A sports drama, a teen comedy, a horror flick and a multi-century epic are all hitting theaters this weekend, but none look like they will be a major draw for moviegoers.
Of the four films debuting, “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” seems to have the best shot at No. 1. The sequel to a 2006 movie based on a popular video game is expected to start off with a decent $15 million, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
The big-budget “Cloud Atlas," based on the critically acclaimed 2004 novel by British author David Mitchell, will likely open with a disappointing $13 million. Meanwhile, “Fun Size,” a Halloween-themed film starring Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice, will probably launch with a lackluster $7 million. And “Chasing Mavericks,” featuring Gerard Butler as a surfer, could wipe out with a dismal $5 million opening.
The original “Silent Hill” debuted with $20.2 million six years ago and ultimately grossed nearly $100 million worldwide. The sequel, which follows an 18-year-old girl who realizes her identity is false, was not screened for critics in advance of its opening -- typically a sign that its producers and distributor are nervous about how it will be received.
Though the first movie was released by Sony Pictures’ TriStar label, the new film is being distributed by Open Road Entertainment. The company, co-owned by theater chains AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment, acquired the $20-million production from producer Samuel Hadida in April. Open Road is spending $20 million to market the film and will then take a cut of its box-office receipts.
“Cloud Atlas,” which co-stars Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in a multitude of roles, was long deemed unfilmable by many in Hollywood because of its complex story encompassing several centuries and dozens of characters. As a result, it was a struggle to finance the $102-million production, which was directed by Tom Tywker and Andy and Lana Wachowski. The Wachowski siblings kicked in some of their own money, as did some Asian investors, the German government and distributor Warner Bros., which paid $15 million for domestic rights.
The movie could be the latest box-office bomb for Hanks, who has had a mixed track record at the multiplex in recent years. His last two movies, the 9/11 drama “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and his directorial effort “Larry Crowne,” couldn’t even manage $40 million apiece. The Oscar-winning star’s last live-action hit was 2009’s “Angels & Demons,” which collected $485 million worldwide.
“Fun Size” is the first directorial effort by Josh Schwartz, a television producer best known for developing teen soaps such as “The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl." The movie stars Justice, best known for her Nick TV show “Victorious,” as a teen who is forced to take her brother with her to a Halloween party.
“Chasing Mavericks” centers on the story of surfer Jay Moriarty, who famously wiped out on a massive wave. The film, which was financed for $20 million by Walden Media and is being distributed by 20th Century Fox, ran into numerous problems during production. Filmmaker Michael Apted was forced to take over directing duties from Curtis Hansen when Hansen became ill during filming last November; Butler was later hospitalized in December after he injured himself during a surfing stunt.
Butler is coming off a box-office flop -- the gritty Sudan drama “Machine Gun Preacher,” which didn’t even come close to breaking the $1-million mark in theaters last year. After rising to fame with the massive success of the swords-and-sandals epic “300" in 2007, Butler has not always been able to attract audiences to his films. Some of his romantic comedies -- such as “The Ugly Truth,” have connected with his female fans, but his action picture “Gamer” flopped with a weak total of $20 million in 2009.