Los Angeles: An especially robust weekend is shaping up at the US’ theaters as fan boys bond with “Tron,” families flock to “Yogi,” boxing buffs bet on “The Fighter” and the date crowd asks “How Do You Know.”
Disney’s “Tron: Legacy” has the most going for it, including a great release date, cult appeal and of course the IMAX and 3-D components. So a No. 1 debut approaching an impressive $60 million is virtually assured for this long-awaited followup to the 1982 original. The highest December debut remains 2007’s “I Am Legend” with $77.2 million, followed closely by 2009’s “Avatar” at $77 million.
Next in the weekend pic-a-nic basket is a smarter-than-the-average-bear named Yogi, voiced by childhood fan Dan Aykroyd, as Warner Bros. gives the beloved Hanna-Barbera TV character a big-screen, 3-D makeover and a chance at an opening gross in the low $20 millions.
After its limited four-theater debut last weekend, Paramount’s “The Fighter” was just warming up for an expected opening this weekend in the $15 million range as it expands to approximately 2,200 locations. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, this true story about a pair of pugilistic brothers is a shoo-in for multiple Oscar nominations and is the kind of crowd-pleasing film that could become a breakout hit in the weeks to come.
James L. Brooks directs the likely No. 4 film in the lineup—“How Do You Know,” starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. Despite weak reviews, the all-star cast and Brooks’ auteur reputation with such winners as “Terms of Endearment” and “Broadcast News” should draw the date crowd to the tune of around $12 million.
Fifth place should go to Fox’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” which opened last weekend in first place but now faces huge competition and will likely earn in the low teens.
Another Oscar contender goes into wider release this weekend as Fox Searchlight’s twisted and audacious “Black Swan” waltzes into 950 theaters. A bravura performance by Natalie Portman and mounting awards momentum give the film a shot at a wide-release debut in the $8 million to $10 million range.