Emptyalk about double-dipping. Saturday is Valentine's Day and Monday is Presidents Day, the first such combo in five years. So with the boxoffice hot of late, exhibitors and distributors are smacking their lips over the prospect of a torrid four-day frame.
Warner Bros.' R-rated horror pic "Friday the 13th" is sure to be No. 1, targeting $27 million-$30 million through Monday thanks to strong and broad prerelease interest.
"We've got young males and young females," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "And because the franchise has a bit of a history to it, we've got the older audience as well. Jason is a well-established character in the horror genre."
The latest "Friday" — the 11th installment — essentially remakes the 1980 original. Franchise predecessor "Jason X" bowed in April 2002 with $13.1 million en route to $17 million domestically.
The latest edition is helmed by Marcus Nispel ("Pathfinder"), numbers Michael Bay among its producers and stars Jared Padalecki ("Cry Wolf") and Danielle Panabaker ("Mr. Brooks"). But with a signature high body count of the young and beautiful, this "Friday" is best described as ensemble.
And as usual, it unspools on a Friday the 13th.
The session's other two wide openers offer distinctly different types of films: Disney debuts the youthful comedy "Confessions of a Shopaholic," and Sony sends out political thriller "The International."
" 'Friday the 13th' is clearly the frontirunner, and after that it's every man for himself," Disney distribution topper Chuck Viane said. "We'll be a part of that mix and certainly hope to get our share."
Some have suggested that the consumer-oriented theme of the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "Shopaholic" might prove out of step with the tough economic times. But studio execs note the film's underlying message: Don't look to material goods for personal happiness.
"Shopaholic" could ring up something north of $20 million during the long frame.
"International," which opened the Berlin International Film Festival this month, could register as much as $20 million domestically. Execs see some chance for outsized foreign grosses for the pic, directed by German helmer Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), because of its global-conspiracy theme.
Holdover pics, including Warners' ensemble comedy "He's Just Not That Into You" and Fox's Liam Neeson starrer "Taken," also are likely to take in a good bit of coin. An action thriller co-starring relative newcomer Maggie Grace ("The Jane Austen Book Club"), "Taken" dropped just 17% the previous weekend during its second session in a market "hold" far greater than the norm.
Elsewhere, Sony's Kevin James starrer "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" has registered $97 million through four weeks in the marketplace, a boxoffice haul perhaps double what most might have expected.
Collectively, moviegoers seem to be telling studios, "Give us some fluff; we'll give you the green stuff." There's also consensus that distributors have scheduled a nicely diverse array of commercial fare this winter.
Whatever the industry is doing right, it's added up to year-over-year weekend increases in four of the five frames so far this boxoffice year. The Super Bowl session posted a modest 1% decline.
Last year's Presidents Day weekend was topped by the $32 million bow of Fox's sci-fi actioner "Jumper." The four-day session rung up almost $168 million.