Can Bruce Willis still make it as an action hero?
The onetime John McClane, a bit older now, leads Disney's "Blade Runner"-esque thriller "Surrogates," as a detective living a future in which people experience pretty much everything through robotic extensions.
But his real challenge is at the box office, up against MGM's 29-year-old musical franchise, "Fame," and last week's champ, Sony 3D animated film “Cloudy and a Chance of Meatballs.”
Those are the highlights of a weekend box office that will also prominently include
Overture's bloody R-rated space thriller, "Pandorum."
In addition to "Pandorum," Overture is also set to open Michael Moore's new
film, "Capitalism: A Love Story" in limited release. The R-rated documentary will start out in four theaters in New York and L.A. before moving onto wide release next weekend.
After opening to $30.1 million last week, “Meatballs” is predicted to challenge Disney’s “Surrogates” for the top spot, with the live-action sci-fi film opening in 2,951 theaters. Rival studio sources say the film is tracking in the mid-to-high teens.
“They’re getting a great number for both younger and older males,” said a distribution exec for a rival studio.
MGM, meanwhile, plans to debut a remake of 1980's “Fame” in 3,096 locations. Featuring Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally and Charles S. Dutton, MGM officials say the movie is tracking in the $14-$15 million range -- a nice start for a film they say was budgeted at only $18 million.
“Right now, tracking tells us that it’s resonating real well with girls 12-16, but we’re also getting their parents,” said MGM distribution head Erik Lomis. “I don’t know that there’s a lot of competition this week for (female ticket buyers).
Indeed, “Fame” enters a market with no new femme-skewing entries, with Universal romantic drama “Love Happens” (debuted at $8.1 million last weekend) being the only recently premiered competition.
“If anything is going to outperform tracking this weekend, it’s going to be ‘Fame,’” said a distribution exec at a rival studio.
Facing a slightly more uphill battle is Overture's “Alien”-esque “Pandorum,” which stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster as astronauts trapped aboard a ship with deadly secrets.
Arriving in a market littered with the skeletal remains of several R-rated horror/thriller flops -- among them, Summit Entertainment’s “Sorority Row,” Warner’s “Whiteout” and Fox’s Diablo Cody-penned “Jennifer’s Body” -- a rival studio distribution exec said “Pandorum” “will have a tough time making double digits.” He predicted the film will do somewhere between $6 million to $8 million in business.