Next weekend’s new nationwide arrivals in theaters are very much of the franchise variety. In one corner you have an R-rated action flick reborn as a PG-13 wannabe blockbuster and in the other you have a family offering in the form of the third Diary of a Wimpy Kid film. Since the latter is largely done on the cheap and is perceived to be predictable, all eyes will be on the performance of Total Recall as this will be the first major blockbuster release since the Aurora shootings which has certainly had a negative (but immeasurable) effect these past ten days on the box office.
On top of that, Sony spent $125 million on bringing the Len Wiseman-directed film to the big screen. The man is responsible for helping launch the Underworld franchise, but most moviegoers will know him best as the guy who made a fourth Die Hard movie which was pretty damn good despite its aging (and over-used) star Bruce Willis. Essentially, the pressure is on for Wiseman to have his best performing film to date as anything under $40 million in its first three days of release will likely be regarded as a disappointment.
To help accomplish what seems like an impossible task, he has an ensemble of Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, and Bryan Cranston. None of these figures are considered bankable stars (especially Farrell,) so there is no reason anyone should believe that $50+ million is possible. This is not even mentioning that families already spent a lot of cash on The Dark Knight Rises which will be in its third weekend.
Because of those factors, the industry seems to be looking at a mediocre $20 million debut but that is before word of mouth hits which will presumably play a large part in this Total Recall’s performance. If reviews are solid, expect something way north of $20 million easily as this effort definitely has the attention of sci-fi fans who are waiting to hear whether or not the retread lives up to the original. Also, it goes without mentioning that The Dark Knight Rises will at minimum gross another $30 million from the same audience as Total Recall, making things that much more difficult.
In regards to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, these movies tend to be very consistent so an opening in the low $20 million range is expected. This might have a negative impact on Ice Age 4, but the feeling is less likely to be mutual as the animated feature is nearing the end of its theatrical run.