As we begin the typically slow month of August, action remake "Total Recall" will attempt to knock off "The Dark Knight Rises" as the top box office draw in the country, but it won't be easy with disastrous critical reviews and limited buzz heading into its release. Also hitting theaters will be family-friendly "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," the third entry in the quietly successful series from Fox.
Getting launched at roughly 3,400 theaters this weekend, "Total Recall" will be targeting an action audience familiar with the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name. Though the material was actually based on a short story by famous sci-fi scribe Philip K. Dick, audiences will be much more familiar with the Schwarzenegger version, which was one of the biggest hits of 1990 and enjoys somewhat of a cult status.
But even with some recognition by audiences familiar with the original, the 2012 version of "Total Recall" is on very shaky ground heading into the weekend. Carrying an eye-popping production budget of $200 million, worldwide expectations are extremely high for "Total Recall" and it doesn't even appear to be in great shape to open atop the box office. With "The Dark Knight Rises" still selling plenty of tickets, "Total Recall" will likely have to bring in more than $30 million to finish as number one.
The one advantage that the 2012 "Total Recall" does have is a PG-13 rating, which the R-rated Arnold Schwarzenegger version lacked. Unfortunately, star Colin Farrell is nowhere near the international star that Schwarzenegger was in 1990, making it a tough sell during a time of year when ticket sales typically slow dramatically. Look for "Total Recall" to fall just shy of $30 million this weekend, an opening that probably won't be enough to overtake "The Dark Knight Rises."
Aiming at a much different audience will be "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days." Based on a very popular book series, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" has been a surprise earner for Fox over the past few years, with steady revenue totals for releases in both 2010 and 2011; the first two in the series ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules") cost an average of only $18 million to produce and both crossed $70 million worldwide.
The only change for this release is that the previous installments hit theaters in March, though that shouldn't keep its core audience from coming out once again. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" also has the advantage of minimal competition, as both "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "Brave" are starting to wind down after successful box office runs. After the first two in the series opened in the $22-$24 million range, look for "Dog Days" to put up a similar opening total and be a factor with family audiences through the rest of August.
While "Total Recall" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" shake up the box office a little bit, "The Dark Knight Rises" still looks to be in a commanding position. "The Dark Knight Rises" has already crossed $300 million in domestic receipts and still has a sizable audience to appeal to, as daily numbers remain fairly strong. After earning $62 million in its second weekend, "The Dark Knight Rises" should be able to earn around $30 million this time around, which will likely put it very close to "Total Recall" at the top of the charts.
Next week, series spin-off/reboot "The Bourne Legacy" will hit theaters looking to pick up where the Matt Damon franchise left off, with Jeremy Renner taking over for Damon. Also getting launched will be Will Ferrell's latest comedy "The Campaign," which will team him with Zach Galifianakis for a timely spoof of American politics. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones will also star in "Hope Springs," a romantic comedy that will get released on Wednesday, August 8th.
RTT Box Office Predictions for 8/3/12 - 8/5/12 (In Millions):
1. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brother): $30
2. Total Recall (Sony/Columbia): $28
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Fox): $22
4. Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox): $7.5
5. The Watch (Fox): $6.5
6. Step Up Revolution (Summit): $5.5
7. Ted (Universal): $7.40 [$5]
8. The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony/Columbia): $3.9
9. Brave (Disney): $2.7
10. Magic Mike (Warner Brothers): $1.4
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org