Oscar Weekend Box Office to get a ‘Hall pass’

095143H1.jpgThe Farrelly brothers will work their comedy magic and give Warner Bros. their second weekend at the top of the box office chart with the R-rated Hall Pass expected to debut with $17 million to $19 million.  Owen Wilson stars as a married man whose wife gives him permission to behave like a single man, have an affair and act very un-married.  Of course he takes his buddy played by Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis along for the ride.  With a premise that will have lots of married couples and the date crowd heading out to theaters and the Farrelly brothers reputation for raunchy comedy with a heart, Hall Pass will have a successful weekend at the box office.

Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet will continue to reap the benefits of being the only family animated film in wide release and sustain yet another small weekend over weekend drop that will likely put it in second place with a third weekend gross in the mid-teens.  With an impressive President’s weekend finish that had less than $40,000 separating it from the top spot in its second weekend of release, Gnomeo will continue to enjoy a strong courtship with an adoring (and underserved) family audience.

The cute little Gnomes will of course have to avoid butt-kicking by the ever-intimidating Liam Neeson whose number one President’s weekend debut in Warner Bros.’ Unknown solidified the star’s reputation as everyone’s favorite action hero.  With a gross expected to be in the $12 million to $15 million range, the PG-13 action revenge tale has been posting solid mid week numbers and enjoying strong word-of-mouth.

With a third place debut over the extended President’s holiday weekend, Disney’s suspense thriller I am Number Four is looking at a second weekend gross of $10 million to $12 million.  The film drew a major boost from the IMAX enhanced showing which gave a $3 million boost to the revenues representing over 13% of the Friday through Sunday gross.

In a slugfest for 5th place the tenacious Justin Bieber will take on a very angry Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry. A new version of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never that boasts additional footage and a director’s cut will bring the teen girls back for more and give it enhanced box office potential in its third weekend of release and a gross in the $10 million range.  At the other end of the spectrum is the very R-rated 3-D action fantasy Drive Angry directed by Patrick Lussier who edited the first three films of the Scream horror franchise.  Summit Entertainment only acquired US rights and did not produce the film in which prolific Nicolas Cage brings his own special brand of humor to the proceedings and a gross of $7 million to $10 million is to be expected in the wake of his early January $10.6 million debut of Season of the Witch.

Fortunately the fourteen week box office down streak was broken last weekend.  Unfortunately, a solid year ago frame led by Shutter Island with $22.6 million, the $18.2 million debut of Cop Out and the $16.1 million opening of The Crazies may hand the industry another tough comparison and thus another down weekend.