"Wreck-It Ralph" is likely to top the box-office this weekend, but the effect of this week's devastating weather is less certain.
"Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath may have an effect on the box office, but with the New York Marathon looking like it will still happen, the old adage, 'the show much go on,' seems very timely," Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. "I think we may see a minimal 5 percent drop in attendance for the debuts of 'Wreck-It Ralph' and 'Flight,' but nothing that will ultimately affect the bottom line.'"
IMDB's Keith Simanton was similarly optimistic. "The counter-intuitive approach may work. Many theaters are likely to be up and running and offering a respite (and lighting) from the clean-up. If there is a drop this weekend, it's most likely slight and not necessarily tied into Sandy."
The weekend's major new releases include Disney's video game-centric kids' tale "Wreck-It Ralph" (featuring the voices of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman) and Denzel Washington's "Flight." There is also the RZA's directorial debut "The Man with the Iron Fists" (produced by Quentin Tarantino). Industry experts predicted an easy win for "Ralph."
Simanton predicted a $45 million debut for "Ralph." "Its clever premise, that blends vintage game characters with entirely new ones (from all across the gaming spectrum), should work well to get the whole family to venture out," he said.
Bock noted that "Ralph" should be more comparable in appeal to a Pixar flick than straightforward video game adaptations. "There's isn't much difference between a Disney animated movie and a Pixar one these days, as 'Tangled' really was the first to blur the lines between the two, and ended up with a Pixar-size gross of $590 million worldwide," he pointed out.
"That won't necessarily be the case for 'Wreck-It Ralph,' which does have strong reviews and looks charming, in a poignantly hipster sort of way, but it is certainly geared very heavily to young boys and their dads more than, say, Rapunzel," he added. "Princess movies are Disney's bread and butter, and Nintendo's Princess Peach and Princess Zelda are unfortunately nowhere to be found here. Still, ever since [Disney bought Pixar], Disney Animation toons have given males and females equal screen time, like with 'Tangled.' Expect audiences to plug in about $40 million worth of quarters into Disney's slots."
"Flight" will be playing in less theaters this weekend, but should still do decent business. "Director Robert Zemeckis also turned an unlikely film concept into a hit over a decade ago, when his last live-action film, 'Cast Away,' washed up $233 million over the 2000 holiday season," Bock pointed out. He predicted an opening around $17 million for "Flight."
RZA's martial arts flick could muster up something in the $8 million range. Last week's #1 movie, Ben Affleck's "Argo," should remain in the top five. "Hotel Transylvania" and "Taken 2" were the first movies of the fall to cross the $100 million mark. Next weekend's new James Bond flick, "Skyfall," may be next to get to that number, though certainly a little film called "Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" won't have any problem crossing that mark when it hits theaters on November 16.
Check out everything we've got on "Wreck-It Ralph."