The boy band One Direction is headed straight to the top of the box office over Labor Day weekend, thanks to throngs of overzealous teenage girls.
"One Direction: This Is Us," a 3-D concert documentary about the mega-popular British group, is set to rule at the multiplex, likely debuting with a robust $22 million over the four-day long weekend, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
But another tween icon, Selena Gomez, won't have cause to celebrate during the holiday. The former Disney Channel star's new action film "Getaway," co-starring Ethan Hawke, is poised to open with a dismal $6 million.
Meanwhile, "The Butler," the civil rights drama that has been No. 1 since opening in mid-August, will inch closer to the $100-million milestone. Heading into the weekend, Lee Daniels' film has already grossed more than $55 million and should take in another $15 million this long weekend.
"This Is Us" follows Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne as they embark on a 150-date world tour. The $10-million production, which is being released by Sony Pictures' TriStar label, was directed by Oscar-nominated documentarian Morgan Spurlock. "This Is Us" will be the filmmaker's highest-grossing picture to date, as 2004's "Super Size Me" -- in which Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days straight -- collected $11.5 million.
"This Is Us" is the latest in a string of concert documentaries to hit theaters in recent years. The most successful has been "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," which made nearly $100 million worldwide in 2011. Last summer's "Katy Perry: Part of Me" didn't fare as well, grossing $32.4 million globally. Both the Bieber and Perry docs were Paramount releases.
The One Direction flick will probably end up somewhere between the Bieber and Perry movies, as the band is riding a wave of popularity in the U.S. This month, they performed four sold-out concerts at Staples Center, and hundreds of fans stormed a movie theater at the Grove after being shut out of an advance "This Is Us" screening.
Gomez, however, is still struggling to prove she is a box office draw. The provocative indie "Spring Breakers," in which the 21-year-old was one of four lead actresses, performed respectably earlier this year. But her teen-aimed romantic comedy "Monte Carlo" grossed only $40 million worldwide in 2011.
Co-star Hawke has had a better run as of late, coming off the critically beloved “Before Midnight” and surprise box office hit "The Purge," the low-budget horror film that raked in $84 million in global sales in June. Unfortunately, his good run will end with the poorly reviewed "Getaway," which on Thursday had notched a 0% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In the movie, Hawke plays a man trying to rescue his kidnapped wife and finds an unlikely partner a young, tech-adept teen (Gomez).
The movie was produced for $18 million by Dark Castle Entertainment and is the last picture from Joel Silver's company to be released by Warner Bros. Silver's deal with the studio ended in 2012, and he then signed a five-year distribution deal with Universal Pictures.
The only other debut this weekend, the thriller "Closed Circuit," is playing in 1,000 fewer theaters than its rivals. The film starring Eric Bana hit theaters Wednesday and may sell just $3 million worth of tickets through Sunday. The picture, about a controversial trial following the detonation of a bomb in a London market, has received mixed critical response.
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