During the quiet Super Bowl weekend, Zac Efron's new R-rated comedy, "That Awkward Moment," will likely sack "Ride Along" and Jason Reitman's new effort, "Labor Day."
Written and directed by first-timer Tom Gormican, the raunchy "That Awkward Moment," from Focus Features, is expected to gross $12 million or more in ticket sales through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada, which would be a solid result for a film that cost just $8 million to produce.
"That Awkward Moment," about a trio of guys trying to figure out their love lives, stars Miles Teller and "Fruitvale Station's" Michael B. Jordan alongside "High School Musical" alumnus Efron.
A male-centered spin on the romantic comedy genre, "That Awkward Moment" is targeted largely to young women as an alternative to football, though it has not won over many critics, as evidenced by a 25% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Nonetheless, it could beat Universal Pictures' Kevin Hart cop comedy, "Ride Along," which has had a lock on the box office for the last two weekends. Not adjusting for inflation, "Ride Along" opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend with the biggest January debut ever ($41.5 million) and has amassed a domestic gross of nearly $80 million so far.
"Labor Day," written and directed by Jason Reitman, is expected to generate around $8 million in revenue, after costing $18 million to make.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures and co-produced by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush, "Labor Day" stars Kate Winslet as a divorced, borderline agoraphobic mother who takes an escaped convict, played by Josh Brolin, into her home.
Reitman is known for taking on difficult subject matter, and his output includes critic-friendly fare such as "Young Adult," "Up in the Air," "Juno" and "Thank You for Smoking," but his current effort isn't getting so much praise, with a 47% "fresh" rating.
Reitman adapted "Labor Day" from the 2009 novel by Joyce Maynard. The film also stars the young Gattlin Griffith as the 13-year-old son of Winslet's character.
Among the pack of holdovers are Universal's Mark Wahlberg-starring Navy SEAL saga "Lone Survivor," Open Road Films' animated comedy "Nut Job," Paramount's "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" and the multi-Oscar-nominated "American Hustle."
The highly successful animated musical "Frozen" may get a boost this weekend, as Disney introduces a sing-along version in more than 1,000 theaters. Online ticket seller Fandango said the Hans Christian Andersen-inspired hit ranks third highest in advanced ticket sales for the weekend, behind "That Awkward Moment" and "Ride Along."
"Frozen" has taken in more than $800 million worldwide, including roughly $350 million from the U.S. and Canada alone.
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