Captain American: The Winter Soldier is sure to throw its weight around again this weekend, but the competition isn’t necessarily waving the white flag. There’s some smart counter-programming going on, giving people who either aren’t looking for or already had their share of super heroics something else do to at the movies. I don’t expect all of these to give Cap a run for his money, but there’s definitely some box office to be had if people find these viable alternatives.
Rio 2 has itself positioned nicely as the new kids film in theaters, ready to take the baton from the surprisingly robust Mr. Peabody & Sherman. That film is knocking on $100 million and never thought it would get much past half that. Rio 2 is probably the prime challenger to Cap this weekend, since the first film was a hit, and animated movies like this usually open well. Me, I never saw the first one and have absolutely zero interest in its follow-up. But it’s got enough big names behind the mic and enough bright, loud, frantic things going on that it’ll pull people in, especially with kids on break from school.
Of course, there’s also the old “horror films always open” rule to take into consideration here, and Oculus has been generating plenty of interest with a pretty creepy TV campaign. I can honestly say I’ve yet to see a trailer for this in theaters, but the TV spots have been everywhere lately, and have me more interested in a horror film than I’ve been in more time than I can remember. There’s some heavy geek cred on display here too, what with Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff in the cast, so that’s bound to draw some diehards out to the theater. And it’s a good alternative for the older teens who are also saying goodbye to school for a week or two. Throw in its relatively miniscule $5 million budget and this can’t help but have a good opening.
But I’m pulling for a couple of comebacks this weekend. Kevin Costner’s been sniffing around a career revival for a while now, but it’s director Ivan Reitman who could really use a boost. He’s been in a slump dating back to Junior in 1994, and while he’s had a couple of romantic comedies gross around $70 million, he’s a long way from his blockbuster comedy days. Sadly though, while I’m personally looking forward to Draft Day, I don’t think this is going to be the jolt either one of them needs. Football movies aren’t exactly surefire winners when it comes to box office, and neither Costner nor Reitman are putting butts in seats these days. But I guess spring break needs something for the grumpy old men to go see who don’t want to deal with kids and teenagers.