Though "Good Deeds" doesn't look like it will be one of writer/director Tyler Perry's biggest hits, the PG-13 drama should be able to find enough of an audience to take over as the number one movie in the U.S. Also reaching theaters will be thrillers "Act of Valor" and "Gone," though neither seems to be in a good position for a big opening weekend. The fourth wide release of the weekend, "Wanderlust," also looks to be in a tough position with a limited distribution of just 1,900 total theaters, which will make it difficult despite the popularity of stars Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd.
Over the past six years, Tyler Perry has become one of the most successful commercial filmmakers, with a steady string of hits each year since his first feature in 2006. Even if Perry has yet to reach $100 million domestically for any of his releases, his films have been consistent earners and he still has considerable sway with his predominately African-American audience. What's just as impressive is that Perry's films have pulled in some big box office totals despite typically getting a release of only 2,000 or so theaters, barely half of the venues that the major releases get.
But even though Perry has had a few big comedic hits, he hasn't been nearly as successful in the drama genre. Despite being based on a fairly popular book, 2010 release "For Colored Girls" was a rare commercial disappointment for Perry, earning just $37 million domestically and fizzling after a weak opening weekend. "Good Deeds" at least doesn't carry an R-rating like "For Colored Girls," but it probably won't pull in as much opening revenue as Perry's popular "Madea" series either. Look for "Good Deeds" to top the box office with somewhere around $20 million.
While "Good Deeds" hits an estimated 2,000 venues, the widest release will actually be "Act of Valor," a unique action-thriller that used real Navy SEALs in the filming. Even though that will likely strike a chord with a segment of its target demographic, "Act of Valor" could have a hard time appealing to those looking for a big name in the cast or a superhero. With "Safe House" still doing very well with action audiences heading into its third weekend, it doesn't look like "Act of Valor" is in store for an opening much more than $10 or $12 million.
As action-seekers pour into "Safe House" and "Act of Valor" this weekend, those looking for comedy might turn to "Wanderlust," though a surprisingly small release looks like a red flag for the Universal distribution. Commercially geared releases with major stars like Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd typically get a release of more than 3,000 theaters, though "Wanderlust" is slated to hit less than 2,000. Fewer venues will at least guarantee that screenings won't be too empty, which could help for future weekends, but it also could severely limit "Wanderlust" from having much of an opening. Expect "Wanderlust" to struggle to even get to $10 million this weekend.
Also looking to be in store for a rough opening is thriller "Gone," starring Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Carpenter of "Dexter" fame. At only 2,000 sites, Summit also seems to be cautious about spreading it too thin and having it play to empty theaters, which suggests that "Gone" isn't in position for an opening of much more than $8 or $9 million.
With a couple of lackluster opening titles, the weekend is wide open for "Safe House" and "The Vow" to continue their very strong theatrical runs so far. Both releases have played well to different demographics and could each top $100 million domestically by the end of the weekend. If "Good Deeds" and "Act of Valor" falter with their target audiences, "Safe House" could even find a way back to the top of the box office charts for the second consecutive weekend.
Following up a lukewarm couple of weekends for new releases, the box office will get a shot in the arm as the calendar flips over to March. Hitting theaters March 2nd, "The Lorax" should be able to scoop up family audiences and Dr. Seuss lovers alike, which should be enough for it to pass "The Vow" and take over as the number one box office draw in the early portion of 2012. R-rated comedy "Project X" will also hit theaters looking to find a similar audience that made "The Hangover" a cultural phenomenon.
RTT Box Office Predictions for 2/24/12 - 2/26/12 (In Millions):
1. Good Deeds (Lionsgate): $21
2. Safe House (Universal): $14
3. The Vow (Sony/Screen Gems): $13
4. Act of Valor (Relativity): $12
5. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Warner Brothers): $11
6. Wanderlust (Universal): $9.5
7. Gone (Summit): $9.5
8. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Sony): $9.3
9. This Means War (Fox): $9
10. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D (Fox): $8.5
by RTT Staff Writer
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