Friday, June 6, 2014

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (period)

The domestic box office will host a battle of the genres this weekend, as teen romance The Fault in Our Stars squares off against action flick Edge of Tomorrow.  Each combatant boasts an appealing cast – Shailene Woodley and sure-to-be heartthrob Ansel Elgort headline Stars; Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt top Tomorrow – and solid reviews, with the films hovering between 80 and 90 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Each is also based on a popular novel. However, and most importantly, fans of Tomorrow’s source material All You Need is Kill are nowhere near as numerous as those that have amassed behind TFIOS the book. The latter have made the trailer for Stars the most liked preview ever on YouTube. The hectic publicity tour undertaken with these fans in mind appears to have been a success, due in no small part to the presence of author John Green, who, it’s reasonable to suppose, given his Internet popularity, was the main draw.

All told, it seems a foregone conclusion The Fault in Our Stars will earn the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office. Fox is predicting a modest $25 million, but most pundits believe the film’s draw will be much higher. Fandango has said pre-sales for Stars are the highest they've ever seen for a non-franchise (i.e. Twilight) romance. The last movie to hold this distinction, The Vow, opened to $41.2 million. It’s very likely Stars does similar or even better business, potentially  giving Woodley’s hit film Divergent (which bowed to $54.6 million) a run for its opening-weekend money.

That would leave Edge of Tomorrow to open at No. 2, and last week’s success story, Maleficent, to clock in at No. 3. Although Tomorrow has won over the critics, Tom Cruise is not the b.o. draw he used to be. Tomorrow may be a likable return to form for the actor, but given the film's seemingly many similarities to Cruise’s last movie, Oblivion, audiences might not care enough to purchase tickets. Still, an opening of $30 million wouldn’t be terrible. Expect Maleficent to do similar business.

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