Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Weekend Box Office: 'Transcendence' Could Stumble as 'Heaven Is for Real' Starts Strong

Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, and Sony TriStar are all battling for No. 1 at the box office this weekend.

Sony TriStar's Heaven Is for Real could make a surprise run for No. 1 this weekend. Credit: Sony, Time Warner

In a perfect case of timing over sheer budgetary might, this weekend's box office promises two very different takes on life after death.

At first glance, it's easy to assume an easy win for Transcendence from Alcon Entertainment and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) Warner Bros. The special-effects-heavy sci-fi thriller not only boasts an estimated $100 million budget and Johnny Depp as the headliner, but also stands as the only film entering wide release in more than 3,400 theaters this weekend. But early tracking pegs Transcendence "only" grossing between $20 million and $25 million this weekend, which means it could face stiff competition for the top spot.

Perhaps the most unexpected of those competitors is Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) TriStar's $12 million effort in Heaven Is for Real, which opens in just 2,417 theaters this weekend and already gathered $3.7 million from its U.S. debut on Wednesday. The touching adaptation of Pastor Todd Burpo's book of the same name tells the story of his son's brush with death and -- most intriguingly -- his subsequent, inexplicable description of Heaven.

Considering its early numbers, an "A" CinemaScore from polled audiences, and that Sony purposefully lined up the launch of Heaven Is for Real leading up to Easter in the U.S., don't be surprised if the faith-based film manages to tack on another $20 million by Monday.

Don't count out the holdovers
But we also can't forget last week's champions in Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2 from News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS  ) subsidiary Blue Sky Studios.

Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, and Sony TriStar are all battling for No. 1 at the box office this weekend.

Credit: Disney/Marvel

Disney's comic book-based sequel is already on a roll. After setting a new April debut record two weekends ago at $95 million, Winter Soldier once again grabbed the top spot last weekend with $41.3 million. Assuming a similar third-weekend drop as both its 2011 predecessor and last year's Iron Man 3, Winter Soldier should arrive somewhere in the $20 million to $21 million range. As it stands, Winter Soldier has already grossed nearly $503 million worldwide, proving itself a massive hit for Disney even given its lofty $170 million budget.

Meanwhile, Rio 2 opened reasonably strong for News Corp last weekend at $39.3 million, and should benefit from its status as the newest family-centric movie on the big screen right now -- Disney's Muppets Most Wanted and DreamWorksMr. Peabody & Sherman are already approaching their fifth and seventh weekends, respectively.

Credit: News Corp/Blue Sky Studios

Keeping in mind the first Rio fell just 32.9% in its own second weekend three years ago, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Rio 2 flies to the top this time with $25 million. That'd be great for News Corp, which shelled out $103 million for the animated movie and has already enjoyed nearly $171 million in global box office receipts.

Here's how you can get rich
It's not too often you see a close four-way battle for first place at the weekend box office, so you can bet I'll touch base throughout the weekend to see how each movie is faring.

In the meantime, with all the focus on the big screen, don't forget all of these companies are still fighting for attention in your living room after the curtains fall. You already know cable is going away, but do you know how to profit when it does? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not the companies you might think.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2919780, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/1/2015 10:12:13 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Steve Symington

Technology and consumer goods specialist for the Fool. Steve looks for responsible businesses which positively shape our lives. Then, he invests accordingly. Enjoy his work? Connect with him on Twitter & Facebook so you don't miss a thing.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,205.83 -322.20 -1.95%
S&P 500 1,930.79 -41.39 -2.10%
NASD 4,703.96 -72.55 -1.52%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/1/2015 9:56 AM
DIS $100.56 Down -1.32 -1.30%
Walt Disney CAPS Rating: *****
NWS $13.48 Down -0.35 -2.53%
News Corporation CAPS Rating: No stars
SNE $25.01 Down -0.77 -2.99%
Sony Corp (ADR) CAPS Rating: **
TWX $70.28 Down -0.82 -1.15%
Time Warner CAPS Rating: ***
DWA $19.75 Down -0.19 -0.95%
DreamWorks Animati… CAPS Rating: ***