LOS ANGELES, April 10 Miley Cyrus and her
fabulous alter ago, Hannah Montana, likely will be no match for
hot-rod racers and cartoon aliens at movie theaters across
North America this Easter holiday weekend.
Walt Disney Pictures' "Hannah Montana: The Movie," the
first nonconcert feature starring the 16-year-old starlet, is
expected to open at No. 3 across the United States and Canada,
behind reigning champ "Fast & Furious" and former No. 1
"Monsters vs. Aliens," according to studio projections.
Box office watchers think another new release, the Seth
Rogen comedy "Observe and Report," will take the No. 4 spot.
Disney hopes "Hannah Montana" will perform in the same
range as 2003's "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," another big-screen
vehicle for a Disney Channel star, in that case Hilary Duff.
"Lizzie" opened to $17.3 million in 2003, and ended its
domestic run with $42.7 million.
"We would love to be in the high teens," said Chuck Viane,
president of domestic theatrical distribution at the Walt
Disney Co (DIS.N)-owned studio.
Business will get a boost from the Easter holiday, with
three-quarters of children out of school on Friday and half of
them also off on Monday, Viane said.
As in her TV series, Cyrus plays a regular schoolgirl by
day and a pop star by night. But her father (real-life dad
Billy Ray Cyrus) decides she needs to get back to her
small-town roots, so takes her on a surprise trip to her old
Tennessee home where love and other complications ensue.
TEENS HIT HURDLES
"Hannah Montana" reaches theaters six weeks after the
disappointing launch of a concert movie by Disney stablemates
the Jonas Brothers. Last week, the "Hannah Montana" movie
soundtrack ended Cyrus' impressive hat trick of chart-toppers,
opening at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with sales that were a
fraction of those for her previous releases.
But Viane brushed off any suggestions that the latest teen
idol might be losing some steam.
"I don't see this as being anything other than a terrific
little movie by Miley," he said. "Until it opens you don't
know, but I think you're going to see extremely good scores on
this picture. It plays great to her fan base. It plays great to
He pointed out that "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert
Experience," with total sales of about $19 million, is still
the No. 2 concert movie of all time, behind "Hannah
Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour," which
finished with $65 million early last year.
"Fast & Furious," meanwhile, should earn in the low $30
million range for Friday-to-Sunday period, observers said. The
fourth film in Universal Pictures' fast-car franchise scored
the biggest opening of the year last weekend with a $71 million
haul. Universal is a unit of General Electric Co (GE.N).
Viacom Inc's VIAb.N Paramount declined to forecast the
performance of the DreamWorks Animation SKG DWA.O-produced
"Monsters vs. Aliens," which made about $33 million during its
second round in theaters last weekend. Another drop of 45
percent should place it in the $18 million range.
"Observe and Report," starring Rogen as a security guard at
a shopping mall, hopes to ring up an opening in the $14 million
to $15 million range, said Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner
Rogen did quite a bit better with such movies as last
year's "Pineapple Express" ($23 million) and 2007's "Superbad"
($33 million), although both were summer releases. Earlier this
year, TV comedian Kevin James' similarly themed "Paul Blart:
Mall Cop" opened to $32 million.
(Reporting and writing by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bob
Tourtellotte and Sandra Maler)