Box Office Briefs: Bridges vs. Bears

Box Office Briefs: Bridges vs. Bears

Dec 17, 2010

A week after an expensive star-driven caper drama and an even more expensive 3D fantasy film bombed at the box office … comes more of the same?

Yep, Disney’s Tron: Legacy and Sony’s A-list-laden James L. Brooks rom-com How Do You Know will make a go of it this weekend at the same multiplexes that chewed up The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of Dawn Trader and The Tourist last weekend.

Also new to the box office: Warner’s CGI-rendered Yogi Bear, as well as adult dramas Rabbit Hole from Lionsgate and Casino Jack from ATO Pictures.

Meanwhile, awards faves The Fighter and Black Swan, which have been playing in limited release, will open up big.

Here’s what we think will be the winners and the losers this weekend:

Winners: We’ll put Disney’s re-imagining of Tron here, but with a serious asterisk. Fueled by some serious fanboy buzz coming out of Comic Con last summer -- but tempered by a lukewarm reception at press screenings -- Tron Too should still do a big number and lead the box office this weekend.

Box-office pundits are predicting a first-weekend gross of somewhere around $45 million -- which would be friggin’ amazing for star Jeff Bridges, given a lot of the tanker openings on his resume. And Tron better make that, given how much money Disney spent to make it ($170 million) and advertise it around the globe (had to be $150 million).

One thing’s for sure -- if you want to see Tron, or any other 3D movie in its native format this weekend, get there early, cuz the multiplexes have more 3D movies than they have screens that can handle them.

Contributing to that crush?

Warner’s 3D Yogi Bear is also predicted to do brisk business this weekend -- somewhere around $20 million, even though critics, for the most part, seem creeped out by the film’s CG take on the Hanna Barbara’s food-basket-focused bear (it’s at 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).

Away from big 3D tentpoles, Lionsgate will debut the cheery Rabbit Hole, which stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as a happy couple who spiral downward after their young son dies in an accident. It’ll start out in five art houses this weekend and is getting solid reviews … as really depressing movies often do this time of year.

Losers: With Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Reese Witherspoon all getting paid their full rates, the $100 million James L. Brooks romantic comedy How Do You Know has a ton of pressure on it.

Witherspoon plays a twentysomething who just can’t decide between her free-wheeling baseball-player boyfriend and a young corporate guy in crises (yeah, guess which one Wilson plays).

Critics, however, have largely made up their minds: “How do you know when to cut your losses and go see something else,” wrote the New York Daily News.

The Dark Horse: Last weekend, the Relativity Media-produced boxing biopic The Fighter quietly debuted to an outstanding $300,000 at four L.A. and Manhattan theaters.

With the Golden Globes giving the David O. Russell-directed movie six nominations, including nods for stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams, and distributor Paramount blowing out its advertising budget with TV spots this week, The Fighter won’t go quietly this weekend.

Paramount plans to expand the movie to over 2,000 theaters this weekend, and it’s predicted to gross more than $14 million and finish in third place at the box office.

Daniel’s Crystal Ball Says…

Tron: Legacy We say: $45M
Yogi Bear We say: $20M
The Fighter We say: $14M
Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader We say: $12M
How Do You Know We say: $11M
Tangled We say: $8.3M
Black Swan We say: $8M
The Tourist We say: $7M
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 We say: $4.5M
Unstoppable We say: $2M

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