Box Office Preview: 'Chronicle,' 'Woman in Black,' 'Big Miracle' Take on Super Bowl

7:15 PM PST 02/02/2012 by Pamela McClintock
CBS Films
"The Woman in Black"

Moviegoing is traditionally a wash on the day of the game, putting pressure on films to pile up points on Friday and Saturday.

Twentieth Century Fox's genre superpowers pic Chronicle goes head to head this weekend with CBS Films' horror-thriller The Woman in Black, but both are looking at a narrow playtime because of Super Bowl Sunday.

The third new film of the weekend is Universal's family friendly whale pic Big Miracle, starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski. Super Bowl weekend is always a popular landing pad for genre fare, along with family friendly titles like Big Miracle.

Tracking suggests Chronicle and Woman in Black could end up in a relatively close battle for the No. 1 spot, although some give Chronicle a slight edge. They're both expected to open in the low- to mid-teens, although both Fox and CBS Films are giving more conservative estimates. Big Miracle should follow with an opening gross in the high single digits or low teens.

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Chronicle, about a group of friends who acquire superpowers and use them to make mischief until one of them begins using them for darker purposes, is tracking best with younger men. Produced for a modest $12 million, the edgy film was directed by Josh Trank and stars Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Michael Kelly.

Woman in Black, based on Susan Hill's novel of the same name, was produced by Hammer Film Productions and preemptively acquired by CBS Films just before the Cannes Film Festival last year. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer, the ghost story was directed by James Watkins and is showing impressive strength among young women.

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Insiders at CBS Films, which acquired Woman in Black for a modest $3 million, say the movie played much broadly than expected during test screenings.

Universal's campaign for Big Miracle has targeted moms and girls, the latter being the demo least interested in football (that's why Disney opened Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour over Super Bowl weekend).

Directed by Ken Kwapis, Big Miracle is based on the 1989 book Freeing the Whales, and tells the story of the international rescue effort to rescue three gray whales trapped in ice near Point Barrow, Alaska. In the movie, Barrymore and Krasinski play a nonprofit aid worker and a government worker who develop a romance.

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