Box office preview: 'Pain & Gain' hopes to do some heavy lifting on opening weekend

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Image Credit: Robert Zuckerman

Oblivion, 42, Jurassic Park 3D, and Evil Dead have all achieved solid box office runs in April, but for the most part, this month has been nothing to write home about. The middling business trend will likely extend into this last weekend of April, as Pain & Gain (pictured) and The Big Wedding enter theaters. Basically, it’s the calm before the storm of Iron Man 3.

Here’s how the weekend may shake out:

1. Pain & Gain – $21 million
Michael Bay took a break from the Transformers franchise to make Pain & Gain, an action film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, for just $26 million. The Paramount release, based on a terrific series of articles in the Miami New Times, has a clear shot at winning the weekend. Though Wahlberg and Johnson each endured less-than-impressive results from Broken City and Snitch, respectively, earlier this year, those films felt dark and dour where Pain & Gain feels sunny and fun. Paramount has marketed the film aggressively, and Bay, whether you love him or hate him, has his fans. Pain & Gain is opening in 3,277 theaters, where it may earn about $21 million over its first three days.

2. Oblivion – $18 million
The Tom Cruise thriller got off to an encouraging start on opening weekend with $37.1 million, but its “B-” CinemaScore signifies mediocre word-of-mouth, and the sci-fi genre tends to fall hard on the second weekend anyway. Thus, Oblivion, which cost Universal about $120 million, will likely fall by over 50 percent this weekend to $18 million for $65 million total.

3. 42 – $11.5 million
The baseball drama fell by 35 percent in its second weekend, and it may achieve a similarly scant decline in its third frame. A 35 percent fall would give 42 an $11.5 million weekend and $69 million total — more of a solid triple than a grand slam, but a great result for Warner Bros. $40 million project nonetheless.

4. The Big Wedding – $10 million
Women have helped drive films like Identity Thief ($132 million), Safe Haven ($70.9 million), and Warm Bodies ($66.2 million) to profitability in the first quarter of 2013, but this Lionsgate rom-com, a $35 million co-production with Millennium Entertainment, may just be too derivative to draw crowds. Wedding boasts an appealing cast that includes Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Katharine Heigl, Robert DeNiro, and Amanda Seyfried, but individual appeal tends not to matter so much when this many characters are involved (see: New Year’s Eve, The Family Stone). Critics have already savaged the film, and an R-rating will keep many away. Still, poorly reviewed rom-coms tend to endure at the box office — not that that matters if the film has a paltry debut. Out in 2,633 theaters, The Big Wedding may have to settle for a decidedly small $10 million.

5. The Croods – $6.4 million
With no new family competition (for the fifth weekend in a row!), Fox and DreamWorks Animation’s $135 million film will likely fall by 30 percent to about $6.4 million. After six weekends, The Croods will have stored up about $162 million by Sunday’s end.

What are your predictions for the weekend? Sound off in the comments below. For more box office box office updates, follow me on Twitter @gradywsmith.

Read more:
‘Pain & Gain’: EW Review

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