Following up the successful 2010 release "The Expendables," the gang of action heroes is back with "The Expendables 2," an R-rated action-thriller loaded with big names like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris and more. While "The Expendables 2" should easily be able to open atop the charts this weekend, "ParaNorman" and "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" will battle for family audiences, and music drama "Sparkle" will also hit roughly 2,200 theaters with the late Whitney Houston co-starring.
When "The Expendables" launched in 2010, it was an easy hit with action audiences, bringing in $34.8 million in opening revenue and staying atop the charts for two straight weeks. Due to the international popularity of its cast, "The Expendables" not only crossed $100 million in the U.S. but finished with a very strong $274 million worldwide, a nice total for an $80 million production.
After hitting with its target demographic just two summers ago, "The Expendables 2" looks to be in even better shape as it reaches roughly 3,200 theaters this weekend. While Arnold Schwarzenegger only had a cameo in the first release, this time he has a much more expansive role and plenty of action fans will show up just to see the Governator. Adding Chuck Norris to the cast also won't hurt for fans of over-the-top action, and younger faces like Liam Hemsworth, Jet Li and Jason Statham give at least some appeal to younger action-seeking audiences.
The only potential downside for "The Expendables 2" is competition with "The Bourne Legacy," which is holding strong heading into its second weekend in theaters. But even with "Bourne" putting up decent numbers, "The Expendables 2" should have no problem soaring to the top of the charts and giving Lionsgate another box office winner. Look for "The Expendables 2" to finish close to $40 million this weekend and to put up big worldwide numbers by the time it's out of theaters.
Hitting roughly 3,100 total theaters this weekend, animated film "ParaNorman" should also be a box office factor this weekend, though competition from "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" could make it a tough sell for the average family. From Focus Features, a distributor that has had only minor success in animation, "ParaNorman" does at least have very positive critical buzz, though that's more likely to help in the long-term. "ParaNorman" should be able to earn somewhere in the $13 to $16 million range this weekend, likely making it the second biggest new release of the weekend.
Aiming at a much different audience this weekend will be "Sparkle," a PG-13 music drama starring Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks and Derek Luke. "Sparkle" could get a boost due to Houston's presence in the cast following her untimely death last February, though its overall commercial appeal seems fairly limited. Hitting an estimated 2,200 theaters this weekend, "Sparkle" could bring in close to $10 million for distributor TriStar.
Also heading into its first weekend in theaters is "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," an inspirational family film from Disney. Hitting just 2,551 theaters this past Wednesday, "Timothy Green" doesn't seem to have the mainstream potential of a typical Disney family film, and weekend numbers will also be curtailed by a rare mid-week release. Family audiences not interested in "ParaNorman" could venture across the hall to "Timothy Green," though an opening weekend of much more than $9 or $10 million seems unlikely at this point.
Heading into its second weekend in theaters, "The Bourne Legacy" should still put up some solid numbers, though competing with both "The Expendables 2" and "The Dark Knight Rises" won't make it easy. The $38 million opening for "The Bourne Legacy" shows that there is still a big audience sticking with the rebooted franchise, but it will need to pull in some impressive foreign numbers to justify the $125 million production price tag.
As "The Bourne Legacy" competes with "The Expendables 2" and "The Dark Knight Rises," R-rated comedy "The Campaign" looks to be in a strong position due to a lack of other mainstream comedies in theaters. With "Ted" likely sliding out of the top 10 for the first time since the end of June, "The Campaign" will be far and away the most popular comedy over the next couple weekends, which should help it finish with solid overall numbers for Warner Brothers.
Next weekend, action flick "Premium Rush" hits theaters with Joseph Gordon-Levitt headlining and thriller "The Apparition" also gets its wide release, though neither appears to be in position for a big weekend as we enter one of the slowest parts of the year at the box office. R-rated action-comedy "Hit & Run" is another title getting launched, but the Open Roads Films distribution should likewise have a hard time finding much of an audience.
RTT Box Office Predictions for 8/17/12 - 8/19/12 (in millions):
1. The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate): $41
2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal): $19
3. The Campaign (Warner Brothers): $16
4. ParaNorman (Focus): $15.3
5. Sparkle (TriStar): $10.2
6. The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Disney): $10
7. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brother): $10
8. Hope Springs (Sony/Columbia): $8.8
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Fox): $4.7
10. Total Recall (Sony/Columbia): $3.8
by RTT Staff Writer
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