The big new release of the weekend is Universal’s Fast And Furious, the car-chasing sequel that finally reunites the original cast of 2001’s The Fast And The Furious. The original (article-laden) title grossed $144 million. The 2003 sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, which did not star Vin Diesel, still managed to rake in $127 million. But the 2006 franchise entry, Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, which featured neither Diesel or Paul Walker, could only muster $62 million in its release. It appears that audiences weren’t ready to move on without the original cast, and luckily for audiences, neither were the actors’ careers ready to move on without the Fast And Furious franchise. Thus, the cast has been reassembled, and Walker and Diesel are joined by Michele Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster for the big budget actionfest. Advertising has been very strong, and if there were ever a year that a movie with a ton of ridiculous explosions would succeed, it’s 2009, but I just can’t help but feel like interest hasn’t come to boil the way Universal hoped it would. As someone who was legitimately very excited to see Fast And Furious, there doesn’t seem to be a great amount of building excitement and anticipation. Have audiences moved on? I’m not sure. All I know is that this should easily surpass Tokyo Drift‘s opening, but I don’t think it can match 2 Fast 2 Furious‘ massive $50 million debut. Maybe the awful reviews have me feeling disenchanted, but I’m going to predict on the lower end of expectations, giving F&F a $38 million debut.
The other new release this weekend is Miramax’s Adventureland, a teen comedy that looks somewhere between Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, and Superbad. The cast is great, reviews are great, but Adventureland faces a big problem with its R rating, which will keep out younger teens form watching the film. This represents a considerable challenge for star Kristin Stewart, who’s Twilight fans may not be able to access her in this film. Still, this is a movie made for movie-geeks, so there should be a modest audience for the film. Debuting in 1,862 theaters, the comedy might scoop up about $10 million.
As far as holdovers go, Monsters Vs. Aliens should decline about 40% to $34 million, which would push it over the century mark. The 3-D animated film still represents the top choice for families over the weekend frame. The Haunting In Connecticut should follow the typical horror route, dropping about 60% to $9.5 million. A bit lower down on the chart, indie fave Sunshine Cleaning sees its theater count expand from 167 to 469, so it’s box office should rise nicely. Here is my full forecast:
Predicted Top 12 for April 3-5, 2009
1. Fast And Furious – $38 million
2. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $34 million
3. Adventurelan – $10 million
4. The Haunting In Connecticut – $9.5 million
5. I Love You, Man – $8 million
6. Knowing – $7.5 million
7. Duplicity – $4 million
8. Race To Witch Mountain – $3.1 million
9. 12 Rounds – $2.6 million
10. Sunshine Cleaning – $2.5 million
11. Taken – $1.8 million
12. Watchmen – 1.4 million
What do you think? Am I way off or right on the money? Let me know what you think of my predictions, then make your own in the comments!