Knoxville’s ‘Bad Grandpa’ to end box-office reign of ‘Gravity’

Johnny Knoxville, right, and Jackson Nicoll star in "Bad Grandpa," which is set to win the box office this weekend.
Johnny Knoxville, right, and Jackson Nicoll star in “Bad Grandpa,” which is set to win the box office this weekend.
(Paramount Pictures)

For three weeks, no film has been able to pull “Gravity” from its No. 1 orbit. But this weekend, Johnny Knoxville’s prank flick “Bad Grandpa” will likely pull it off -- no joke.

The inexpensive hidden-camera comedy from the “Jackass” creator is poised to debut with a strong $30 million, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. (Paramount Pictures, which is distributing the film, is projecting a softer opening of no more than $20 million.)

Meanwhile, “Gravity,” the hit 3-D space drama, may add another $22 million to its $177-million haul -- meaning the Alfonso Cuaron picture will make far more in its fourth weekend than the new thriller “The Counselor” will in its first.

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Despite a star-studded cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Michael Fassbender, the film may only collect a dismal $7 million this weekend.

In “Bad Grandpa,” Knoxville disguises himself as an 86-year-old man traveling cross-country with his 8-year-old grandson (Jackson Nicoll). Like Sacha Baron Cohen in “Borat” or “Bruno,” a disguised and heavily made-up Knoxville pulls pranks on unsuspecting civilians.

Financed by Paramount for $15 million, “Bad Grandpa” has received mostly positive reviews: On Thursday, the film had notched a 75% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Heading into the weekend, the movie is generating the most interest among young males.

Knoxville’s “Jackass” film franchise has done healthy business at the box office over the years. In 2002, “Jackass: The Movie” -- essentially a longer-form, R-rated version of the MTV show “Jackass” -- grossed $64 million domestically.

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Four years later, the second film collected $72 million, and the third -- released in 3-D in 2010 -- took in an impressive $117 million. (The official title for Knoxville’s new film is “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.”)

Despite early hoopla for “The Counselor,” in recent weeks there has been little buzz about the film. With the adult-aimed “Gravity” and “Captain Phillips” still playing well at the box office, it seems few are raring to see the new R-rated Ridley Scott movie this weekend. Meanwhile, the film’s stars have seemingly done little to promote the picture, which is so far not a favorite among critics.

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Cormac McCarthy’s “Counselor” script centers on a yuppie lawyer (Fassbender) who decides to orchestrate a drug smuggling deal. It also features turns from colorful criminals played by Diaz, Bardem and Brad Pitt. Shot in Europe, the movie was co-financed by distributor 20th Century Fox, the Seelig Group and Ingenious Media for $25 million.

In limited release this weekend, IFC will open its controversial French film “Blue Is the Warmest Color” in two theaters in Los Angeles and two in New York. With a running time of 3 hours, the movie follows a budding romance between two young women (Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux) and includes some explicit and much talked-about lesbian sex scenes.

Since winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the NC-17-rated movie has made headlines as its stars and director have publicly disparaged one another. In a September interview, Exarchopoulos and Seydoux said they had a “horrible” experience with director Abdellatif Kechiche and would never work with him again. The filmmaker then said he did not think the film should be released.



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