PG-13 'King's Speech' Hits Theaters Friday (Box Office Preview)
LAS VEGAS -- Tom Hooper's Oscar-winning film about King George VI gets a new title on Friday: The King's Speech: Rated PG-13, and while new releases like Hop, Source Code and Insidious will be posting bigger numbers, the industry will be watching the reworked King's Speech closely.
In an unprecedented move, the Weinstein Co. is releasing a tamer version of a movie, and pulling the original -- rated R for repeated uses of the word "fuck"-- from theaters. It's a bold move designed to bring in families.
The offending word has been muted, although in some instances, the word "shit" was substituted.
To date, King's Speech has grossed $373.6 million at the worldwide box office, including $135 million domestically.
The new version is going out in 1,007 theaters in the United States. Last weekend, the historical drama played in 1,062 theaters, grossing $1.6 million.
The Weinstein Co.'s new president of theatrical distribution, Erik Lomis, said it's very difficult to gauge what the PG-13 version might make this weekend. He said his company will be pleased if it stays at the same level as last weekend and thrilled if it goes up.
"It's unprecedented in the history of the business," Lomis said. "The picture is now available to middle school and high school students. They couldn't go before. Now they can. The picture deserves to be seen."
Releasing the new version means the Weinstein Co. has had to spend additional marketing money to ensure there's not confusion among parents.
There's plenty of other action at the domestic box office, with three new films opening nationwide: Universal's CGI/live-action hybrid Hop, Summit Entertainment's Source Code and FilmDistrict's debut title, Insidious.
Hop, from Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment, is expected to gross in the low-to-mid $20 million range.
Universal says the PG-rated Hop doesn't need a big opening since it cost a reasonable $63 million to produce. Also, the studio expects a great multiple because of the availability kids on spring break. As of Friday, 18 percent of schools will be out of school, with the rest taking time between now and Easter. The holiday itself falls on April 24.
Hop also is making a big push internationally, where it opens day-and-date in 26 theaters, including the U.K., Germany and Italy. It opens in 3,577 theaters in North America.
While at Fox, Meledandri supervised the blockbuster Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise, also a CGI/live-action hybrid.
Hop will face competition from Fox holdover Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, which opened to a better-than-expected $25 million last weekend. Through Wednesday, the sequel's cume was $27.1 million.
Summit calls Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, a smart thriller. The film, going out in 2,961 theaters, was financed by Vendome Pictures and cost $32 million to produce after rebates. The film is expected to open in the mid- to high teens.
Duncan Jones (Moon) directed the picture, which borrows a page from Groundhog Day, as it follows Gyllenhaal, who, as part of government experiment, is charged with finding a bomber on a Chicago commuter train by taking over the body of one of the passengers. Since he can inhabit the body for only the last eight minutes of the passenger's life, Gyllenhaal has to keep repeating the experiment as he gathers clues.
Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright also star in the PG-13 movie, which had a successful premiere at the recent SXSW film festival.
Like other thrillers with adult appeal such as Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer, which played solidly in recent weeks, Source Code should bow in the high-teen millions.
FilmDistrict, the new distribution outfit created by GK Films' Graham King, Tim Headington and Peter Schlessel, with indie vet Bob Berney serving as president of theatrical distribution, is making its maiden voyage with the PG-13 haunted house movie, Insidious, starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. Focusing on wide commercial releases, FilmDistrict is promoting the movie's horror credentials: It was written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, both of Saw, and produced by Jason Blum and Oren Pelli, of Paranormal Activity, among others.
Opening in 2,408 theaters, it should collect something in the low $10 million range.
Sony Pictures Classics will also use the weekend to introduce Susanne Bier's Danish drama In a Better World, winner of the best foreign language film Oscar, in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles.