In "The Guilt Trip," Barbra Streisand has her first starring role in 16 years. But the "Funny Girl" celeb won't be laughing at the box office receipts for her new film, which is set to sell far fewer tickets this weekend than a 3-D rerelease of 2001's animated "Monsters, Inc."
Both movies are hitting theaters Wednesday in an effort to build positive word-of-mouth among moviegoers before a crowded weekend at the multiplex. On Friday, the Tom Cruise sniper flick "Jack Reacher," Judd Apatow comedy "This Is 40" and event film "Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away" will join the mix.
By Sunday, the "Monsters, Inc." rerelease is expected to collect about $20 million, according to those who have seen prerelease audience surveys. "The Guilt Trip," a road trip comedy in which Streisand and Seth Rogen play mother and son, will likely start off with about $10 million.
Although neither of those figures are especially impressive, movies that open the weekend before Christmas have historically had longer lives in theaters than those that have premieres at other times of the year. That's because so many people head to theaters on weekdays between Christmas and New Year's.
For instance, even though "We Bought a Zoo" launched with only $9.4 million last December, it ended up grossing about eight times that much -- $75.6 million.
The 3-D version of "Monsters, Inc." could also benefit from being the only movie aimed at children that is being released before the end of the year. The film about a workplace filled with professional scarers is the third 3-D rerelease to hit theaters since a 3-D take on "The Lion King" did surprisingly well at the box office last year.
The movie starring the lion cub took in $94.2 million domestically, but 3-D versions of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Finding Nemo" couldn't top $50 million.
Walt Disney Studios spent only about $3 million to convert "Monsters, Inc." to 3-D. However, if the film underperforms, it's likely the studio will become more picky about which titles it opts to rerelease in the format.
It cost Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions much more to make "The Guilt Trip" -- about $40 million. Though Paramount is hopeful that young women and their mothers will enjoy the film and spread the word, critics have not been kind. On Tuesday, the movie had notched only a 33% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Streisand, 70, has not appeared in a leading role since 1996's "The Mirror Has Two Faces," which she also directed and produced. Even though she had well-received supporting turns in 2004's "Meet the Fockers" and its 2010 sequel, the actress has not proved to be a box-office draw on her own in nearly two decades.
Rogen, her 30-year-old costar, has had a mixed record in recent years. He had a good run in raunchy comedies after bursting onto the scene in 2007's "Knocked Up" but has not been able to replicate that success in similiarly themed comedies such as "Observe and Report" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."
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