Sony Pictures says its reboot of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger hit "Total Recall" is far different from the original, but it may have one unfortunate thing in common with its predecessor: its opening weekend box-office gross.
Over two decades ago, "Total Recall" debuted with $25.5 million -- about as much as pre-release audience surveys indicate the reboot should start off with this weekend despite ticket price inflation.
Though $25.5 million was a big number for the original, it would be considered a very soft opening for the new version starring Colin Farrell, and may mean it has a tough time stealing the No. 1 position from "The Dark Knight Rises." The final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has topped the box office since its debut on July 20, and is expected to take in another $30 million this weekend.
Meanwhile, the only other new film hitting theaters this weekend, the modestly budgeted kids flick "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," will likely open with a strong $18 million.
Twentieth Century Fox spent around $22 million to produce the third entry in the "Wimpy Kid" franchise, but Sony Pictures' "Total Recall" had a far bigger production budget of at least $125 million. Considering the cost of "Total Recall," the sci-fi action film's projected opening would be a disappointment for the Culver City studio -- especially considering that it was initially supposed to go up against Universal Pictures' "The Bourne Legacy."
In June, Universal decided to bump the "Bourne" film back a week, to Aug. 10, because the picture and "Total Recall" target the same male demographic.
In 1990, the original "Total Recall" was released at the height of Schwarzenegger's star power and went on to rake in over $260 million worldwide. The new film stars Farrell as a factory worker who decides to undergo a chemically induced hallucination to experience a more exotic life -- a decision he regrets once the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred.
Unlike the corny tone of the original, the new release is meant to be taken more seriously, but so far critics have responded poorly to director Len Wiseman's different take. On Thursday, the reboot had notched a 26% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with a 83% fresh rating for the original.
Overseas, the new "Total Recall" will debut this weekend in 12 foreign markets, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The "Wimpy Kid" franchise has proved to be a modest success for Fox, which launched the series in 2010. Two years ago, the first film grossed $64 million domestically, and the second made $52.7 million in 2011. Though the sequel's box-office take declined slightly, Fox felt the franchise was good for one more movie because the third story takes place in the summer, when more kids are out of school. (The first and second films were both released in March.)
Adapted from author Jeff Kinney's popular illustrated book series, the "Wimpy Kid" movies follow a middle-school student named Greg. In the third film -- the worst-reviewed in the series -- Greg is looking for ways to amuse himself during the summer months.
In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics will open the romantic comedy "Celeste and Jesse Forever" in a total of six theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Vancouver. The film, which stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg as a couple attempting to divorce amicably, opened to lukewarm reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Follow Amy Kaufman on Twitter @AmyKinLA