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Last Song to Open Before the Rest

March 31st, 2010

Hoping to get a jump on the competition, The Last Song opened tonight in roughly 2500 theaters. Is this a winning strategy? Or with the movie hit a sour note at the box office?

Miley Cyrus tries to expand beyond her Hannah Montana / 'Tween Idol roots and make her first steps to becoming a leading lady. Unfortunately, she may have chosen the wrong script. The Last Song is the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, an author who has built up quite a reputation for writing novels that are adapted into movies. Not a good reputation, but a reputation nonetheless. This is the first time the author has also done the adaptation himself, so you have first-time screenwriter handling material that wasn't good to begin with. The result is as bad as you would would expect. The script is being described as emotionally manipulative, but that's not surprising given the source. Miley's character, Ronnie, lacks depth or range. This makes it hard to judge her acting ability. Perhaps she doesn't have what it takes to pull off a dramatic performance. Or perhaps the film's drama is too maudlin and a bad script limits her. Granted, it appears most critics feel it is the former, but some, like Roger Ebert, put most of the blame on the story. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and wait to see her in a better movie.

How will this effect the film's box office chances? The previous Nicholas Sparks film, Dear John, earned better reviews, had a better release date for a romantic film, and much less competition. That added up to a first place, $30 million opening over three days. If this movie earns that over five days, the studio should be more than happy. That is possible, but it is also possible that it will earn less than that in total. On the low end it could earn $5 million on Wednesday and Thursday combined and $9 million over the three-day weekend, finishing with less $30 million during its theatrical run. Or it could make more than $7 million tonight, just over $5 million tomorrow, and $25 million over the weekend. I'm going with a $5 million / $3 million / $15 million run.

I'll get to the rest of the top five, as well as a update on this prediction, tomorrow.


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Filed under: The Last Song