If you ask Twitter, One Direction: This Is Us, the British boy band's new 3-D concert movie, is going to smash records and rule the holiday weekend box office. Outside of the fan bubble, the answer is not all that different.
Forecasters are expecting solid-to-big things of the film, which formally opens Friday. Slant Magazine called for a $29.3 million start, which would rival the Friday-Monday, Labor Day record. BoxOffice.com inched its three-day projection up to $22 million. And Box Office Mojo's Ray Subers predicted a No. 1 finish for This Is Us in a close contest over reigning champ The Butler.
"One Direction: This is Us is targeting the band's younger female fan base, which is the same group that helped Justin Bieber: Never Say Never open to $29.5 million in 2011," Subers said in an email.
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Never Say Never, released in 2011 when Bieber still was ruling the pop charts with My World 2.0, stands as the second-biggest-ever-opening concert film behind Miley Cyrus' genre-redefining Hannah Montana vehicle ($31.1 million).
Subers said he doesn't think This Is Us will match Never Say Never; he sees it more moving in on and likely surpassing the Jonas Brothers' 2009 movie. Though maligned at the time for not living up to the pre-release hype, as well as the performance of Hannah Montana, the Jonas' 3D Concert Experience got off to a $12.5 million start that has proved beyond the reach of subsequent films from Katy Perry ($7.1 million) and the cast of Glee ($6 million).
This Is Us is opening on about 1,300 more screens than the Jonas Brothers' movie, although some 500 fewer than Bieber's.
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The film, from documentary director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), who should easily reach the biggest audience of his career, is trying to become the first summertime concert release to surpass $10 million in its opening frame. The blockbusters from Cyrus, Bieber, the Jonas' and Michael Jackson, who posthumously starred in the This Is It, were all released in the winter or fall.
If The Butler, now heading into its third weekend after two straight stays at No. 1, has a strong hold, it could be looking at a Friday-Sunday take of $12 million-$13 million.
The weekend's other new releases, the Eric Bana thriller, Closed Circuit, which opened meekly Wednesday, and the Ethan Hawke-Selena Gomez pursuit film, Getaway, are not expected to contend for a top spot.