LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - His records sell millions, his Facebook fans number more than 20 million, and even his nail polish is a sell out.
But can 16 year-old Justin Bieber conquer the North American box office this weekend with his new concert movie “Never Say Never”?
Probably not, according to Hollywood box office analyst Exhibitor Relations. But the Canadian teen idol’s 3-D biopic is expected to pull in about $24 million on its opening weekend after mostly positive reviews — even from middle-aged movie critics.
“Bieber may have box office clout, but not like Adam Sandler, who will likely top the Valentine’s weekend session with his latest ‘Just Go With It’” romantic comedy, wrote Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations.
Bock estimated that “Just Go With It,” co-starring Jennifer Aniston, would bring in about $38 million, knocking the Bieber fever movie into second place.
“Never Say Never” — a combination of concert movie and behind the scenes footage of Bieber’s rise to fame after being discovered on YouTube — is the latest concert movie to test fans’ appetite for seeing singers perform on the big screen.
Miley Cyrus set the bar in 2008 with her 3-D “Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” that pulled in $31 million at the North American box office on its opening weekend. The Jonas Brothers fared less well in 2009 with a disappointing $12.5 million opening for “The 3D Concert Experience”.
The Hollywood Reporter said that “Never Say Never” should “make believers out of all but the most hardened of skeptics”, praising its “visually energetic approach.”
Marshall Fine of Hollywoodandfine.com, admitted he couldn’t name a single Bieber song. But after seeing the movie “even someone who lacks susceptibility to Bieber fever can be impressed by the kid’s precocity.”
The Los Angeles Times said the film was “a bit of a mess” structurally but doubted that the singer’s fans would care.
“Never Say Never” scored a 60 rating on movie review aggregator website rottentomatoes.com.
Bieber told Reuters TV earlier this week that he wanted to show the world “what I’m about and how I got here and what struggles I’ve been going through, and I just wanted the world to see that I’m a regular 16-year-old.”
Not quite so regular. Bieber was the fourth best selling music artist in the United States in 2010, with 3.7 million album sales, mostly for his second album “My World 2.0”, according to Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan.
He has also become a pop culture phenomenon, inspiring a range of dolls and toys and even a nail polish line. Nail care company Nicole by Opi said on Thursday that it had sold more than one million bottles of its Bieber-inspired “One Less Lonely Girl” collection since December, and planned to triple production to meet worldwide demand.
“Never Say Never” is released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. Bieber is attached to Island Records, a unit of Vivendi’s Universal Music.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte