I was asked on the radio this AM about the movie that would own the box office this weekend, and my knee-jerk response was that “Turbo,” the new animated film, would ride OK buzz and passable reviews and 3D ticket prices into victory lane.
But will it?
Box Office Mojo takes last month’s surprise by “The Purge,” a non-supernatural horror thriller, as its marching orders and predicts “The Conjuring” could set a new horror opening weekend record. The reviews are certainly good enough.
But never confuse what critics are saying with audience interest. I went to a preview screening, always crowded with free ticket winners, for “The Conjuring.” And there were tons of empty seats. Not as many as there were for “R.I.P.D.” last night, but people LOVE free movies and when a radio station cannot give away enough tickets to fill a theater, or the people who won those tickets have so little interest they don’t show up, that’s not a good sign.
I could see “Conjuring” clearing $20. But no Ethan Hawke, no sci-fi element? I will be very surprised if it clears $30. The Box Office Guru agrees with me and sees $26 or so for this one.
With the superior “Despicable Me 2” still siphoning off audience, “Turbo” could be straining to make its budget back.
“Red 2” could surprise, being a brand name now, and all. $20 million is within reach. Mr. Mojo thinks $18 is more like it.
“R.I.P.D.” feels “DOA,” as the joke goes. Any interest in this comic book adaptation? Maybe. It could clear $15-20, right? For a 3D film, that would be a disaster. $30? Maybe. The Guru figures $10 and and Box Office Mojo thinks $7.8 will be on the mark. They’re probably right, but I’m still think $20 is closer to the mark, even if they gave up on marketing it.