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Nicolas Cage plays with fire in “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”, but it is the box office competition that risks being burned this weekend.
The 3D sequel, featuring a demonic motorcycle superhero played by Cage, is set to be the # 1 President’s Day weekend movie. According to those who saw the pre-release audience surveys, the film will debut with around $ 30 million in sales Friday through Monday.
The heart-wrenching “The Vow” and action flick “Safe House,” which each opened to over $ 40 million last weekend, will likely battle for second place with around $ 20 million in sales.
Two new films, meanwhile, should follow. The romantic action comedy “This Means War”, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, is expected to gross around $ 15 million over the four-day vacation. And “Arrietty’s Secret World,” an animated film first released in Japan in 2010 and now dubbed with the voices of American actors, will likely start with around $ 5 million.
The original “Ghost Rider” opened the same weekend in 2007 and debuted with $ 45.4 million, ultimately grossing $ 115.8 domestically and about as much overseas. The film has been one of the biggest hits of recent years for Cage, who has appeared in 14 amazing films since the release of “Ghost Rider”. Of these, most were action movies, with the highest grossing being the sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” which grossed around $ 350 million worldwide in 2007.
While outdoor commercials for the 48-year-old actor’s latest project highlight the recognizable Ghost Rider character, his face or name is not in the spotlight. The film has not been screened in advance for critics, indicating that Sony Pictures may be nervous about its public reception.
The photo was funded by Sony with production and financing company Hyde Park Entertainment for around $ 80 million, said a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to speak publicly. Hyde Park controls international distribution rights. The sequel was made for around $ 30 million less than the original and also features new directors, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, well known to fans for their work on the “Crank” series.
“This Means War” was originally slated to officially open nationwide on Valentine’s Day, but last week 20th Century Fox pushed the release date back three days. In an effort to spread positive word of mouth ahead of the film’s debut, Fox premiered the image in about 2,500 theaters on Tuesday night. The image grossed $ 1.6 million when shown only around 7 p.m.
Fox and co-financier Dune Entertainment spent around $ 65 million to produce the film, with around two CIA agents vying for the affection of the same woman. The film is directed by McG, best known for his work on action films such as “Terminator: Salvation”. It has been in development at Fox for over a decade and in recent years has garnered the interest of stars such as Bradley Cooper and Sam Worthington.
The film, which has received poor critical reviews so far, debuts in 17 overseas markets this weekend, including Australia and Russia.
“Arrietty’s Secret World” was co-written by Hayao Miyazaki, the filmmaker behind “Ponyo” and “Spirited Away”. Miyazaki has a strong relationship with Pixar Animation Studio’s creative guru, John Lasseter, who also oversees Disney Animation.
It was Lasseter who helped bring “Arrietty” to the United States after the animated film gained international success in 2010. In that year, it became the highest grossing film in Japan and raised a total of $ 126 million overseas. Now the characters in the film have been updated with the voices of English speaking actors, including Bridgit Mendler as the main character, Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett.
[Updated, 2:51 p.m., Feb. 16: An earlier version of this voice said actress Saoirse Ronan voiced the lead character in the U.S. version of “Arrietty.” In fact, she voices the lead character in the U.K. edition of the film.]
“This Means War” official release date delayed
‘The Vow’ Sets Valentine’s Day Record With $ 11.6 Million At Box Office
“Ghost Rider” sequel promises a “darker, nastier, nastier” anti-hero
– Amy Kaufman
Photo: a scene from “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”. Credit: Sony Pictures