Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: April 1992
||Posted: June 22, 2012, 8:08 am
Two box office preview articles, plus at the end a list of links to reviews:
Box Office Mojo:
Forecast: Pixar Aims for 13th-Straight First Place Debut with 'Brave'
by Ray Subers
June 21, 2012
Coming off a somewhat quiet weekend, the box office should be revitalized a bit thanks to the release of Disney/Pixar's latest movie. Brave is set to open in a Pixar-record 4,164 locations, 2,790 of which will include 3D shows. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will also try to battle its way to solid grosses at 3,106 theaters (2,497 with 3D), but its target demographic is too narrow for it to really break out.
Meanwhile, Focus Features is releasing apocalyptic comedy/drama Seeking a Friend for the End of the World at 1,618 venues, while To Rome with Love, Woody Allen's follow-up to Midnight in Paris, launches in a handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
It's impossible to discuss Brave's opening weekend potential without first reviewing the unprecedented history of Pixar Animation Studios. Beginning with Toy Story 2 in 1999, Pixar rattled off an incredible nine-straight $200 million movies, which culminated in 2010 with Toy Story 3 (their highest-grossing movie ever with $415 million). Aside from this incredible commercial success, the studio was also being praised for its artistic accomplishments: through their first 11 movies, Pixar racked up 39 Oscar nominations and 10 wins, including six of the first 10 Best Animated Feature awards. Last June's Cars 2, though, proved that Pixar isn't invincible. Not only did it end the company's $200 million streak, but it was also Pixar's first major creative disappointment—it's the company's only "rotten" movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and its only movie to have an IMDb rating below 7.0.
One dud doesn't kill a brand as strong as Pixar, though: many previews for Brave emphasize that it's from the same studio as Toy Story 3, Up and WALL-E, which is quite the compelling pitch. Otherwise, advertisements have made Brave look like a pretty standard princess movie, with the bow-and-arrow-wielding red-head Merida taking the place of more traditional Disney princesses like Snow White and Belle. That 21st-century approach to the princess story will certainly have strong appeal among younger girls and their mothers, though it's unlikely the movie connects with men in the same way as Pixar movies like Finding Nemo or The Incredibles.
Excluding Ratatouille, which was about rats in Paris, every Pixar movie for the past decade has opened to at least $60 million. Current expectations have Brave earning slightly less ($55-$60 million), though no matter what happens it will become Pixar's 13th-straight movie to open in first place.
For a while, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was looking like it could be a bomb on par with 2010's Jonah Hex—after all, it's opening at the exact same time, and also features a titular hero fighting off an army of foes hell-bent on conquering 19th century America. While its initial marketing material was a bit muddled, though, the latest round of commercials has been more successful in establishing the conflict between our country's 16th president and an undead army of vampires, and has also showcased some unique action. It's still only going to reach a very specific audience (young males old enough to buy R-rated tickets), but it should get a large portion of that group given Prometheus's steady decline and That's My Boy's disappointing start. Distributor 20th Century Fox is expecting between $15 and $16 million this weekend.
Debuting at only 1,618 theaters, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is targeting a much more modest opening than Brave or Abraham Lincoln. That's logical, considering the movie's apparent blend of comedy and apocalyptic drama looks like a tough sell. Steve Carell's presence should at least give the movie a bit of a boost: the actor helped similarly-tricky Dan in Real Life open to $11.8 million in 2007, and his brand has held up fine in the years since then. Seeking a Friend's best chance at true success is if it generates strong word-of-mouth coming out of opening weekend, though a 55 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes suggests that might not happen.
Woody Allen's To Rome With Love is opening at five locations—three in New York, two in Los Angeles—this weekend. Last year, Allen's Midnight in Paris had one of the best limited debuts ever with $599,003 at six theaters, and went on to set a new record for the writer-director with $56.8 million. While that's surely given the Allen brand a boost, the success of his movies is almost directly correlated to perceived quality. For example, Allen was hot coming off 2008's Vicky Cristina Barcelona ($23.2 million), but his next movie Whatever Works received a middling 50 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and wound up earning just $5.3 million. While To Rome with Love will benefit from a stronger cast and a higher-grossing predecessor, it also doesn't seem to be clicking with critics and, anecdotally, with those who saw the movie at its LA Film Fest premiere last week. Sony Pictures Classics is planning an aggressive expansion that culminates with a July 6 nationwide launch.
Weekend Forecast (June 22-24)
1. Brave - $64.7 million
2. Abraham Lincoln - $17.1 million
3. Madagascar 3 - $15.3 million (-55%)
4. Prometheus - $10.7 million (-48%)
Seeking a Friend - $8.2 million
Bar for Success
It's okay if Brave misses the $60 million standard Pixar opening, though not by much—it really ought to be earning at least $50 million this weekend. With a very wide release and 3D ticket pricing, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter needs to earn a minimum of $20 million this weekend, while Seeking a Friend at the End of the World should be in good shape anywhere close to $10 million.
End of Article.
The Hollywood Reporter
Box Office Preview: 'Brave' to Slay 'Abraham Lincoln' With About $60 Million
5:19 PM PDT 6/21/2012 by Pamela McClintock
The animated tentpole could hit $60 million in another win for Pixar; 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' expecting $15 million-$20 million opening, while the indie pic "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is eyeing $5 million-$7 million.
Vampires and America's greatest president will be no match for a redheaded Scottish princess at the domestic box office this weekend.
Pixar and Disney's Brave is on course to easily best 20th Century Fox's fantasy epic Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, as well as smaller indie player Seeking a Friend at the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.
Brave will play in a total of 4,164 theaters, the widest release ever for a Pixar title. The majority of those runs, 2,790, will be in 3D.
Most box-office observers are predicting a solid $55 million to $60 million opening for Brave -- the first Pixar title to feature a female heroine -- while some believe it could land in the $62 million range. That's lower than many of the company's titles, though Ratatouille only grossed $47 million in its debut yet went on to cume $206.4 million domestically.
The biggest question for Brave is how much sway it will have over boys. The storyline centers on the talented archer Merida, who makes a reckless choice that imperils her kingdom and forces her to set things right. Disney has specifically targeted the male demo by playing up the film's action.
Brave is the summer's second animated event pic after Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount. Madagascar 3, benefiting from a pent-up demand for family product, opened to a sizable $60.3 million two weeks ago and has ruled the domestic box office since.
Pixar's previous film, Cars 2, debuted to $66.1 million on the same weekend a year ago. Among other Pixar entries, WALL-E opened to $63.1 million in summer 2008 and Up to $68.1 million in 2009.
Abraham Lincoln is eyeing a debut in the $15 million to $20 million range. Fox won a heated bidding war for the project, which was shopped by Russian director Timur Bekmambetov, executive producer Tim Burton and writer Seth Grahame-Smith, upon whose book the film is based.
The movie is an important test for Bekmambetov, who hasn't made a movie since Wanted in 2008. That film became a box office sensation, grossing $341.5 million worldwide.
Abraham Lincoln, adapted for the big screen by Grahame-Smith and Simon Kinberg, also is an important test for what's called the "mashup" genre (Graham-Smith's book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is being developed into a film by Lionsgate).
In Abraham Lincoln, President Lincoln lives a secret life as a vampire hunter, a cause he's been dedicated to since his mother was killed by the undead. The problem is even bigger now, with vampires intent on taking over the United States.
Abraham Lincoln stars Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and cost close to $70 million to produce. It's tracking best among younger males, followed by older males.
Directed and written by Lorene Scafaria, Seeking a Friend is predicted to open in the $5 million to $7 million range. Indian Paintbrush produced the film, with Focus Features distributing domestically.
The indie film, which only goes out in 1,618 runs, cost $5 million to produce. The plot revolves around Dodge (Carell), who hits the road in search of his high school sweetheart after news breaks that a laser sent into space to prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth has failed. He's accompanied on the journey by Penny (Knightley).
End of Article.
Rotten Tomatoes: Opening Weekend Friday morning consensus is now down again from up and down roller coaster, to 69% Fresh, but this time a score of 84% of those who've actually seen the movie like it. The scores will continue to fluctuate as more reviews get added and as more RT.com community members actually see the movie.
Metacritic: Metascore 68 out of 100, Reviews range from a score of 100 to a low score of 40.
Movie Mom at BeliefNet.com : A+
Kids In Mind: 2 Sex and Nudity, 4 Violence and Gore, 1 Profanity :
Plugged In, a media review service for families by Dr. Charles Dobson's Focus On The Family: Positive review, notes some parts can be scary, but compared to prior standards of excellence of Pixar films "Brave" is a disappointment.
Catholic News Service (replaces US Conference of Catholic Bishops) : No review yet.
Track box office at Box Office Mojo.com, "Brave" production budget was $185 million. It's original title was "Bear and the Bow".