Box Office Predictions: 'Underworld' Hunts, 'Red Tails' Soars

Sensei’s streak extended to nine straight weeks last week. That streak could honestly hedge its bet by just picking Kate Beckinsale at this point.

This week’s predictions and revenue results go as follows:

1. Underworld: Awakening ($28 Million) – The market is set up perfectly for action/adventure fare, and this film’s fan base is already dialed in. It will easily set a new franchise-best opening. A similar comparison is the “Resident Evil” franchise: films that feature female action leads against horror elements and open during months not seen as blockbuster fare (“Resident Evil” in September and “Underworld” in January). Despite this, the films generally open very well, and this “Underworld” will open even higher than “Resident Evil: Afterlife’s” $26 million opening in 2010.

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2. Red Tails ($19 Million) – No question the film will resonate well portraying an important chapter in military history. There also remains a significant audience who will watch the film as a continuation of Martin Luther King Holiday celebrations. These factors will help it land a much higher than expected finish.

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3. Contraband ($13 Million) – Why just have one top finisher from Kate Beckinsale when you can have two? We used to call actor Sylvester Stallone “Mr. October” because of the success his films enjoyed during that month. Does “Ms. January” have a ring for Ms. Beckinsale?

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4. Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close ($11.7 Million) – This book adaptation has a solid “feel good” quality to it, but Tom Hanks isn’t the box office draw he used to be. Saddled with a mid-January opening against a well-known franchise won’t help things either. Still, we predict the film will post a healthy mid-range opening.

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5. Beauty And The Beast 3D ($10 Million) – The “tale as old as time” will continue to ring well with family audiences. Of note, “Finding Nemo 3D” is now scheduled for a September 14th release later this year.

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In other calls: Look for “Haywire” to open around $7 million.

That’s Sensei’s take this week. Feel free to have at him…