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Depp vs. Depp

March 3rd, 2011

So far 2011 has been a bit of a bust with only one weekend winning the year-over-year comparison and not a single film opening with more that $40 million. Hopefully one of those records will change this weekend, as Rango looks to become the biggest hit of the year so far. Unfortunately, this time last year saw the release of Alice in Wonderland, the biggest March opening of all time. I can't imagine a scenario where 2011 doesn't lose even more ground on 2010.

There's little doubt Rango will win the weekend box office race though. But there's also little doubt it will fail to live up to last year's number one film, which coincidentally, also starred Johnny Depp. Here he provides the voice for the titular Rango, a pet chameleon who becomes lost in the desert and wanders into a Western town. Despite being the newcomer, he takes it upon himself to be the new sheriff. So far the reviews are excellent and with almost no direct competition, it will have family audiences all to itself. The over / under seems to be about $40 million, which is a milestone I think it will top, by earning about $42 million over the weekend on its way to becoming the biggest hit of 2011 so far.

The only other wide release with any shot at earning serious box office dollars is The Adjustment Bureau. Matt Damon is a proven box office star, even if his post-Bourne career has had a few stumbles. Recently, True Grit is one of his biggest hits of his career, and one of the most respected. The Adjustment Bureau won't match it at the box office or with critics. That said, its Tomatometer Score of 69% positive is strong enough to be a selling point, while the direct competition is non-existent. There's a chance it will earn more than $20 million over the weekend, but $18 million is more likely.

The King's Speech should turn last weekend's Oscar wins into a box office bounce. Third place with just under $9 million could be in the future, which would give the film a running tally of more than $125 million.

While Gnomeo and Juliet has to deal with direct competition, it should still manage another weekend in the top five with close to $8 million. This will leave it on pace to reach $100 million, but it might be close.

Beastly and Hall Pass could be in a tight race for fifth place with around $7 million each. For Beastly, this would be a relatively innocuous opening for a film that reportedly cost just $17 million to make. On the other hand, its reviews are very weak and its target audience tends to not stick around for very long after the opening weekend. For Hall Pass, it will be another disappointing result for the Farrelly Brothers.

The only other wide release of the week is Take Me Home Tonight, which some are thinking will miss the top ten entirely. That seems a little harsh, but opening with less than $6 million is not. Opening in barely more than 2,000 theaters and with an ad campaign that is barely there, the film could struggle to find an audience over the weekend. Add in soft reviews and there's little hope of long legs either. On the other hand, it has been sitting on the studio shelf for so long, that it's almost a victory just to get the film released.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Beastly, Gnomeo and Juliet, Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Take Me Home Tonight, The King’s Speech, Hall Pass