It’s a box office battle royale at the multiplexes this weekend as two guys in penguin suits fight over the number one spot with their new releases.

Warner Bros. offers the animated kids movie "Happy Feet" while Sony counters with the latest James Bond adventure "Casino Royale." Each has a legitimate shot at reaching number one and will play to different audiences. Meanwhile, two-time chart-topper "Borat" plans to stick around and cause trouble (and collect more lawsuits) despite the arrival of two new heavy hitters.

Yet another computer-animated film featuring talking animals hits the big screen this weekend in the form of "Happy Feet" which tells the story of Mumble, a young penguin who can’t sing like all his other classmates can, but can dance up a storm with his toe-tapping skills. The PG-rated film features the voices of Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and Brittany Murphy and is directed by George Miller ("Babe"). Warner Bros. will offer dozens of Imax runs simultaneously with the standard launch of the film which will give the grosses a nice little boost.


The penguins return in animated form in "Happy Feet."

The weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday frame has always been a potent one for films that play to kids. Although "Happy Feet" has a story that wanders from one genre to the next, its dazzling digital animation should please audiences. Plus, Williams is in top form voicing two different characters who together provide about 95% of the film’s comedy. Last year, the Oscar-winning actor lent his pipes to Fox’s "Robots" which opened with $36M thanks to the star wattage he brings to a big toon vehicle. "Feet" should be able to debut above that mark.

The marketing push behind "Happy" has been colossal as the studio is hoping for big things from its little penguin. Kids and moms have been bombarded with promotion everywhere they go and awareness with that key demo is sky high. But crossover potential to teens and young adults in questionable. This is not like "The Incredibles" or "Shrek" where every teenager is pumped up and ready to buy tickets. There is also solid competition for the family audience in the current marketplace as "The Santa Clause 3" and "Flushed Away" are set to collect $20M or more worth of ticket sales from the exact same crowd this weekend. But penguin power could edge out Bond’s guns as "Happy Feet" will have around 400 more theaters, a shorter running time, and more starpower. Opening in 3,804 theaters, the animated film might take in about $40M this weekend.

Sony and MGM try to restart one of the most successful film franchises in history with "Casino Royale," the latest James Bond action-adventure tale. Daniel Craig replaces the wildly popular Pierce Brosnan in the role of Agent 007 in the first new installment in the series in four years. Martin Campbell, who directed the former Remington Steele in his first Bond pic "Goldeneye," gets another chance to break in a rookie into one of the industry’s most iconic roles. In the U.S., Craig is practically an unknown actor and with no famous co-stars, "Casino Royale" cannot rely upon starpower to drive in audiences. Instead, it will look to the marquee value of the franchise as well as to reviews from critics which so far have been glowing and even better than what the studio could have hoped for. Many find Craig to be the best Bond ever.


New Bond, same wardrobe in "Casino Royale."

Each of Brosnan’s first three Bond films had the secret agent’s famous digits branded into its opening weekend gross figure. "Goldeneye" opened to $26,205,007 on this same weekend in 1995, "Tomorrow Never Dies" premiered to $25,143,007 in December 1997 when it faced the launch of "Titanic," and "The World is Not Enough" launched with $35,519,007 when the franchise returned to the weekend before Thanksgiving in 1999. No telling if Sony will follow suit with "Casino" and insert Bond’s trademark number into the final opening weekend tally. 2002’s "Die Another Day," the last film in the series, raised the bar even higher debuting to $47.1M on its way to a $160.9M domestic take and $415M worldwide haul.

"Casino Royale" is not likely to reach that bar in its first weekend. With Brosnan gone and many fans not sure yet if they want to try out this new blondie, the debut frame could suffer a bit. Action fans had a routine of going to see a Brosnan Bond film every couple of winters, plus the addition of Halle Berry, who was red hot from her Oscar win that year, boosted the film’s star quotient. "Royale" could have greatly benefited by casting at least one big star to help keep its hold on its fan base. Nevertheless, with no other action movies in the marketplace, "Casino" has almost no direct competition. And its Texas Hold ‘Em storyline could appeal to young men addicted to poker.

But the box office world has changed much since "Die Another Day." Nowadays, action movies that rely on stunts instead of special effects often struggle to attract audiences. Competing globe-trotting spy flick "Mission: Impossible III," which appeals to much the same audience, bowed to an underwhelming $47.7M last May while playing in over 4,000 theaters against no competition. Sure, the Tom Cruise backlash may have contributed. But today’s audiences get plenty of high-quality action for free on network television and want a lot more bang for the buck if they’re expected to pay top dollar at the multiplexes. Also impacting "Casino’s" potential is its long running time which clocks in at nearly two and a half hours. That’s a good 45 minutes longer than "Happy Feet" meaning each screen can accommodate one extra penguin showing per day.

Sony has backed its latest blockbuster with a sizable marketing push. Strong word-of-mouth could allow it to hang on in the long term. But early skepticism may lead many adult moviegoers to a wait-and-see approach as they figure out whether this Bond is worth it. Diving into 3,434 theaters, "Casino Royale" might gross about $38M for the weekend. With recent Bond flicks making 60-70% of their loot from outside of North America, international prospects look sensational over the coming weeks.

Universal quietly tosses the R-rated comedy "Let’s Go To Prison" into the marketplace on Friday hoping to tap into young men in search of bold humor. Directed by Bob Odenkirk, the jailhouse laugher boasts a cast fit for a straight-to-DVD release – Dax Shephard, Will Arnett, and Chi McBride. In this revenge comedy, a felon makes life hell for the son of the judge who sentenced him to the slammer. The marketing push has not been very strong and with "Borat" stealing away the same audience, it will be an uphill battle to find paying customers. Opening in 1,495 cells, "Let’s Go To Prison" might lock down only $5M over the weekend.


"Let’s Go to Prison" for some reason was not screened for the press.

Confusing audiences in nearly 500 theaters across the country this weekend will be "After Dark Horrorfest – 8 Films to Die For." For one weekend only, this collection of B-grade fright flicks will play in theaters with moviegoers having the choice of which films they want to see. These include such titles as "The Gravedancers," Takashi Shimizu‘s "Reincarnation," and "Wicked Little Things" plus a special Sunday night presentation of "Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror" as the ninth creepy tale. To generate interest, After Dark is promoting this as a special event for horror fans featuring films that they were not supposed to see. To fill the dead space on screen between Sunday and Wednesday when many new Thanksgiving weekend films open, theaters will get to run "encore presentations of audience favorites."

In limited release, more potential candidates for awards season make their way into theaters. Fox Searchlight unleashes Richard Linklater‘s newest creation "Fast Food Nation" in 321 theaters across the major markets. The R-rated ensemble pic stars Greg Kinnear, Wilmer Valderrama, Ethan Hawke, and Patricia Arquette in an expose of the American junk food biz.


The stars of "Fast Food Nation."

MGM and The Weinstein Co. go back to June 5, 1968 with the political drama "Bobby" examining the lives of those inside the Ambassador Hotel on the day Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Another large cast takes to the screen including Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Fishburne, Elijah Wood, Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone, Helen Hunt, Demi Moore, William H. Macy, Heather Graham, Ashton Kutcher, Martin Sheen, and son Emilio Estevez who also serves as writer/director. "Bobby" platforms in solo engagements in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and expands nationally next Wednesday.


Emilio Estevez directs and stars in "Bobby."

Packing films with stars seems to be the way to go as showcased again by the film industry comedy "For Your Consideration" from writer/director Christopher Guest ("Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind"). Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Ricky Gervais, and Fred Willard team up for a story about the wackiness that results when a small indie film attracts Oscar buzz for its cast members. Warner Independent Pictures will debut "Consideration" on Friday in ten U.S. markets plus three Canadian cities before expanding next Wednesday into major cities across North America.


More Christopher Guest satire in "For Your Consideration."

After stumbling into the number one spot two weeks ago, "Borat" will have to settle for being bumped a couple of spots this time thanks to the frame’s two new heavyweights. "Casino Royale" will provide some competition but "Happy Feet" should have no effect on the raunchy comedy’s war of terror on the nation’s multiplexes. Midweek business is still very strong so a 35% drop to about $18M could occur. That would give "Borat" a hefty $94M in 17 days and could possibly allow it to crack the $100M mark by Turkey Day.

Disney’s "The Santa Clause 3" and Paramount’s "Flushed Away" have been chart buddies for two weeks now, but the pair of kidpics might have a chance to swap positions this weekend. Both will take direct hits thanks to the arrival of the new penguin pic, but "Flushed" seems to be holding up a bit better. This weekend, we may see it drop 35% to $11M raising its total to $53M. "Santa," meanwhile, may fall 40% to around $10M for a $53M cume as well.

Will Ferrell saw a respectable showing for his new comedy "Stranger Than Fiction," but most of that crowd will be opting for Sony’s other offering this weekend – James Bond. A 45% drop might occur giving the flick $7.5M over the sophomore session and a ten-day tally of $24M.

LAST YEAR: Warner Bros. destroyed the competition with the latest installment of its enduring franchise – "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." The fourth wizard flick bowed to a jaw-dropping $102.3M making it the fourth-biggest opening weekend in history, at the time. "Goblet" was a big winner grossing $290M domestically and a towering $892M worldwide making it the second highest grossing "Potter" pic. Debuting far back in second place, but with solid results of its own, was Fox’s Johnny Cash drama "Walk the Line" with $22.3M. The Joaquin PhoenixReese Witherspoon film went on to capture $119.5M plus an Oscar for Reese. Rounding out the top five were Disney’s "Chicken Little" with $14.7M, The Weinstein Company’s "Derailed" with $6.5M, and Sony’s "Zathura" with $5.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

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