Box office preview: 'That Awkward Moment' may push 'Ride Along' to sidelines

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Bro-dominated buddy comedies are set to face off Super Bowl weekend and it looks like the guys of That Awkward Moment might see Ride Along slowing to a crawl after two weekends of box-office dominance. Jason Reitman’s romantic drama Labor Day, starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, is opening wide and Disney is also trying something new with the addition of the Frozen sing-along version — it was Fandango’s top-seller this past week.

Not surprisingly, Super Bowl weekend is notoriously slow at the movies. Last year the romantic zombie comedy Warm Bodies opened just over $20 million in the same timeframe, while male-targeted films, including Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head, bombed. This weekend seems poised to continue the trend as game day approaches.

Here’s how things might play out:

1. That Awkward Moment — $12 million
Disney heartthrob Zac Efron teams up with buzzy Sundance breakouts (and relative headlining newcomers) Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan for this R-rated film about three dudes navigating the dating scene in New York from first time director Tom Gormican. Efron has had an up-and-down box office history, but Teller and Jordan are stars on the rise after last year’s Sundance where Teller starred in The Spectacular Now and Jordan made waves with Fruitvale Station. Focus Features is releasing the bromantic comedy, which also stars the increasingly visible Imogen Poots, in 2,809 locations. Despite the male protagonists, women are expected to be the dominant audience over Super Bowl weekend. The $8 million pic — which currently boasts a dismal 24% on Rotten Tomatoes — is looking at a possible $11-$13 million weekend.

2. Ride Along — $9 million
After two weeks at number one (and a record-shattering January opening), Universal’s Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy may drop another 50% in its third weekend in theaters as the $25 million pic makes its way to $100 million domestically.

3. Labor Day — $7 million
Reitman’s career box office has been a bit all over the place — 2007’s Juno was a runaway hit, earning $143.5 million domestically, while the George Clooney-led Up in the Air failed to cross $100 million in 2009. Labor Day, an adaptation of the Joyce Maynard novel of the same name starring Kate Winslet as a reclusive, wounded mother and Josh Brolin as the escaped convict who holes up in her home for a long weekend, is a departure for Reitman. More serious than his past films, its box office may suffer from lackluster reviews (EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave it a “C” and it’s currently resting at 46% on Rotten Tomatoes). While Labor Day provides a definite Super Bowl alternative, the $18 million Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush pic will likely only earn between $6 to $8 million in its opening weekend.

4. Frozen — $6 million
Disney is entering into unchartered territory by releasing a sing-along version of its animated phenomenon Frozen in 2,057 of its 2,754 theaters in its 11th weekend out. While the sing-along version was a top seller on Fandango for this weekend, it’s still unclear how that will translate into totals for a film that has already earned over $800 million worldwide. Frozen earned just over $9 million last weekend, but even with the added intrigue of a sing-along, it’s likely that the big game will cut into Sunday earnings.

5. Lone Survivor — $5 million
Universal’s Lone Survivor will cross the $100 million mark in its sixth weekend in theaters. Still, the $40 million Mark Wahlberg war film will probably drop off over 60%, at least partially due to an overlap with the football-watching public.

Meanwhile, Sony Classics is releasing its well-reviewed doc Tim’s Vermeer in four theaters, Anchor Bay is giving the Andy Garcia/Vera Farmiga romance At Middleton an 18 screen debut, and Warner Bros. is re-releasing Gravity (currently boasting a $689 million worldwide total) in 3-D to 330 IMAX theaters (adding to its 1,200 re-release theater count).

Check back throughout the weekend for box office updates.

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