Updated Saturday morning:
"Friday the 13th" had a huge win at the box office on Friday the 13th. The Michael Bay remake raked in $19.3 million for Warner Bros, according to Media By Numbers.
The studio also had the number two film going into the weekend."He's Just Not That Into You," which opened last week, took in another $5 million on Friday.
More updates as they come.
It looks like moviegoers will romance their valentines with severed heads and hockey masks this weekend.
According to movie ticketing site Fandango.com, Warner Bros.’ remake “Friday the 13th” – opening on 3,105 screens -- already commands 52% of pre-sale tickets. Disney’s “Confessions of a Shopaholic” has 11%. This week’s other big studio release, Columbia’s “The International,” didn’t even crack the top five in ticket pre-sales.
If you think only pimply preteen boys will frequent “Friday,” think again. A Fandango poll found that 58% of audiences interested in seeing “Friday” intend to bring a date, and young women have been packing the multiplexes at sold-out midnight screenings.
Low pre-sale numbers won’t necessarily slash “Shopaholic” out of competition. The film will certainly attract a portion of the largely female audience who has shelled out over $33 million for “He’s Just Not That Into You,” last week’s number one movie. But the frothy, comic romance between a crazy redhead (Isla Fisher) and her credit card doesn’t have “Into You”’s A-list power, although Fisher has garnered terrific reviews for her daffy performance.
Some critics have also warned that the seemingly cute “Shopaholic” is actually a morality tale that consumers mired in the credit crunch could find more frightening than “Friday the 13th.” USA Today’s Claudia Puig called the film “the most ill-timed and appallingly insulting movie in recent memory.” Reyhan Harmanci of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “No one goes to a movie like ‘Confessions’ to receive a lesson in fiscal responsibility. And even though the film tries to say credit is bad…that moral is undercut by the constant reminders that spending money feels so, so good.”
Compared with being chased by “Shopaholics”’s debt collector, a pleasant hour and 35 with Jason Voorhees on Crystal Lake may seem like a great romantic get-a-way. “There’s nothing wrong with Jason being a conduit to a terrific Valentines evening. To me a horror film is a great date night move,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office data site Media By Numbers. “This is not torture porn. This is your classic, gory, gross-out horror film…. The R rating actually makes it more appealing. I don’t want a PG-13 ‘Friday the 13th.’ I want my gore turned up to 11.”
“Friday” also has the advantage of entering a marketplace where R-rated horror has been performing strong. “My Bloody Valentine”’s domestic gross is nearing $50 million and Dreamwork’s “The Uninvited” placed third in the box office for Super Bowl weekend with over $10 million. Remakes of 70s and 80s horror classics like “Friday” are cheaper and perform better – a trend producer Michael Bay is banking on in a big way. Bay’s 2006 remake “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” has grossed almost $40 million to date, and Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of “Halloween” raked in over $58 million. Bay’s company Platinum Dunes is now busily resurrecting “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Birds.”
For those of us who don’t count decapitation or debt consolidation among our turn-ons, there’s “The International” opening on 2,364 screens this week. Dergarabedian said the thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts as a couple embroiled in an worldwide banking scandal is poised to do solid business. Unlike “Shopaholic,” “The International” could benefit from opening in the midst of a historic financial disaster. Adult audiences might be more drawn to an action pic about two good-looking individuals squaring off against a huge, corrupt financial institution. If banks and their wealthy CEOs become the new cinematic bad guys -- just as Nazis were in the 40s, Russians in the 80s, and Arabs in the 90s – “The International” could be one of the first in a trend.
Check out TheWrap on Sunday for the weekend box office numbers.