We've Got Hollywood Covered

Why James Bond’s ‘Spectre’ Should Fear Snoopy’s Bite at Box Office

The super spy thriller is heading for an $80 million U.S. debut say the analysts, and Snoopy and the gang could top $50 million

Charlie Brown doesn’t seem like a classic James Bond villain at first glance. But maybe that bald, round head, not unlike that of 007’s arch-villain Ernest Stavro Blofeld, is telling.

“The Peanuts Movie” is going to put a dent in the opening grosses of “Spectre,” the 24th chapter in the blockbuster 007 movie franchise that arrives in theaters Friday along with Charlie Brown and his posse. The question is, how much will Snoopy’s bite hurt?

“Spectre” will debut at around $80 million, industry analysts say, in the same range as the previous Bond film “Skyfall,” which went on to gross $1.1 billion globally in 2012 and become the highest-grossing film in the series. Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie” is expected to come in at around $50 million, but if families drive it higher, it will take a larger toll on Bond.

“Anything over $35 million is probably coming out of Bond,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told TheWrap Tuesday. “While ‘The Peanuts Movie’ would seem to be aimed at much younger fans, families will go to both movies and I think Charlie Brown will bring some teens in, too.”

Fox distribution president Chris Aronson agreed, noting that while there doesn’t seem to be much overlap on paper, there really is.

“Adult women will be an interesting group to watch,” he said, citing a group that will include moms choosing between “Peanuts” with the kids and the sexy super spy. Aronson is more conservative than the analysts, and says that “any number with a four in front of it” would make him happy.

The demo breakdown for “Peanuts” will be interesting because the Charles Schultz comic strip that the film is based on ran from 1950 to 2000 and was accompanied by tons of paperback compilations. That means it could attract three generations of fans — but hasn’t been front and center for 15 years.

The film, which is very much in mold of the beloved TV specials, is clicking with critics counted on Rotten Tomatoes, so far. Our of the eight reviews available, six are positive, giving the G-rated feature a 75 percent approval rating on top of a solid social media presence. It is pacing ahead of “Hotel Transylvania 2” and “Goosebumps,” which opened to $48 million and $26 million, respectively.

The Bond vs. Brown battle will be in the spotlight in North America, but the emphasis on “Spectre” is global. With a budget that distributor Sony Pictures put at $245 million after tax rebates, international success is must for “Spectre” to be profitable for Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson‘s Eon Productions and MGM.

After taking in more than $80 million from the U.K. and six other countries in its record-breaking debut

“Spectre” will roll out in 66 more foreign markets this weekend, after taking in more than $80 million from the U.K. and six other countries in its record-breaking debut last weekend, which was bigger than that of “Skyfall.”

“Spectre” has had a its share of hiccups on the way to the screen, from stolen scripts and reshoots to Craig’s voicing Bond fatigue. But the critics like it (65 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), it’s ahead of “Skyfall” on Facebook (though behind it on Twitter), and advance tickets sales have been huge.

“Skyfall” director Sam Mendes returns and Christoph Waltz joins the cast as the baddie, a key element in most 007 films, along with Monica Belluci. The Bond girl this time is Lea Seydoux.

Charlie, Snoopy, and Linus will have one advantage over Bond when battling for box office dominance this weekend. “The Peanuts Movie” will be in 3,890 locations while “Spectre” will be in around 3,700. The animated gang will also benefit from 3D premiums, while 007 will only have IMAX theaters boosting ticket prices.