Moviegoers will have plenty to unwrap in theaters Christmas Day, with a hefty eight films opening, including Martin Scorsese's latest "The Wolf of Wall Street", Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and the Keanu Reeves samurai tentpole "47 Ronin." But auds still are likely to crown Warner Bros.' third-frame holdover "The Hobbit" as the B.O. champ, with a projected five-day gross at north of $40 million.
"Wolf of Wall Street," which Paramount is releasing at more than 2,500 Stateside locations, looks to have the edge among the new entries, tracking in the mid-$20 millions Friday-Sunday. Par expects the film to gross somewhere in the $30 million range in five days, with opening day expectations at around $7 million.
Meanwhile, Fox's "Walter Mitty" and Warner Bros.' older-skewing "Grudge Match," starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, are projected to land in the high-teens in three days. Both look to eclipse an expected disastrous start for Universal's long-delayed costly tentpole, "47 Ronin," which looks unlikely to top $10 million from Friday to Sunday.
Also bowing Wednesday is the second concert docu from teen music idol Justin Bieber, "Believe," which Open Road is releasing at 1,037 playdates. That pic should rival "Ronin" in the high-single-digits-to-low-teens range.
In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics bows Ralph Fiennes' sophomore directorial effort "The Invisible Woman" at three theaters on Wednesday in New York and L.A. Universal's Mark Wahlberg Navy Seals action-drama "Lone Survivor" also launches midweek at two theaters.
The Weinstein Co. expands "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" to 975 locations on Christmas, followed by "August: Osage County," which bows Friday at five theaters.
With Christmas falling on a Wednesday, the broad selection of openers are taking advantage of the best timing box office-wise. That's because people are more willing to take off the rest of the week than if Christmas had come earlier in the week. Therefore, Thursday should be also be a sizable lead-up to the weekend.
Audiences will have plenty of other options with holdovers including "Anchorman 2" and "The Hobbit." For families, Disney's "Frozen" continues to be the most obvious choice, though Fox has a pair of all-audience hopefuls with "Walter Mitty" and "Walking With Dinosaurs," which opened weakly last weekend.
"Walter Mitty" has been a tough sell for Fox all along, however.
The film, which has gone through several different development stages before Stiller's version, tells a story of a depressed man who goes on a global journey of self-discovery. Fox has tried to sell the film's sense of adventure as a family-friendly element, though tracking has been sluggish thus far.
Still, the $90 million-budgeted Fox film, which ultimately could leg out over the holiday, isn't looking as dire for profitability as "47 Ronin." Universal and Elliot Inc.'s $175 million-plus effects-laden samurai movie starring Keanu Reeves already has bombed in Japan; it has grossed just $6.2 million total internationally.
Universal expands "47 Ronin" to 27 overseas markets day-and-date with North America.
Likely topping the new entries, Paramount's "Wolf of Wall Street" looks to benefit from the B.O. power of Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, though its nearly three-hour length will limit the number of screenings each day.
"Wall Street" cost just under $100 million to produce, from Red Granite, as well as Appian Way and Sikelia Productions.
Paramount also launches Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" beginning Friday for a one-week Oscar qualifying run at the Arclight Hollywood. Pic expands nationwide Jan. 31.
BowingFilm (Distributor): Locations
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Fox): 3,000
- Grudge Match (WB): 2,838
- 47 Ronin (Universal): 2,688
- The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount): 2,537
- Justin Bieber's Believe (Open Road): 1,037
- August: Osage County* (Weinstein): 5
- The Invisible Woman (Sony Classics): 3
- Lone Survivor (Universal): 2
- Labor Day* (Paramount): 1
- Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Weinstein): 4-975
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