Box office preview: 'Skyfall' set to kick 'Playing for Keeps' to the curb

PLAYING-FOR-KEEPS

Image Credit: Dale Robinette

As theater owners buckle down and stockpile the popcorn in preparation for The Hobbit opening on Dec. 14, it’s another quiet week at the box office, as the only new wide release is a critically reviled soccer mom rom-com (say that five times fast) called Playing for Keeps, which seems destined for box office flopdom.

Skyfall, a five-week-old movie that hasn’t been in the top spot for the last three weekends, has the best shot at reclaiming the No. 1 slot. However, we might see any of the top four films below in first place — it’s that close. Here’s how the weekend may play out.

1. Skyfall – $10.5 million

The James Bond picture, which has led the weekday box office over the past two days (and will pass $250 million domestically today), seems like the likeliest contender for No. 1. A 35 to 40 percent drop would give the action film an $10.5 million weekend.

2. Rise of the Guardians – $10 million

The $145 million DreamWorks film, which kicked off its run with a disappointing $32.3 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, has two things working in its favor. First, it’s the newest family option out in theaters right now, and it has no new competition this weekend. Second, its Santa-y theme makes it an increasingly attractive choice as Christmas approaches. Rise may decline 25 percent over the Friday-to-Sunday period and find $10 million, which would give it $61 million total.

3. Lincoln – $9.8 million

As awards season ramps up and Daniel Day Lewis receives continual accolades for his performance as the 16th president, the $65 million Steven Spielberg-directed feature should keep exhibiting great staying power at the box office. It could ease 25 percent to $9.8 million.

4. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – $9.5 million

The vampire finale will have trouble spending a fourth weekend on top, but considering it’s already earned over $700 million worldwide, it can handle bequeathing its throne. Plus, it’s headed to a stronger domestic finish than Breaking Dawn – Part 1‘s $281 million domestic total. A 45 percent drop would put the film at $9.5 million for the weekend and $269 million total.

5. Life of Pi – $8 million

Ang Lee’s well-reviewed 3-D adventure should take a 35 percent hit to about $8 million for the frame, bringing its total past the $60 million mark. Now if only it hadn’t cost $120 million to produce…

6. Playing for Keeps – $5.9 million

Though Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel provide some star power, nothing about Playing for Keeps seems destined to draw in crowds. Not the soccer angle (Americans have never given two hoots about soccer at the box office), not the marketing, and certainly not the wretched reviews. FilmDistrict acquired domestic rights for the picture from Millennium Films, who produced. (No budget information was provided to EW.) All told, Playing for Keeps, which is playing in about 2,837 theaters, will have to settle for about $5.8 million — exactly the same amount that Butler’s last wide release, Chasing Mavericks, earned in its entire run.

Who do you think will win the weekend race? Check back all weekend long to see how these films fare, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates over the weekend.

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