stormtroopers witch mountain

As Watchmen (Warner Bros) falls, “The Rock” appears to be racing to a weekend win. Disney’s Race To Witch Mountain, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is off to a solid start with $7.2M or so on opening day, and, with its expected surge in family matinee audiences on Saturday and Sunday, it will likely triumph with a possible $25M.

Meanwhile last weekend’s winner Watchmen staggered to a second Friday of only $5.2M or so, and I am projecting only $15.75M for the 3-day. That marks a 71% drop. Anything over $20M would have been acceptable, but the bottom has fallen out of this movie, and it will now struggle to reach $100M domestic. When the foreign and DVD are added, it may make a small profit, but it will likely be negligible. The superstitious might suggest that Watchmen writer Alan Moore’s alleged curse may be to blame, but the reality is that word-of-mouth has been more negative than for any movie in recent memory.

For Johnson, Race To Witch Mountain marks his all-time #5 opening and his third-best as a lead (trailing The Scorpion King and 2007’s The Game Plan).

ALL-TIME TOP 5 DWAYNE JOHNSON OPENINGS
- not counting his cameo in The Mummy Returns -
1. Get Smart – $38.6M opening
2. The Scorpion King – $36M opening
3. Be Cool – $23.4M opening
4. The Game Plan – $22.95M opening
5. Race To Witch Mountain – $22.7M opening (projected)

The movie industry has a great tradition when it comes to professional wrestlers in feature films. Lenny Montana played the small but pivotal role of Luca Brasi in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 Best Picture winner The Godfather and Andre the Giant had a memorable turn in the classic The Princess Bride in 1987, but Johnson is easily the most bankable wrestler-turned-actor of all time.

ALL-TIME TOP 30 GROSSING MOVIES THAT FEATURE A PRO WRESTLER
- ranked by total domestic box office -
1. The Mummy Returns – Dwayne Johnson – $68.1M opening – $202M cume
2. The Longest Yard – Steve Austin, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, The Great Khali – $47.6M opening – $158.1M cume
3. X-Men – Tyler Mayne – $54.4M opening – $157.3M cume
4. The Godfather – Lenny Montana – $300K opening – $135M cume
5. Troy – Tyler Mayne – $46.8M opening – $133.4M cume
6. Get Smart – $38.6M opening – Dwayne Johnson – $130.3M cume
7. Rocky III – Hulk Hogan – $12.4M opening – $125M cume
8. The Scorpion King – Dwayne Johnson – $36M opening – $91M cume
9. The Game Plan – $22.95M opening – Dwayne Johnson – $90.6M cume
10. Predator – Jesse Ventura – $12M opening – $59.7M cume
11. Halloween (2007) – Tyler Mayne – $26.3M opening – $58.2M cume
12. Be Cool – $23.4M – Dwayne Johnson – opening – $56M cume
13. Blade: Trinity – Triple H – $16M opening – $52.4M cume
14. The Rundown – Dwayne Johnson – $18.5M opening – $47.7M cume
15. Walking Tall – Dwayne Johnson – $15.5M opening – $46.4M cume
16. Gridiron Gang – Dwayne Johnson – $14.4M opening – $38.4M cume
17. The Running Man – Jesse Ventura – $8.1M opening – $38.1M cume
18. The Punisher – Kevin Nash – $13.8M opening – $33.8M cume
19. The Princess Bride – Andre the Giant – $4.4M opening – $30.8M cume
20. Doom – Dwayne Johnson – $35.5M opening – $28.2M cume
21. Spy Hard – Hulk Hogan – $10.4M opening – $27M cume
22. Grindhouse – Vladimir Kozlov – $11.6M opening – $25M cume
23. The Marine – John Cena – $7.1M opening – $18.8M cume
24. No Holds Barred – Hulk Hogan – $5M opening – $16.1M cume
25. Over the Top – Terry Funk – $5.1M opening – $16M cume
26. See No Evil – Kane – $4.5M opening – $15M cume
27. The Comebacks – Stacey Keibler – $5.5M opening – $13.4M cume
28. They Live – Roddy Piper – $4.8M opening – $13M cume
29. The Condemned – Steve Austin – $3.8M opening – $7.3M cume
30. Ed Wood – George Steele – $1.9M opening – $5.9M cume

If Witch Mountain plays out like The Rock’s last family movie The Game Plan, the picture could reach $95M in the US.

Wes Craven’s The Last House On the Left (Universal), a remake of his own 1972 seminal classic, has met industry expectations with an opening day of $5.3M or so (actually ahead of Watchmen). The tightly-budgeted, R-rated genre pic will wrap up the weekend at #3 with a likely $14M or so.

Luc Besson’s mega-hit Taken (Fox) is headed for a dip of only 17% for an impressive $6.1M, good for fourth-place and a new cume of $126.28M. Tyler Perry’s biggest hit ever, Madea Goes To Jail (Lionsgate), will round out the weekend top five with about $5M pushing its domestic gross to $83M.

The other wide release is Miss March (Fox Searchlight), which had straight-to-video written all over it. The movie managed only $750K from 1,742 playdates Friday, and it will crawl to a meager $2M 3-day, barely cracking the weekend top ten.

EXCLUSIVE STEVE MASON EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Race to Witch Mountain (Disney) – $6.5M, $2,040 PTA, $6.5M cume
2. NEW – The Last House on the Left (Universal) – $5.3M, $2,207 PTA, $5.3M cume
3. Watchmen (Warner Bros) – $5.2M, $1,440 PTA, $73.13M cume
4. Taken (Fox) – $1.9M, $665 PTA, $122.08M cume
5. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail (Lionsgate) – $1.45M, $658 PTA, $79.52M cume
6. Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) – $1.35M, $524 PTA, $128.95M cume
7. NEW – Miss March (Fox Searchlight) – $750,000, $431 PTA, $750,000 cume
8. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) – $700,000, $307 PTA, $135.36M cume
9. He’s Just Not That Into You (Warner Bros) – $650,000, $344 PTA, $86.74M cume
10. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Disney) – $600,000, $377 PTA, $39.95M cume

EXCLUSIVE STEVE MASON EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Race to Witch Mountain (Disney) – $25M, $7,844 PTA, $25M cume
2. Watchmen (Warner Bros) – $15.75M, $4,362 PTA, $83.68M cume
3. NEW – The Last House on the Left (Universal) – $14M, $5,831 PTA, $14M cume
4. Taken (Fox) – $6.1M, $2,134 PTA, $126.28M cume
5. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail (Lionsgate) – $5M, $2,271 PTA, $83.08M cume
6. Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) – $4.65M, $1,807 PTA, $132.25M cume
7. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) – $2.59M, $1,135 PTA, $137.25M cume
8. He’s Just Not That Into You (Warner Bros) – $2.08M, $1,101 PTA, $88.17M cume
9. Coraline (Focus) – $2.07M, $1,174 PTA, $68.59M cume
10. NEW – Miss March (Fox Searchlight) – $2M, $1,148 PTA, $2M cume

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