“Dark Knight Rises” will take a third-week victory lap at the North American box office this weekend say industry analysts, who predict a $37 million three-day haul. But the focus will be on the “Total Recall” remake starring Colin Farrell.
Sony, buoyed by a late surge in tracking, is looking for its redo of the 1990 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger to open at $30 million or a little lower. The analysts, who set their projections earlier, see it bowing at around $23 million. That's dangerously close to the weekend’s other wide opener, Fox’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” pegged for $21 million.
Hard to imagine Arnold getting beat up by a wimpy kid, isn’t it? That's part of the intrigue going into the weekend, in which neither the Olympics' second weekend nor the lingering effects of the Colorado shootings aftermath are expected to be much of a factor.
The creative team and the marketing department at Sony faced the same conundrum with “Total Recall” all movie re-dos deal with: How do you offer a take fresh enough to attract new moviegoers without alienating devoted fans of the original?
It can be done. Fox scored with last summer’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which opened to $54 million in the U.S. and went on to gross $177 million domestically and $482 million worldwide.
But things can, as they say in sci-fi movies, go horribly wrong. Two recent updates on Schwarzenegger films are prime examples. Last year’s “Conan," with Jason Momoa as the barbarian, bombed. And 2010’s “Predators," with Adrien Brody stepping in for Arnold, didn’t fare much better.
Sony is opening the movie, produced by Toby Jaffe and Neil Moritz and directed by Len Wiseman (“Underworld”), in 3,600 locations.
The action-heavy PG-13 film -- the original was rated R -- cost around $125 million to make and is the first of two big bets the studio is making on remakes of sci-fi classics. They’re rolling out a redo of “Robocop,” the 1987 hit starring Peter Weller, in August of next year.
The casting of the new film is intriguing. Kate Beckinsale is in the part played by Sharon Stone in the original, Jessica Biel takes the role played by Rachel Ticotin and Bryan Cranston replaces Ronny Cox as Cohaagan.
Just 21 percent of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and 44.5 percent of the notices on Movie Review Intelligence are positive. MetaCritic gives it a 49 rating.
Fox is opening “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," the third film in the franchise based on the Jeff Kinney books, on roughly 3,100 screens. Zachary Gordon and Steve Zahn return to star in this film, which cost around $22 million to produce.
The studio would be happy to see returns comparable to the first two films, and thinks it will get there, albeit with a softer opening, likely between $15 million and $17 million. The original “Diary of Wimpy Kid” opened to $22 million and went on to make $64 million in 2010. Last year, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” made $57 million after bowing to $23 million. It is rated PG.
Warner Bros.’ “Dark Knight Rises” has already earned more than $310 million at the domestic box office and nearly $250 million more overseas, so it’s a bona fide blockbuster. But the likelihood that the final film in director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy will hit $1 billion at the worldwide box office appears less solid.
“I still think it’s going to get there,” BoxOffice.com editor-in-chief Phil Contrino told TheWrap Thursday, “but it’s going to be closer than we figured.”
The impact is immeasurable, but the box-office performance of “Dark Knight Rises” will always be viewed through the prism of the Colorado theater tragedy and its aftermath. It’s currently running behind “Dark Knight,” which had made $342 million domestically after the same 13 days in release.
In terms of overseas sales, “Dark Knight Rises” has brought in $250 million in two weeks. It will be in 58 territories after adding Portugal this week. To hit the $1 billion plateau, "Dark Knight Rises" will almost surely have to make more overseas than in the U.S., which would be a first for a Batman movie.
Upping the odds it will do that is the fact that "Dark Knight Rises" will play in China later this summer -- "The Dark Knight" did not -- which could bring in north of $50 million alone.