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Can Movies Compete with the Real Gridiron Gangs?

September 14th, 2006

With the football season just under way, it seems the NFL is the biggest hurdle for new movies to overcome. This is especially true for the odds-on favorite, Gridiron Gang, but all the films playing this weekend will have to deal with divided attentions.

The latest real life inspirational coach movie is also the latest attempt for Dwayne Johnson to establish his credentials as a movie star. So far his career has been more miss than hit with his biggest hit pulling in little more than $90 million (not counting his cameo in The Mummy Returns), and that was his first starring role. Last year he started in two movies that earned a combined $85 million at the box office, on a combined production budget of $145 million. Right now he needs to convince moviegoers he can act and do so in a quality picture but it doesn't look like Gridiron Gang is the film to do that. So far the reviews have been quite weak. However, while the bad reviews outnumber the good reviews by a large margin, none of them are overly enthusiastic in their proclamations. The bad reviews almost all have something positive to say about the movie, while the positive ones admit to serious flaws. (Most complaints involve the film's over abundance of cliches and sappy moments.) That said, the genre is really solid when it comes to box office performance. You rarely see films like this bomb while there are also rarely breakout hits. Tracking has the film opening in first place with about $19 million. I will give the film the top spot, but I have trouble believing it will open better than Invincible did a few weeks ago. Give it $16 million this weekend and just over $45 million during its run.

Agree? Disagree? Know what The Rock is cooking? Put your prognosticating to the test and enter our Ganging Up contest today.

Well back of the frontrunner is The Black Dahlia, which is the second period piece about a Hollywood murder to open in the past seven days. This film is earning weaker reviews than Hollywoodland did, but its reviews are on par with the other release of the week. In fact, at least twice today it was earning the best reviews of the four new releases, but it has since slipped to third, at least for the moment (there's been a lot of fluctuation on that front). While its reviews are weaker than Hollywoodland, its marketing push has been more impressive and that should help it to outperform that film at the box office. Top end has the film pulling in $12 million, bottom end $8 million. Split the difference and you get a figure of $10 million, which is hardly a great start even if its production budget is at the low end of reports.

Next up is Everyone's Hero, the latest digitally animated film to be released in theatres. What was once a nearly unstoppable hit machine, these films have seen their quality drop off precipitously as their quantity shot up; these two events are not unrelated. This movie is hardly a terrible movie, but it lacks the heart needed to set it apart from the others in the same category. And with a much higher profile film just around the corner, Everyone's Hero won't have much time to make an impact at the box office. So look for just under $8 million over the weekend and a just under $25 million in total.

The last wide release of the week is the aptly named, The Last Kiss, or as I heard it called the other day, Garden State 2. The film is a coming of age for 30-year olds, and while there's not enough here that works for a enthusiastic endorsement, there's enough that it is worth checking out. However, even many of the positive reviews suggest that it is better as a rental. What does this mean for the film's box office chances? Look for just $5 million over the weekend, which is a step back for star Zach Braff, and a disappointing total of roughly $12 million.

Rounding out the top five, and the first holdover, should be The Covenant. After a disappointing start, the film should collapse this weekend and lose at least 50% of its opening. That will give it $4 million over the next three days for a total of $15 million after 10.

One last note, The Guardian has sneak peaks this Saturday in roughly 700 theatres nationwide, check your local listings for details.


Filed under: The Guardian, Gridiron Gang, The Covenant, The Black Dahlia, Everyone's Hero, The Last Kiss