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Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 06-20-11


 
“Cars 2” – In Theaters June 24th

“Cars 2” – In Theaters June 24th

“Cars 2” Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) ©Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

“Cars 2” Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) ©Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Cameron Diaz at the Moscow Premiere of “Bad Teacher”

Cameron Diaz at the Moscow Premiere of “Bad Teacher”

Cameron Diaz as Elizabeth Halsey in “Bad Teacher”

Cameron Diaz as Elizabeth Halsey in “Bad Teacher”

“Bad Teacher” – In Theaters June 24th

“Bad Teacher” – In Theaters June 24th

High hopes: Hollywood’s hoping that bad behavior and fast cars will drive next weekend’s boxoffice and put a better spin on how this summer looks.

If Disney and Pixar’s 3D animated “Cars 2” and Columbia and Mosaic Media’s R rated comedy “Bad Teacher” are a magnet for moviegoers, that should help overcome last weekend’s gloomy launch for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s “Green Lantern.”

Although this summer’s actually running about 7 percent ahead of last summer, “Lantern’s” less than hoped for $52 million opening made things seem worse than they are. It needed to at least match Fox’s $55 million opening for “X-Men: First Class,” which “Lantern” had been mirroring in its tracking.

Moreover, the same weekend in 2010 saw Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” arrive to a spectacular $110.3 million. With that for comparisons, last weekend was down about 25 percent.

“Cars 2” has only been tracking in mid-single digits for first choice, but could come up a bit by Friday. Animated films often perform better than their tracking suggests because that research doesn’t reflect young kids’ moviegoing intentions.

“Cars 2” is tracking best with 25-plus females. It makes sense that its greatest appeal is to moms with kids. At this point, it’s not tracking well with under-25 males or females and only doing a little better with 25-plus males. That’s not good because for an uber-expensive 3D animated title like this to work at the boxoffice it needs to play to more than just moms looking for a way to keep their kids occupied. It’s also got to crossover to adults and, hopefully, bring in teens as word spreads about how cool it is.

It helps that everybody knows what “Cars 2” is. The first “Cars” opened June 9, 2006 to $60.1 million and wound up grossing $244.1 million domestically. These days a $60 million launch wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as it was five years ago — with the average national ticket price now about $8 vs. $6.55 then.

Because it’s an original, “Bad Teacher” has the advantage of not having to live up to anything. Plus, it’s coming on the heels of Universal’s gross-out girls hit “Bridesmaids,” which has already grossed nearly $137 million, and Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ boys-behaving-badly blockbuster “The Hangover, Part II,” which has already done about $233 million.

Clearly, bad behavior is paying off big-time this summer and Columbia’s ready to start cashing in on it. “Bad,” starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, is tracking nicely in high single digits for first choice right now. As you’d expect, it’s doing best with under-25 females and nearly as well with 25-plus females.

“Bad” is actually a stronger first choice in the tracking than “Bridesmaids” was when it marched down theatre aisles to the tune of $26.2 million. “Bad’s” also tracking much better in terms of positive interest than “Bridesmaids” did when it danced into theatres May 13.

“Bridesmaids” kicked off at 2,918 theatres while “Bad’s” opening similarly at about 3,000. “Bridesmaids” reportedly only cost about $32 million, but “Bad’s” looking even better with its under-$20 million budget. “Bad” could open to $30 million or more and then enjoy weeks of prime summer playing time while “Bridesmaids” started out in the quieter weeks of pre-summer.

Meanwhile, Paramount and Amblin Entertainment’s “Super 8” is looking like the sleeper hit I anticipated. It fell only a modest 40 percent last weekend and should dig in nicely for much of the summer.

In the little kids’ arena, Fox’s “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” and Relativity Media’s “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” both stand to be sideswiped by a speeding “Cars 2.”

“Lantern’s” prospects seem dim with its largely negative reviews, blah word of mouth polls and soft opening business. It’s also the latest example of how 3D’s not packing ‘em in like it did last year. Despite premium pricing, 3D ticket sales didn’t do much for “Lantern.” It also didn’t help that “Lantern” wasn’t showing in IMAX houses.

Bottom line: Looking ahead, if Paramount and Hasbro’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which is already tracking huge, and Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated franchise finale “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” don’t show major strength from their 3D theatres, Hollywood will have to D-termine whether 3D has become a boxoffice negative.