it will maintain its lead through the weekend. Rise of the Guardians may lift a bit to approach the two leading films thanks to families attending weekend matinees. Life of Pi will also be in the mix and settle somewhere in the $10 million range. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 2 will likely finally give up its lead as its steep week-to-week drops bring it below Skyfall and Lincoln, which
have descended on a slower slope.
One notable specialty release will join the awards-seeking fray, Hyde Park on Hudson, which will open in four locations. The story of the relationship between FDR (Bill Murray) and his cousin (Laura Linney) "feels creepy instead of
romantic," notes critic Daniel Eagan. "As portrayed by Linney, she's a naive, poverty-stricken
girl seduced into an affair with an abusive, serial philanderer." This is the second film to feature an actor playing King Edward, who stuttered, and The King's Speech is many times better. This is one audiences can skip in favor of the many far better similar options out there right now, including Silver Linings Playbook (better romance, better comedy), Lincoln (better historical picture), and The Sessions (better relationship between two people where one is disabled).
On Monday, we'll see which of the returning releases had the most steam, if Playing for Keeps managed to score with audiences at all, and if End of Watch's expansion strategy worked.