Following the worst box office weekend in three years, Hollywood has nowhere to go but up. It hopes.

Four new pictures enter wide release on Friday led by the sports drama "Gridiron Gang" from Sony which is gunning for its tenth trip to the number one spot this year. Universal goes after an older crowd with the crime thriller "The Black Dahlia," Fox aims for kids with the animated film "Everyone’s Hero," and Paramount tries to court the adult date crowd with "The Last Kiss." Overall, the North American marketplace should bounce back from last weekend’s horrible showing, but only by a small margin.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hopes to score the fifth number one opening of his career this weekend with the football saga "Gridiron Gang." The PG-13 film finds the wrestler-turned-actor playing a juvenile camp officer who assembles a pigskin squad in order to give lost kids some hope in life. Sony is targeting one of the most reliable moviegoing segments with "Gang" – urban youth. With a young and multicultural cast, plus a star in the lead role, this new film hopes to appeal to the same crowd that made hits out of other sports flicks like "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter." Of course, the star this time is not an Oscar-caliber actor. "Gang’s" marketing push has been strong and an ultrawide release will make the product available everywhere.


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Gridiron Gang."

The Rock provides solid starpower, although his box office muscle in recent years has delivered openings in a very narrow range. Pics like "The Rundown," "Walking Tall," and "Doom" have all debuted within the $15-19M range. "Gridiron Gang’s" rating should open the doors to a wider audience and with the start of the NFL and college football seasons, the subject matter is very relevant at this time of year. Plus with a dead marketplace featuring choices that are exciting nobody, teens and young adults should find this one the only film worth rallying behind. Charging into 3,504 locations, "Gridiron Gang" will have no problem conquering the box office and could score around $17M this weekend.

Moviegoers opting for a trip back to the 1940s instead of a football pic can choose Brian De Palma‘s "The Black Dahlia" which Universal opens on Friday. The R-rated thriller stars Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as Los Angeles cops investigating the mysterious death of a young woman chopped in half and disemboweled. Scarlett Johansson and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank take the token female roles. Just as with "Hollywoodland" which bowed last weekend, "Dahlia" will play to an older adult audience interested in LA-based crime noir pics from the mid twentieth century. Unlike with the younger-skewing "Gridiron Gang," reviews will play a big part in the success or failure of "Dahlia." This one needs more support from critics than it’s getting in order to become a commercial winner. Starpower is certainly there, but the subject matter may not pique the interest of adults across all 50 states. Add in competition for the target audience plus an overall slowdown in moviegoing activity and it may be hard for the studio to break even on this one. "The Black Dahlia" enters 2,224 theaters and might collect around $9M this weekend.


Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart are on the case in "The Black Dahlia."

Following this summer’s "Superman Returns" and last week’s George Reeves mystery "Hollywoodland," the Man of Steel spotlight now turns to the late Christopher Reeve whose final project, the animated sports tale "Everyone’s Hero," makes its way into theaters on Friday. With voices provided by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and William H. Macy, the G-rated flick tells of a boy on a mission to retrieve Babe Ruth’s stolen bat. Reeve co-directed with Colin Brady and Dan St. Pierre. Fox will be looking to attract kids and Little League coach parents with "Hero." The film is not registering too high on the priority lists of children. But the studio does have one thing working in its favor – the current marketplace has nothing major for children. And don’t expect the other new releases to appeal to the family crowd either. Opening surprisingly wide in 2,896 theaters, "Everyone’s Hero" could score around $7M this weekend.


The animated Babe Ruth in Christopher Reeve’s "Everyone’s Hero."

TV stars Zach Braff of NBC’s "Scrubs" and Rachel Bilson of Fox’s "The O.C." join forces on the big screen in "The Last Kiss" which Paramount inherited from its DreamWorks tie-up. The R-rated remake of an Italian film about a man in the early stages of a mid-life crisis also stars Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, and Tom Wilkinson. The marketing push behind "Kiss" has been lacking so look for the romantic dramedy to become a small blip on the box office radar this weekend. Adult women will make up the primary audience making period pics "Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland" direct competitors. Consumer excitement is pretty low for "The Last Kiss" which heads into only 1,100 theaters. A weekend gross of roughly $4M could result.


Zach Braff and that chick from "The Real World" in "The Last Kiss."

The new fall season brings a flood of activity in limited-release action. Balcony Releasing got the frame started on Wednesday with its New York opening of the political doc "Al Franken: God Spoke" which adds a second Manhattan venue on Friday. The raunchy softball comedy "Artie Lange’s Beer League" opens on Friday in about 175 theaters. With Ralph Macchio in the cast, the R-rated Echo Bridge release should find itself stuck in six-digit territory. Yari Film Group unleashes the Cayman Islands-set drama "Haven," which stars Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton, into 24 theaters across the country.

The mockumentary wedding comedy "Confetti" bows in a dozen sites from Fox Searchlight. American troops in Iraq are the focus of the Focus Features documentary "The Ground Truth" which attacks eight theaters. Lionsgate offers up its own non-fiction flick "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" in six playdates examining the Beatles icon’s rage against the establishment.

Sony’s ninth number one of the year "The Covenant" looks to get booted out of the top spot by the studio’s tenth chart-topper. A 50% drop would give the teen thriller about $4.5M for the frame and a modest ten-day cume of $15M. "Hollywoodland" lacked strength in its debut and will now face a direct hit from "Dahlia" so a 45% decline could be in order. That would give Focus around $3.5M over the weekend putting the total at a weak $11M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Reese Witherspoon captured the number one spot with her latest comedy "Just Like Heaven" which grossed $16.4M on its way to $48.3M for DreamWorks. Sony’s surprise suspense hit "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" lost half its business and dropped to second with $14.9M in its sophomore frame. Nicolas Cage bowed in third with his new actioner "Lord of War" with $9.4M. The Lions Gate release reached $24.1M. Steve Carell enjoyed his fifth week in the top five with "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" which laughed up $6M. The horror pic "Cry Wolf" bowed poorly in fifth with only $4.4M leading to a $10M finish.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

AMC dragons Image Comics sports Toys halloween tv RT History witnail gangster young adult social media dexter Cartoon Network Travel Channel canceled vs. YouTube Premium Nominations Wes Anderson The Walking Dead Quiz National Geographic Cosplay indiana jones Universal Pictures TCM romance nfl true crime marvel cinematic universe Paramount Network directors ABC Family Amazon Studios blockbusters IFC Films Year in Review PBS BET Awards Opinion laika Comics on TV Amazon deadpool Action legend Election Disney book Legendary prank crime drama A24 Creative Arts Emmys blockbuster Superheroes Biopics dogs 2017 king arthur Fall TV Academy Awards technology Horror new zealand elevated horror ABC Signature crime universal monsters worst ITV Premiere Dates batman Adult Swim Awards Tour Britbox Tarantino revenge Brie Larson best TNT Calendar Esquire Amazon Prime doctor who Winners Pet Sematary royal family Sundance Now werewolf Trivia Rocky rt labs renewed TV shows Acorn TV History king kong name the review Comedy Central Fantasy dc archives breaking bad Marvel Television Pride Month Broadway kaiju finale slashers Shondaland Anna Paquin halloween Mary poppins popular hispanic heritage month HBO Super Bowl Photos screenings green book TV movies Baby Yoda GIFs football die hard toronto Tubi mcc YouTube Red franchise The CW See It Skip It DGA singing competition rom-coms Turner a nightmare on elm street free movies hollywood adventure Set visit vampires TV Land Disney streaming service dreamworks Nickelodeon children's TV OWN zombie jamie lee curtis Valentine's Day Paramount strong female leads australia American Society of Cinematographers A&E 2020 YA BBC Sundance Certified Fresh documentaries HBO Max Stephen King Superheroe Television Critics Association facebook 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards obituary TV renewals Turner Classic Movies Video Games Tokyo Olympics Hear Us Out Lifetime Christmas movies razzies Endgame Netflix FX on Hulu suspense superman 20th Century Fox mission: impossible independent scary leaderboard spanish FOX Sundance TV marvel comics feel good Trophy Talk diversity historical drama Sci-Fi comic book movie 79th Golden Globes Awards 72 Emmy Awards video on demand politics Funimation child's play rt archives posters New York Comic Con Rocketman live action teaser cancelled television Song of Ice and Fire series telelvision spinoff Vudu RT21 TV One TLC satire crime thriller indie 99% Family reviews Disney+ Disney Plus trailers OneApp adaptation Lifetime DirecTV USA Network Lucasfilm black comedy nature Netflix Christmas movies BBC America E! FX 71st Emmy Awards 21st Century Fox critics zombies mob Watching Series Black Mirror BET Exclusive Video Marvel adenture 2019 Shudder reboot wonder woman medical drama ID rotten kids Country TIFF SDCC all-time Masterpiece DC Universe Binge Guide Arrowverse Ghostbusters james bond Countdown foreign Alien streaming Epix Starz Music YouTube Mystery docudrama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 007 ratings new york christmas movies Tags: Comedy CMT Best and Worst casting composers south america docuseries space scary movies LGBTQ slasher golden globes Avengers venice Hollywood Foreign Press Association Film Pixar screen actors guild spain NBC The Academy Christmas USA french stand-up comedy ABC remakes President Martial Arts Heroines TCA 2017 IMDb TV 1990s period drama Pirates justice league rotten movies we love streaming movies Box Office Comic-Con@Home 2021 golden globe awards high school new star wars movies GLAAD sopranos thriller asian-american Star Trek discovery Rom-Com Lionsgate sequel Mary Tyler Moore chucky spanish language Fox Searchlight Mary Poppins Returns Musicals action-comedy olympics Showtime latino tv talk biopic comic book movies BAFTA movies Women's History Month Elton John mockumentary Prime Video police drama Winter TV festival Animation stoner Holiday video television game of thrones Freeform quibi Walt Disney Pictures Western FXX blaxploitation based on movie Extras pirates of the caribbean Reality Amazon Prime Video Disney Channel toy story what to watch Tomatazos VICE animated supernatural 93rd Oscars hist TV VH1 Universal TCA CNN HFPA Emmys MSNBC cats parents Mudbound spider-man Podcast critic resources LGBT Reality Competition The Arrangement nbcuniversal Neflix AMC Plus genre target art house Crackle IFC GoT basketball Emmy Nominations Hulu comic dceu Chilling Adventures of Sabrina scene in color women 2016 24 frames Peacock Pacific Islander black emmy awards japan dramedy 90s MTV japanese science fiction robots binge NBA cops comedies comic books Oscars harry potter fast and furious Writers Guild of America Apple TV Plus dark saw anime cancelled TV shows ghosts news TCA Awards Dark Horse Comics Infographic films movie Schedule canceled TV shows criterion Musical book adaptation debate Bravo Sony Pictures hidden camera Star Wars Teen transformers war cartoon Syfy jurassic park APB biography Nat Geo Captain marvel Chernobyl CBS All Access sitcom game show italian Ellie Kemper San Diego Comic-Con Marathons cancelled TV series Mindy Kaling E3 aliens unscripted X-Men HBO Go Trailer kong 45 Pop boxoffice know your critic stop motion CW Seed lord of the rings TCA Winter 2020 cancelled Sneak Peek DC Comics Ovation comics serial killer cults spider-verse Black History Month joker PaleyFest versus natural history NYCC Character Guide Marvel Studios Polls and Games festivals award winner Awards The Purge Summer 4/20 documentary comiccon classics First Reviews Classic Film political drama romantic comedy Thanksgiving The Witch cooking PlayStation Discovery Channel Instagram Live Apple CBS Pop TV BBC One Red Carpet DC streaming service Fargo cinemax international anthology Columbia Pictures SXSW 2015 Spectrum Originals ViacomCBS sequels talk show crossover cars psychological thriller boxing Television Academy psycho Cannes Rock WarnerMedia scorecard live event travel concert rt labs critics edition godzilla monster movies 2021 Comedy ESPN El Rey Hallmark Christmas movies Spring TV Kids & Family zero dark thirty SundanceTV Crunchyroll Apple TV+ Hallmark TruTV sag awards Tumblr hispanic 73rd Emmy Awards Spike heist movie Comic Book Interview twilight disaster Warner Bros. MCU VOD Film Festival TBS Logo Drama miniseries mutant theme song WGN 2018 richard e. Grant aapi Food Network Fox News Grammys fresh Holidays trophy The Walt Disney Company worst movies superhero Disney Plus Paramount Plus First Look spy thriller