LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Talk about double-dipping.
Saturday is Valentine's Day and Monday is Presidents Day, the first such combo in five years. So with the boxoffice hot of late, Hollywood is smacking its lips over the prospect of a torrid four-day frame.
Warner Bros.' R-rated horror pic "Friday the 13th" is sure to be No. 1, targeting $27 million-$30 million through Monday thanks to strong and broad prerelease interest.
"We've got young males and young females," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "And because the franchise has a bit of a history to it, we've got the older audience as well. Jason is a well-established character in the horror genre."
The latest "Friday" -- the 11th installment -- essentially remakes the 1980 original. Franchise predecessor "Jason X" bowed in April 2002 with $6.6 million en route to $12.2 million domestically. The dueling-slasher picture "Freddy vs. Jason" opened to $36.4 million in 2003 and wrapped with $82.2 million -- more than the five previous "Friday the 13th" films combined.
The latest edition is helmed by Marcus Nispel (the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" redo), numbers Michael Bay among its producers and stars Jared Padalecki ("Cry Wolf") and Danielle Panabaker ("Mr. Brooks"). But with a signature high body count of the young and beautiful, this "Friday" is best described as ensemble.
The session's other two wide openers offer distinctly different types of films: Disney debuts the youthful comedy "Confessions of a Shopaholic," and Sony sends out political thriller "The International."
"'Friday the 13th' is clearly the frontrunner, and after that it's every man for himself," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said. "We'll be a part of that mix and certainly hope to get our share."
Some have suggested that the consumer-oriented theme of "Shopaholic" might prove out of step with the tough economic times. But studio executives note the film's underlying message: Don't look to material goods for personal happiness.
"Shopaholic" could ring up something north of $20 million during the long frame.
"International," which opened the Berlin International Film Festival this month, could register as much as $20 million domestically. Executives see a chance for outsized foreign grosses for the picture, directed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), because of its global-banking-conspiracy theme.
Holdover pictures, including Warners' reigning champ "He's Just Not That Into You" and Fox's Liam Neeson thriller "Taken," also are likely to take in a good bit of coin. The latter dropped only 17% last weekend during its second session, and has earned $57 million through Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Sony's Kevin James starrer "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" had registered $98 million through Wednesday, a box office haul perhaps double what most might have expected.
Collectively, moviegoers seem to be telling studios, "Give us some fluff, we'll give you the green stuff." There's also consensus that the studios have scheduled a nicely diverse array of commercial fare this winter.
Whatever the industry is doing right, it has added up to year-over-year weekend increases in four of the five frames this year.
Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters