For three weeks Captain America: The Winter Solider has topped the box office, but this weekend a new threesome is coming to Cineplexes with an eye on the top spot. While one looks like it may be up for the task, many are wondering if the super solider may hold on a little longer ... at least until a certain web-slinger returns next week.
The Other Woman
The highest profile of the new films coming to theaters is Fox's (NASDAQ:FOXA) The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton. Diaz plays a woman in love, but soon finds her Prince Charming (Game of Thrones breakout Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is not only married, but cheating on both her and his wife. Comedy of course ensues as the three scorned women team up to extract revenge.
Comedies and female-centric films have been in short supply this spring, so expect women to come out in force to see a movie marketed toward them. Early estimates have Woman in the high teens to low 20s with conservative numbers hovering around $16 million to $18 million.
The movie also marks the first of three films this year featuring Cameron Diaz, who hasn't opened a movie largely on her own name since 2011's Bad Teacher. While 20th Century Fox only has a stake in this one, Sony has a vested interested in the other two (Sex Tape and Annie ) featuring the There's Something About Mary star, so those executives will be keeping an eye on the film's box office take.
In fact a lot of eyes will be on Diaz this weekend to see if she still has the ability to headline a film. The presence of Upton could also help support her, especially with male viewers though they aren't the film's main target demographic.
The bigger question is going to be how much Winter Solider will drop -- last week it slipped just 38% and made another $25 million (crossing the $200 million mark). If the film falls by that much again, it will make this a competitive race.
This weekend will also see the release of Relativity's Brick Mansions, one of Paul Walker's final roles. You can't help but think about what a promising future Walker had ahead of him. The affable star of The Fast & The Furious series died over the Thanksgiving weekend last year in a car accident and both the industry and his loyal fanbase was caught completely off guard.
Mansions centers on Walker as a cop sent into a walled off area of Detroit left to govern itself after one of its inhabitants hatches a plan of widespread destruction. This is a straight out action film with a gritty edge and that means it's playing almost exclusively to the male demographic. Early estimates have this having a hard time breaking $10 million and likely that would have been the case no matter the circumstances. The film won't have the same appeal of Fast & Furious, but will still give moviegoers a solid weekend alternative.
The Quiet Ones
Rounding out the trio is The Quiet Ones, which stars Jared Harris and is inspired by actual events. Harris (of Mad Men fame) plays a college professor who along with his students conduct experiments on a haunted young woman with terrifying results. The plot is based on the "Phillips Experiments" in which a Toronto-based team tried to prove that ghosts and spirits were all manifestations of the human mind. This takes it in a new and creepy direction, but the basic idea is similar.
Horror films have had a rough go of it this year. Audiences are no longer game to spend $15 for a fright (especially since paying $15 for a ticket is frightening enough). Yet the horror genre is one with ebbs and flows and while it's cold now, that can change at any time. The film's distributor Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF.A) also has a history of these types of film with the Saw franchise the most profitable.
Like with Mansions, early buzz has the movie taking in about $10 million, which would put it between other 2014 horror films such as Devil's Due (which opened to $8.3 million) and Oculus (which opened to $12 million). Keep in mind that none of these movies were ultra-expensive to make and they all have turned a profit. Still, over the last few years the genre was pulling in nearly $20 million on opening weekend thanks to movies like Mama and Evil Dead. That is no longer the case and this huge backlog of films are cannibalizing each other and chipping away even more at profits.
However next weekend the summer season begins and all the rules officially go out the window so stay tuned as you never know what could happen at the box office during the industry's marquee time period.