Box office preview: 'The Best Man Holiday' won't best 'Thor', but might unwrap a great debut

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Image Credit: Disney

Just how scared of Thor: The Dark World was Hollywood? Last weekend, not a single studio opened a wide release against it. (Though, About Time did expand into wide release.) And this weekend, only one movie, The Best Man Holiday, will face off against the bearded Norse superhero. Originally, The Wolf of Wall Street was set to open on this date, but Paramount pushed the film to Christmas Day, leaving Holiday as the sole contender. The comedy has no chance of usurping Thor‘s throne, but that doesn’t mean it’s headed for trouble. Here’s how the box office might look over the weekend:

1. Thor: The Dark World – $37 million
Fanboy-fueled superhero movies are destined for hefty second-weekend drops. So are sequels. But superhero sequels? Now that’s a sure bet. The film hammered up over $100 million in its first seven days in theaters ($85.7 million over the weekend), and it may drop by about 55-60 percent in its second frame to $37 million, which will give Thor a domestic total just shy of nearly $145 million against a $170 million budget.

2. The Best Man Holiday – $21 million
The original 1999 comedy The Best Man was a humble affair, but it grossed $9 million on its opening weekend, and thanks to positive word-of-mouth, wound up with a $34 million total. Fourteen years later, the original director, Malcolm D. Lee, and cast are back (and Taye Diggs and Terrence Howard have since become stars in their own right), along with a few new faces. Goodwill from the original film and the lack of competition will make the film, which Universal spent $17 million to produce, a solid choice. Universal has marketed the film heavily and says the film is drawing strong interest from African-American females. The studio hopes for an opening in the high-teens and then it will play through the Thanksgiving holiday, but I think it may do a little bit better — around $21 million this weekend.

3. Free Birds – $8 million
With no new family films entering the marketplace, Relativity’s $55 million Thanksgiving comedy may enjoy another scant dip in the 30-percent range — and that’s good considering its lackluster debut. Free Birds may gobble up about $8 million for a still not-so-hot $42 million total after three weekends.

3. Last Vegas – $8 million
It may not have opened to jackpot numbers, but the Vegas comedy starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, and Morgan Freeman has been holding up remarkably well thanks to solid word-of-mouth among older moviegoers. CBS Films only spent $28 million on the project, and it will have earned about $46 million by the end of this weekend — $8 million from the Friday-to-Sunday period.

5. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – $6.8 million
The $15 million prank film’s march to $100 million will continue this weekend with another drop of about 40 percent. The Johnny Knoxville vehicle is headed for nearly $7 million, and it will have amassed about $90 million in its shopping cart by the end of the frame.

Check back to EW all weekend to see how Thor and The Best Man Holiday fare.

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