Box Office Preview: 'Horrible Bosses' and 'Zookeeper' Latest Entries in Comedy Craze
The comedy craze continues at the domestic box office this weekend, pushing the limits of how many laughs the marketplace can sustain. Sony’s Kevin James pic Zookeeper will go after the family audience, while Warner Bros./New Line’s raunchy Horrible Bosses hopes to capitalize on the R-rated comedy boom.
But neither seems to have the momentum to score a big opening. Instead, their success will depend upon staying power. Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon is still taking up most of the oxygen and looking to gross roughly $40 million in its second frame, double or so what Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper are expected to do.
Through Wednesday, Dark of the Moon’s domestic box office gross was already $204.4 million. Zookeeper is tracking well with kids under the age of 12 but is softer than expected among other demos. The movie should open in the range of Fox’s so-so performer Mr. Popper’s Penguins and not like such general audience movies as Night at the Museum or James’ sleeper hit Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which debuted in January 2009 to $31.8 million. Popper’s Penguins opened June 17 to $18.4 million at the domestic box office and has grossed $53.8 million to date.
Box office observers say Zookeeper could open north of $20 million if it plays well. Sony is counting on Zookeeper doing good business overseas; the film opens this weekend in Germany and Mexico. The animals in Zookeeper, directed by Frank Coraci, are voiced by Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, Don Rickles, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Cher and Faizon Love. Sandler’s production company Happy Madison produced the film.
Directed by Seth Gordon, Horrible Bosses features an all-star ensemble cast, led by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. Unless it overperforms, Horrible Bosses won’t match the openings of recent R-rated comedies Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher. Universal’s Bridesmaids opened to $26.2 million in mid-May, while Cameron Diaz starrer Bad Teacher, from Sony, opened to a robust $31.6 million two weeks ago. But if there’s a studio deft at marketing R-rated comedies, it’s Warner Bros., home of The Hangover franchise.
Horrible Bosses is about three friends who plot to kill their disrespectful bosses, played by Spacey, Aniston and Farrell. Like family films, comedies can have long legs at the box office if word-of-mouth is good. Reviews of Zookeeper have been decidedly sour; Horrible Bosses is receiving strong notices.