Hansel and Gretel: Box Office Hunters?

BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS FOR THE WEEKEND OF JANUARY 25-27 2013

Hansel-and-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-2012-Movie-PosterThere are three new films opening in wide release this weekend: After being pushed back a year, Paramount finally releases action-centric fable Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, Relativity Media releases Movie 43, a series of loosely interconnected short comedies starring half of the actor and actresses in Hollywood and Jason Statham is back in ass kicking mode in Parker from FilmDistrict. Renner has become a big star after co-starring in The Avengers and taking the reins from Matt Damon in The Bourne Legacy, but it won’t be enough; the film will likely play out as poorly at the box office as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Movie 43 will lose the only audience that may be interested in it (teenagers) due to its R-rating and Statham will likely stay on par with the opening of his other films despite the presence of co-star Jennifer Lopez. Based on my estimates the Top 10 will generate about $82.7 million over the weekend, down about 10.5% from last year when The Grey from Open Road Films and Sony’s Underworld: Awakening led the overall Top 10 to a total of $91.4 million.
R-rated supernatural action horror hybrid Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters from Paramount stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the classic fairy tale characters who have grown up to be witch hunters just as the title suggests. The film was originally scheduled to be released last March, but Paramount decided to push back the film nearly a year; likely because they knew they had a dog on their hands and thought that Renner would be better positioned to carry the film after major exposure from The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy. Waiting to release the film probably won’t make much a difference to the potential box office for the film. Honestly, there are very few actors (if any) who could propel this film to hit territory.
The film has yet to be screened for critics which only supports the idea that the film is likely terrible and Paramount is trying to squeeze as much money out of opening weekend as they can before the film quickly disappears from theatres. The biggest obstacle in the way of the film is it’s R-rating. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is missing out on its target audience of teenage boys due to this. While the idea for a grown up Hansel and Gretel stalking witches may have seemed like a good idea in conception, the same can probably be said of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and we all know how that turned out. Look for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters to slay about $13 million this weekend.
Hoping to take advantage of the current comedy drought, Relatively Media releases R-rated comedy spoof Movie 43 starring a huge roster of actors and actresses including Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Hugh Jackman, Dennis Quaid and about a hundred others. The movie consists of a series of short comedy films that are somehow tied together by the end of the film. The question is… why? Why is this movie seemingly about nothing being released? How does something like this get made? The answer is that filmmaker Peter Farrelly (sans brother Bobby) and producer Charles Wessler (the brain trust behind the film) have many famous friends. Movie 43 has been a labor of love for Wessler for many years and one has to wonder if the end result was worth the effort.
Much like fellow new release Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Movie 43’s R-rating is a major obstacle as this type of ridiculous comedy appeals mostly to teenage boys. Add in the fact that the trailer isn’t very funny and features no discernible plot and it is easy to jump to the conclusion that the film will likely not be of much interest to adult crowds. Even worse than all that is the film’s title; it is perhaps the most oblique title in movie history. They really couldn’t come up with something better than Movie 43? With a title like that the film could be anything from a sci-fi thriller to a horror film to the 43rd entry in someone’s home videos collection. Comedy is actually one of the last genres that come to mind. Look for Movie 43 to debut with about $8.5 million this weekend.
Last weekend saw the release of 80’s action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand and this week action lovers are offered up Parker from FilmDistrict starring current ass kicker Jason Statham. Statham who is good for at least one solo action outing per year stars as a thief seeking revenge who makes an unlikely alliance with a woman who is working with the crew who betrayed him played by Jennifer Lopez. Statham has a devoted fanbase that always shows up for his films but his audience is somewhat limited. His films generally open in the $7-$10 million range and make their way to about $25-$30 million overall. Lately, his films have been opening on the lower end of the spectrum and there is no reason to believe that Parker will perform differently despite being based on a popular series of novels.
Jennifer Lopez hasn’t been really relevant at the box office for quite a while. She’s seen a spike in popularity due to her stint as a judge on American Idol for two seasons, but here’s the catch; now that she’s no longer on the reality staple, it is going to be difficult to hold on to that popularity. It is also doubtful that Statham’s audience crosses over very much with American Idol’s viewers any way. The R-rating will also restrict Stratham’s teenage fans from buying a ticket (seems to be a reoccurring theme this month). Schwarzenegger bombed last weekend, Stallone is likely going to strike out next weekend with Bullet to the Head from Warner Bros. and Statham should stay on par with his other films. It seems as though action lovers may be saving their money for the return of Bruce Willis as Detective John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. Look for Parker to steal away about $8 million this weekend.

To see the rest of my predictions for the weekend, check out the chart below.
Weekend Release Schedule, 2012 vs. 2011
JANUARY 25-27 2013
RANK
TITLE
GENRE
DISTRIBUTOR/STUDIO
FILMGO’S PREDICTION
1
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Action
Paramount
$13.0M
New
2
Zero Dark Thirty
Drama
Sony/Columbia
$12.3M
-30%
3
Mama
Horror
Universal
$11.8M
-58%
4
Movie 43
Comedy
Relativity Media
$8.5M
New
5
Parker
Action
FilmDistrict
$8.0M
New
6
Silver Linings Playbook
Comedy/Drama
The Weinstein Co.
$7.9M
-31%
7
Django Unchained
Drama
The Weinstein Co.
$5.9M
-28%
8
Les Miserables
Musical
Universal
$5.5M
-30%
9
Gangster Squad
Crime Drama
Warner Bros.
$5.0M
-45%
10
Broken City
Drama
20th Century Fox
$4.8M
-47%
TOTAL $82.7M
JANUARY 27-29 2012
RANK
TITLE
GENRE
DISTRIBUTOR/STUDIO
WEEKEND GROSS
1
The Grey
Thriller/Suspense
Open Road Films
$19.7M
New
2
Underworld: Awakening
Action
Sony
$12,4M
-51%
3
One for the Money
Comedy
Lionsgate
$11.5M
New
4
Red Tails
Action
20th Century Fox
$10.4M
-45%
5
Man on a Ledge
Thriller/Suspense
Summit Entertainment
$8.0M
New
6
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Drama
Warner Bros.
$7.0M
-31%
7
Contraband
Action
Universal
$6.7M
-44%
8
The Descendants
Drama
Fox Searchlight
$6.4M
+170%
9
Beauty and the Beast 3D
Animated Musical
Disney
$5.3M
-40%
10
Haywire
Action
Relativity Media
$4.0M
-52%
TOTAL $91.4M
Based on my estimates for the weekend, total box office will be down about 10.5% from 2011.
Preview of Films Opening Next Weekend
Predictions for the Weekend of February 1-3 2013
There are two new films opening in wide release during the weekend of February 1-3: Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment releases romantic horror comedy Warm Bodies  about a young girl who falls in love with a zombie and Warner Bros. continues the march of the ancient action hero with Bullet to the Head starring Sylvester Stallone. Based on a popular novel of the same name, Warm Bodies comes with a built in fanbase and should appeal to much the same audience that theTwilight films did. Warm Bodies won’t take off like a rocket at the box office, but if word of mouth is good, it could be a potential sleeper hit. Stallone has had quite a comeback over the last few years, but Bullet to the Head will likely follow the way of Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand.