April 18th, 2009

light fantastic

Nikki Finke's Weekend Projections

SATURDAY AM: Talk about a tired premise. It's difficult to imagine a more overworked plot device than the body swap. But stick a tween dream like Zac Efron in this drivel -- and suddenly the domestic box office dollars flow. So the New Line/Warner Bros' 17 Again opened to $10 million Friday from 3,255 theaters for No. 1 and a possible $28M weekend.

After a successful Saturday Night Live hosting gig where he poked gentle fun at his fame and fans and sexuality, Zac has now staked a solid claim to a post-High School Musical career. (Disney is continuing the franchise without the original cast.)

But the question still remains whether Efron can graduate to pics where he plays anyone older than a teen. But I wouldn't write him off just yet as not having the eventual range of, say, Leonardo DiCaprio. Then again, no less than Cameron, Spielberg and Scorsese took Leo to the next level. Zac may never get opportunities to work with great directors.


For a $28 million weekend she is counting on an increase in ticket sales over Saturday or, at the very least, a very minimal drop. An increase is typical for many films from Friday to Saturday. But depending on how fan driven this movie is, Friday may have been frontloaded and Saturday may actually decline instead of pick up. Sunday is a guaranteed drop but how big, no one knows. So it is hard to gauge and I'm not sure $28 million is feasible. I'd be happy to be proven wrong because I think a Fri-Sat increase would be a sign that it's more than just his built-in fanbase turning out.

ETA, Saturday PM Update from Nikki Finke:

"New Line/Warner Bros' 17 Again opened to $9.4 million Friday and $8.7 million Saturday from 3,255 theaters for No. 1 and a $24M weekend."

So a small drop... which is not too shabby. Like I said, growth would've been nice but I'll take it. Hopefully word of mouth will help 17 Again minimize its second weekend drop... if that happens there is a chance it could win a second weekend at number one. A lot depends on the performance of three new movies, all with much smaller screen counts -- The Soloist (1800 theaters), Obsessed (2400 theaters), and Fighting (2100 theaters).