‘A Good Day to Die Hard’: A Good Weekend for the John McClane sequel

Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney

Bruce Willis reprises his role as the irascible, tenacious John McClane in the fifth installment of Twentieth Century Fox’s Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard in IMAX this President’s weekend.  Opening as perfect counter-programming on Valentine’s Day, the R-rated action film looks to break the losing streak that films of the genre have experienced of late.  A likely gross of well over $40 million for the five-day Thursday through Monday frame is expected with audiences likely to find excitement in the premise of the film, which teams McClane with his grown son Jack (Jai Courtney) and the use of Russia as a backdrop.  Built-in brand recognition for both the franchise (with over $1.1 billion in WW revenue) and the McClane character will ensure that this film will “Yippee-ki-yay” itself to the top of the box office chart this weekend.

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Of course, no Valentine’s weekend would be complete without a little love from Nicholas Sparks, whose Safe Haven from Relativity Media makes its debut appropriately on Valentine’s Day with an expected $20 million plus for the five days.  Starring the impossibly good-looking Julianne Hough & Josh Duhamel, the film is elevated above the standard for this genre by solid direction from Lasse Halstrom (The Cider House Rules, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and an intriguing premise.  The PG-13 film should earn in the low to mid-$20 millions for the five-day period.

There is yet another Valentine’s Day release to join the hit parade as Warner Bros. presents Beautiful Creatures, a PG-13 fantasy romance that melds an older and younger cast (à la The Hunger Games) into a mythological love story that will also draw a solid audience of romance-seeking couples this weekend.   The film boasts a solid cast including Jeremy Irons, Viola DavisEmmy Rossum and Emma Thompson.  Expected for the film is a gross in excess of $20 million for the long weekend.

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In an effort not leave kids and families out of the President’s Day/Valentine’s equation, opening Friday from The Weinstein Co. is Escape From Planet Earth in 3-D.  The PG-rated animated film features the voices of Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba and William Shatner and should draw respectable crowds over the long weekend.

After a much better than expected $34.5 million debut last weekend, Identity Thief will be represented well in the box office mix with newly crowned comedy star Melissa McCarthy and her co-star Jason Bateman, offering a major challenge a couple of the newcomers this weekend.  A 50 percent weekend over weekend drop would still give the R-rated comedy a $17 million Friday through Sunday gross, placing it in major contention for one of the top spots with a cumulative gross in the $60 million plus range by the end of the weekend.

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Filling out the rest of the chart, Summit Entertainment’s Warm Bodies will remain a top draw along with Open Road’s Side Effects and Oscar contenders Silver Lining Playbook from The Weinstein Co.,  Zero Dark Thirty from Sony, and Paramount’s Hansel & Gretel in what should prove to be one of the better performing President’s weekend holiday frames on record.

Photo Credit: Frank Masi/20th Century Fox

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