Box Office Preview: Bruce Willis' 'Die Hard 5' Eyeing Big Holiday Win

1:00 PM PST 02/13/2013 by Pamela McClintock
Frank Masi, SMPSP

UPDATED: The action pic opens on Valentine’s Day opposite female-fueled “Safe Haven” and “Beautiful Creatures”; animated pic "Escape From Planet Earth" debuts Friday as the long Presidents Day weekend gets underway.

The combination of Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend has Hollywood swooning as four new films enter the marketplace, hoping to entice action fans, sweethearts and families.

If prerelease tracking is any indication, the big winner looks to be Bruce Willis starrer A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth installment in the classic franchise that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Directed by John Moore and co-starring Jai Courtney, the 20th Century Fox film should gross $40 million-plus for the Thursday-Monday stretch.

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Romantic drama Safe Haven, the latest film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, and romantic fantasy Beautiful Creatures are both tracking to post a five-day opening in the $20 million to $25 million range as they compete for female attention.

The trio of films open Thursday, hoping to lure couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. Animated pic Escape From Planet Earth enters the fray on Friday as the long Presidents Day weekend gets underway, and is tracking to post a four-day opening of $18 million. (On Valentine’s Day itself, Safe Haven could give Die Hard a run for its money.)

It’s no longer unusual for three or four films to open in this same corridor; the combo of the two holidays can pack a one-two punch.

Die Hard is tracking well among males of all ages -- and among older females, potentially meaning more trouble for Alcon Entertainment’s Beautiful Creatures and Relativity’s Safe Haven.

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In this outing, the iconic action hero John McClane travels to Moscow to rescue his son (Jai Courtney), a CIA operative played who's in some nasty trouble.

The four previous Die Hard movies grossed $1.13 billion at the worldwide box office, and fans don’t show signs of being fatigued, even though recent R-rated action pics with veteran stars -- Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand and Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head -- bombed.

Live Free or Die Hard, the PG-13-rated previous installment, grossed a franchise-best $383.5 million globally in 2007.

Safe Haven is directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Julianne Hough as a young woman who returns to her hometown only to gripped by a dark secret from her past, even as she falls for a stranger (Josh Duhamel).

Directed and scripted by Richard LaGravenese, Beautiful Creatures is the latest film property to be based on a young-adult book series. Beautiful Creatures stars Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich and is being distributed by Warner Bros. via its deal with Alcon. Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis also star in the film based on the first book in the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

The movie revolves around Lena Duchannes (Englert), whose special powers has long kept her separated from others. Moving to a new town, she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich), but their budding relationship is threatened by an ancient battle between good and evil.

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From The Weinstein Co., Escape From Planet Earth is the first theatrical feature from Rainmaker Entertainment. Its voice cast is led by Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry and Sarah Jessica Parker. William Shatner plays the evil alien Shanker, who is threatening the planet Baab.

Opening at the specialty box office Friday is the Chilean film No, which is up for best foreign-language film Oscar. Directed by Pablo Larrain, the film stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a successful advertising executive working in Chile in the late 1980s. He’s part of the team that’s creating material encouraging the public not to elect longtime dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet in the first public election in 15 years.

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