"Brave" will take aim at its second box-office bull's-eye this weekend even as an old lady, male strippers and a talking teddy bear look to take it down. Disney/Pixar's 13th consecutive #1 film faces new competition this weekend from the likes of "Madea's Witness Protection," "Magic Mike" and "Ted."
Industry prognosticators predicted a variety of possible outcomes to MTV News. "It's been quite a while since we've seen a three-horse race at the box office, but that's exactly what we have with 'Ted,' 'Madea' and 'Magic Mike' all expected to open with $20-plus million," said Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. " 'Magic Mike' is definitely the dark horse of the weekend. Advance sales have been through the roof!"
"We're predicting $29 million for 'Magic Mike' and $33 million for 'Brave,' but I wouldn't be surprised if 'Magic Mike' really breaks out," said Boxoffice.com editor Phil Contrino. "The main comparison we're using, at least for now, is 'Bridesmaids.' Both films appeal to women who want a little raunchiness."
Keith Simanton, managing editor for IMDb.com, said the weekend should belong to Tyler Perry. "There's a neck-and-neck for third place this weekend with two R-Rated films. Ultimately, however, I think 'Ted' is in fourth at $23 million behind the 'girls-night-out' draw of 'Mike,' which I believe comes in at $28 million."
Simanton predicted $31 million for "Brave" (Bock's estimate was closer to $40 million) and put "Madea" at #1 with $38 million, despite the movie only playing in 2,000 locations. "A funnier-than-expected trailer and a great track record for Perry in this character puts it at the top spot," he said.
"Ted" is the first live-action movie from "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane, who also provided the voice for the title character. There's an interesting parallel between McFarlane's foray into live-action feature films and that of Mike Judge. The "Beavis & Butthead" creator's "Office Space" is a beloved cult classic today, but it flopped when it was released. His follow-ups, like "Idiocracy" with Luke Wilson, similarly failed to take flight. "The sales of Sour Patch Kids at last weekend's 'Avengers' screenings probably made the equivalent of 'Extract's entire domestic and international run," Simanton noted.
"MacFarlane's sense of humor is little more mainstream than Judge," Contrino pointed out. "MacFarlane will be more successful in the world of movies than Judge. More people get his jokes." He predicted $26 million for "Ted." "The market for an R-rated comedy is wide open after the disappointing performance of 'That's My Boy.' "
Bock predicted a similar number for "Ted" but cautioned: "As much as Seth McFarlane has riding on 'Ted,' Mark Wahlberg is right there with him. We know Wahlberg can open an action flick in his sleep, and with Will Ferrell's help we saw him cut his comedy chops in the action/comedy 'The Other Guys.' But this is his first solo comedy act, so he definitely still has a lot to prove."
Simanton said the actor has little to worry about. "Wahlberg isn't carrying this film, the bear is, so the concept outstrips his need to be a draw. In fact, Wahlberg's sometimes opaque persona lends itself well to the idea behind 'Ted,' putting the actor in the role of straight man, acting as support to the CGI-stuffed star bear."
Speaking of careers, in a recent piece for Boxoffice.com, Contrino pointed out that audiences probably aren't aware that "Magic Mike" was directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Contagion"). "I don't think Warner Bros. wants you to know that this film came from a serious director," Bock reasoned.
"The pervasive humor in the trailer offsets the fact that Soderbergh is making a real movie, even if he even claims he isn't," Simanton added.
"The promo campaign may be a bit manipulative," Contrino agreed. "It promises a lot of fun, but the film has more depth to it."
What will "Magic Mike" mean for the much smaller "People Like You," which also opens this weekend? "With women 'all-in' for 'Mike,' that doesn't leave much room for this romantic drama. Against 'Magic Mike,' 'People' will be in and out of theatres faster than you can say. 'banana hammock.' "
All of the experts who spoke with MTV News about this weekend's new films agreed that "Beasts of the Southern Wild," in limited release, should perform well for Fox Searchlight. " 'Beasts' is the best film I've seen in my 10 years of attending Sundance," Simanton raved.
"It will do crazy per-location numbers (over $40K) and, I hope, continue to do so," he added.
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