Superbowl Sunday always takes a bite out of the box office, but the hungry zombies in "Warm Bodies" should have plenty to celebrate this weekend nevertheless. The horror/comedy is expected to win the weekend with about $17 million.
The movie stars Teresa Palmer and MTV Hollywood Crush's recent "Hump Day Hottie" Nicholas Hoult. Horror flicks like "Texas Chainsaw 3D," "A Haunted House" and "Mama" have done well in 2013 and the PG-13 "Warm Bodies," about a teenage zombie in a post-apocalyptic world who falls in love with a living girl, should follow suit.
"Box-office brains and bucks will be devoured, as 'Warm Bodies' is billed as the first zombie rom-com," Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. "That's great counter-programming with the Super Bowl taking center stage, as Lionsgate/Summit — which released 'Twilight,' 'The Hunger Games' and 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' — definitely has their finger on the pulse of teens and hipsters."
Unfortunately, the New Year hasn't been kind to "The Expendables" veterans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham, who both saw their respective vehicles flop. Sylvester Stallone looks likely to be next in line with "Bullet to the Head," in which the 66-year-old star plays a hit man. Industry projections put its opening at about $7 million.
"The truth may hurt, but as we saw with 'The Last Stand' and 'Parker' these past two weeks, people want their muscles as a multi-pack these days, not individually wrapped," said Bock. "While 'The Expendables' extended their collective big-screen careers, it also now plays a part in the limp openings of their solo missions."
MovieFanatic.com's Joel Amos pointed out that "The Expendables 3" will definitely still be on the way. One other seemingly sure thing is that Academy Awards contenders like "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty" should continue to generate interest, though last week's #1 movie, "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," will likely suffer a steep second-weekend decline. The Guillermo Del Toro-produced "Mama" has shown some resilience, however.
"'Hansel & Gretel' is pretty much toast, and there aren't enough bread crumbs to bring people back — one and done," Bock said. "'Mama,' on the other hand has help up decently for a horror film, much of that having to do with the fact that it's one of the few films in release that isn't rated 'R' right now."
"The Haunting in Connecticut" sequel won't be part of 2013's horror boon, as marketing has been limited and buzz is almost nil. "Stand Up Guys," in limited release, doesn't stand much of a chance, either, even with Al Pacino as one of the leads. The all-star cast of musicians assembled for Dave Grohl's "Sound City" documentary, however, could amount to solid per-screen averages as his directorial debut goes into extremely limited release. It's currently 100 percent "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, with critics and fans raving about the flick since it opened at Sundance.
Check out everything we've got on "Warm Bodies."