It’s been 25 years since Bruce Willis first jumped from an exploding rooftop, and now, he’s about to rule the box office all over again as grizzled New York City cop John McLane. “A Good Day to Die Hard” is expected to own President’s Day Weekend.
The fifth entry in the action franchise that turned Willis from a TV star to a movie star back in 1988 could make as much as $55 million by Monday night, according to The Los Angeles Times. 20th Century Fox (whose own Fox Plaza doubled as fictitious Nakatomi Plaza in the first film) estimated a weekend closer to $40 million for the new “Die Hard,” which they released into theaters on Wednesday.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” is the worst reviewed of the classic action series, sitting at a lowly 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer,” which aggregates reviews from critics. However, much like last weekend’s #1 movie, it should prove to be critic-proof with moviegoers. “If ’Identity Thief’ has taught us anything, it’s that quality and box office do not need to pair up,” IMDB.com’s Keith Simanton told MTV News.
Simanton predicted a $44 million haul for “A Good Day to Die Hard,” which sees McLane paired up with his son (played Jai Courtney). Willis recently told MTV News that the onscreen father-son relationship isn’t too much unlike “real life.” The last movie, 2007’s “Live Free or Die Hard,” included McLane’s grown-up daughter. The PG-13 rating prevented the full inclusion of McLane’s signature catchphrase last time, but this new one is rated R. Some theaters ran a “Die Hard Marathon,” similar to “Batman” events from last year. The international locales should help worldwide.
“It’s awfully hard to believe that the franchise is entering its fourth decade in theaters,” noted Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock. “It all began in 1988 with a film that cut to the chase, redefining what an action flick was all about, and eventually spawning a whole new way of thinking about action flicks: It’s like ’Die Hard,’ on a boat, or on a train, or on a plane… with snakes.”
Bock noted that the female audience will be split between the gothic romance “Beautiful Creatures” and the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, “Safe Haven.” He predicted Willis “will deliver the box office a Valentine sealed with a kiss, kiss and a whole lotta of bang, bang for their buck — upwards of $40 million over the four-day President’s Day weekend and zeroing in on $50 million including the Valentine’s Day haul.”
“Safe Haven,” starring Josh Duhamel, should generate $23 to $25 million. “Beautiful Creatures” should be somewhere behind it in the high teens. “Escape from Planet Earth 3D” is a bit of a dark horse, being the only new film in some time aimed squarely at kids.
“It may just be the right film at the right time, as this is the first ’toon to be released in 2013, and, the fact is, multiplexes haven’t seen an original animated release since Thanksgiving’s ’Rise of the Guardians,’ ” said Bock, predicting $15 million for the flick.
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