Weekend Box Office: Audiences Get Their Strings Attached To ‘No Strings Attached’

Weekend Box Office: Audiences Get Their Strings Attached To ‘No Strings Attached’

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Not much news to report during this quiet January weekend. One wide release opened to numbers that a studio would expect given two publicity-heavy stars in January ($20.3 million). “ No Strings Attached ” matched industry expectations, bringing good news to all involved, though if you’re the only wide release in a single weekend, you’re really banking on at least $20 mil. Budget numbers on this film go from $25 to $35 million, but there were extensive reshoots and it couldn’t have been too cheap to get these two multi-tasking stars in the fold.

Weekend Box Office: Audiences Get Their Strings Attached To ‘No Strings Attached’

Nevertheless, a $30m-ish cost seems believable given that it’s a studio movie where absolutely nothing of consequence really happens, but R-rated sex comedies are a ount , who spent enough to get this film a bigger opening than last weekend’s similar “adult comedy” “ The Dilemma ”. Romantic comedies usually have strong legs, so getting this to $70m seems possible, but the B Cinemascore rating suggests audiences were a little taken back by the acidity of the premise. You can’t exactly take Mom and Dad to a movie from a script that originally went by the title “Fuckbuddies.”

Does this mean director Ivan Reitman is locked and loaded for “ Ghostbusters 3 ” over at Sony ? Only if they look at the numbers without watching the movie, because this guy’s running on fumes. Fortunately for Ashton Kutcher , he earns another lease on his leading man status, which was in a holding pattern after the expensive “ Killers ” was a non-hit. If he stays within the realm of mid-budgeted studio movies, he’ll be fine, since Kutcher-fronted films usually pull in somewhere between $50-$80 million domestic and he isn’t above popping up in notable ensemble pieces. That’s a lot of career mobility for a guy who can’t act.

And Natalie Portman ? It’s certainly her time, and pushing a movie like this as a leading lady over $20 is a big deal. Portman’s been beloved with genre-heads who not only saw the “ Star Wars ” prequels but also goosed “ V For Vendetta ” to $132 million global while renting “ The Professional ” repeatedly. She’s had her first huge solo hit with “ Black Swan ”, but here she is fronting a bad movie with terrible material and a deadweight costar in a questionable box office season during east coast snowstorms. Zooey Deschanel gets this practical link sort of material to $12m, and Katherine Heigl maaaaaybe pushes the number to $18m. It might be time to put her in league with the Sandra Bullock s of the world. Which is good, because Bullock herself has a tin ear for projects that Portman clearly doesn’t. Being pushed into January might have been the best plan after all for “ The Green Hornet .” The holiday hits that crowded 3D screens are on their way out, so “Hornet” gets to be the sole movie in the marketplace fully utilizing those hefty 3D surcharges, softening a second weekend fall that could have been precipitous. “Hornet” slowed quite a bit in weekend two, but the film will play for two more weeks before “ Sanctum ” arrives to steal those 3D screens, and by then “Hornet” could be in the neighborhood of $100 million. With the solid international start, the film might end up avoiding the “fiasco” tag many were ready to employ before it came out, though it will probably need DVD muscle for a significant profit.

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