Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg will load up their weapons to take on some very popular Smurfs and a formidable Wolverine in this weekend’s box office derby.
First up is a film that will get Universal right back in the box office fight and pretty much erase the memory of the lackluster performance last weekend of R.I.P.D.. To this end the R-rated action crime drama 2 Guns pairs Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in the latest non-sequel film to hit theaters this summer. Baltasar Kormakur who directed Wahlberg in the early 2012 hit Contraband ratchets up the action even further and pairs two of the most popular stars in cinema today to great effect. A great marketing campaign and effective trailer don’t hurt either. The studio is going conservative with an expectation of a debut in the low $20 millions, but we think it should land in the upper range of the $20 millions and therefore shoot its way to the top of this weekend’s box office chart.
On the complete other end of the genre spectrum is the debut of the sequel to the 13th highest grossing film of the summer of 2011 as The Smurfs 2 gathers up the cute little blue guys for another run at the big money this weekend. During virtually the same weekend in 2011 (opening 7/29) the first installment, The Smurfs opened in second place with an impressive $35.6 million (Friday through Sunday) and went on to a North American total of $142.6 million. These sequel Smurfs will likely come in at nearly the same gross for the first five days of their release (after debuting on Wednesday with $5.2 million) and therefore zap up around $20 million for the three day portion of the weekend. The really good news is that Smurfs are an international phenomenon and should get close to $100 million worldwide by Sunday night.
Of course Fox’s The Wolverine has been a midweek hit and will approach this weekend’s competition with over $70 million banked in North America. In the film’s favor is that Hugh Jackman has gotten solid reviews from critics and additionally the film is doing well overseas. This weekend a gross in the mid-$20 millions could land the latest from the Marvel universe in second place with Smurfs running closely behind.
Warner Bros. R-rated horror profit making machine The Conjuring in its third frame will exorcise its way into the $100 million club this weekend with a gross in the $10 million plus range while the Minions of Despicable Me 2 with just under $10 million in its fifth weekend will launch itself over the $320 million mark in North America alone.
Sony Pictures Classics adds 44 theaters to Woody Allen’s per-theater average hero Blue Jasmine and should again impress as the great reviews and continued solid word-of-mouth make this the “must see” specialized film in the marketplace.
As we enter the final month of the summer movie season, revenues are looking good overall as we remain nearly 11% ahead of last year’s pace.