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Will The Green Hornet Live Up to Its Name?

January 13th, 2011

Two wide releases this week look to bring in the green and return the overall box office to the black. The wider of the two, The Green Hornet, is even looking to earn more than Avatar did this time last year, which would be a major victory for 2011. I'm not saying its going to, but it is a real possibility. And if it can't, it appears it is more likely than not that it will match The Book of Eli's opening from last year, which would at least be some positive news for the box office.

The Green Hornet is a film that looked like it had a lot going for it when it was given the green light a few years ago, including the box office prowess of Seth Rogen. But since then, nearly every news story seemed to tarnish its chances, including a couple of box office missteps by Rogen. Then when it was moved from a rather cushy release date to the wasteland of January, well, it would not have been unfair to write it off. Now the reviews are filtering in, and while they are not great, they are certainly better than expected. The buzz has also improved recently, and with the holiday, it could earn over $40 million from Friday through Sunday. That's probably not going to happen, but close to $40 million over four days is a lot more likely, with about $33 million coming over the three-day weekend.

The Dilemma has a lot going for it, including a couple of stars that have made careers of turning weak reviews into $100 million movies. This film is earning 28% positive reviews, which is far from the worst reviews either Vince Vaughn or Kevin James have received in the past few years. On the down side, it is definitely playing second fiddle to The Green Hornet and that film's resurgence could spell trouble for this one. The two wide releases don't have a whole lot of overlap in target audiences, one being a super hero action film and the other being a date night comedy. That said, the usual fanbase of Vince Vaughn might be more interested in his competition. Best case scenario has the film earning over $30 million over the next four days, but an opening of $20 million / $25 million is more likely.

After True Grit's rise to the top last weekend, it should ride the added theaters and incredible reviews to a soft decline this weekend. Look for just under $10 million over three days and just over $12 million over four. This will lift the film's running tally to over $125 million and put it on pace to reach $150 million in total, perhaps significantly more, if it starts turning some of its award nominations into wins.

Black Swan could go a long way to securing $100 million this weekend. It already has about $65 million in the bank, and it continues to expand its theater count. Add in a holiday, and it could see its box office grow when compared to last weekend. The wildcard here is the Golden Globes. The film picked up four Golden Globe nominations and the awards are being handed out this weekend. If a lot of people interested in this film stay home on Sunday to watch the awards, it could suffer. On the other hand, a lot of people could see the film pick up one or more awards, which will increase its box office chances on Monday. Look for $8 million / $10 million over the weekend for a running tally of nearly $75 million. Maybe a tad less if it is shut out, maybe more if Natalie Portman isn't the only winner on Sunday night.

Little Fockers should round out the top five with just over $7 million / just under $10 million. It was an expensive movie to make, but with $126 million in the bank so far, and better than expected international numbers, it is on pace to earn a profit by its initial push into the home market.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Little Fockers, The Green Hornet, True Grit, Black Swan, The Dilemma