Three films hope to set off 4th of July fireworks at the box office this weekend. Melissa McCarthy goes on the road with mom Susan Sarandon in "Tammy", Relativity shoots for the family audience with "Earth To Echo" and Screen Gems goes straight for the jugular in "Deliver Us From Evil". The last time July 4th fell on a Friday was 2008. The only wide opening that weekend was Sony's "Hancock", which took in $103 million for the five days ($40 million of which came from Wednesday and Thursday). Oh and just to further complicate the projection process, this coming Tuesday is Canada Day north of the border.
TAMMY---WARNER BROTHERS---WIDE---97 MINS---R
Ex fast food employee Melissa McCarthy discovers her husband having an affair with their neighbor and decides that a change of scenery is in order. Literally. So she heads out on the road with her loaded (in more ways than one) Grandma Pearl, played to goofy perfection by Susan Sarandon (uh, when did she become Granny material?). Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Gary Cole and Toni Collette co-star in a film directed by McCarthy's husband and fellow Groundlings member (and Air Marshall John in "Bridesmaids"), Ben Falcone, who makes his helming debut. I won't recite the success rate of R rated comedies this year (they've been about the only bankable genre in a rather lackluster 2014) and this should be another one of those great girls-night-out movies, which should pack venues like Ipic and other exhibitor dine-in theatres.
JIM'S WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $31 MILLION (3 Day), $45 MILLION (5 Day)
CAST: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Toni Collette, Kathy Bates
DIRECTOR: Ben Falcone
TUESDAY NIGHT LATE SHOWS: 8:00 PM
EARTH TO ECHO---RELATIVITY---WIDE--100 MINS---PG
Landing from space to stake its claim to the lucrative (and crowded) family market is Relativity's alien adventure, "Earth To Echo". The film has a first time director in Dave Green (interviewed by this site two months ago) and mostly first time tween actors. The storyline looks to appeal to kids and their families and could be successful counter-programming for those who'd rather not take their young 'uns to the "how-did-they-get-that-PG-13-rating?" "Transformers". The marketing campaign has been excellent on the film as well.
JIM'S WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $10 MILLION (3 Day), $15 MILLION (5 Day)
CAST: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt
DIRECTOR: Dave Green
TUESDAY NIGHT LATE SHOWS: Midnight, at discretion of theatre owners
DELIVER US FROM EVIL---SONY/SCREEN GEMS---WIDE---117 MINS---R
Screen Gems returns to its comfort zone with the first true horror film in quite some time with "Deliver Us From Evil". Eric Bana stars as a New York Police Detective who teams up with a renegade priest when the city begins to experience bizarre and unexplainable occurrences. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson who gave us "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which opened to $30 million in September of 2003 and "Sinister" which debuted at $18 million in October of 2012. Horror fans have to be dying (I know, I couldn't help it) for something to sink their teeth into and this looks like a first class Grade A effort. Look for the film to play especially well with Latino audiences.
JIM'S WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $16 MILLION (3 Day), $27 MILLION (5 Day)
CAST: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Joel McHale
DIRECTOR: Scott Derrickson
TUESDAY NIGHT LATE SHOWS: Midnight
AMERICA---LIONSGATE---1,000 RUNS---103 MINS---PG-13---OPENS FRIDAY
The team behind "2016: Obama's America", which astonishingly took in $33 million in 2012, are back with a look at the heroes that built America. New York Times bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza, a contributor on Fox News, produced and narrated the film, which looks at our nation's political heroes and how they are viewed by both sides of the aisle. The film opened in 3 locations (2 theatres in Houston and 1 in Atlanta) to a total of $39,000 this past weekend. Producer D'Souza commented "After the success of "2016" I knew there was an audience that wanted to be proud of our country and see a film that took an honest look at how this country came to be and where we go from here". These types of political movies are almost impossible to predict and that $13,000 PSA is hardly roof-shattering, but the film has significant conservative backing and is getting play on Fox News so who knows. The first week that "2016: Obama's America" went wide was August 24, 2012 and it opened to $6.5 million that weekend.
JIM'S WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $4 MILLION