The Betting Table: Summer Edition - This Week: Ocean's 13

June 8, 2007

Welcome to The Betting Table, a look at the weekend's theatrical fare and a place where you can place your bets on what will swim and what will sink.

Director Steven Soderbergh and the gang are back. Mostly. Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones are out. Sea of Love stars Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin are in. The setting is back in Vegas and the stakes are high in this third entry in an unlikely trilogy.

Ocean's ThirteenTHE GOOD NEWS:
The actors agree with the critics - Ocean's Twelve wasn't very good, but this one more than makes up for it. The all-star cast is a huge draw, again, and adults looking for a thinking person's summer movie will bring their dates, while youngin's will turn up for Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and… Casey Affleck? Yep, him too. This provides a big contrast to the other weekend openings (a CGI family comedy and a gore-soaked sequel) and promises big fun. Also, the running time and low-key cool of the series promises this won't be another awful entry in the overblown THREEQUEL extravaganzas.

It opened big but hardly anyone liked the last one. In fact, the bad taste of Ocean's Twelve will hurt this one, as audiences may not return if they think they're in for another round of smug, self-satisfied indulgence. The past two entries opened in the fall - is this REALLY a summer movie? Plus, aren't the leads a little long in the tooth to be opening a summer movie in a season full of expensive kid flicks? Is Steven Soderbergh's flashy, witty, action-lite approach even trendy anymore (if so, then why didn't the star-studded The Good German even open)?

This one will open bigger, has far greater appeal and will play longer into the month than Hostel: Part II, easily. Yet, by opening up against Surf's Up, Warner Brothers may have a problem. Though it looked like this season's Over the Hedge from the offset (that one was a hit but not a blockbuster), the surfing penguins have been building some serious heat; their reviews have been big, the running time is swift and Shrek the Third is no longer a threat (to anyone). So, if anything can let some of the air out of Thirteen's opening weekend, it'll be Surf's Up. Yet, with these two being both family friendly and critically lauded, they could both provide a big weekend. Who ends up on top is anyone's guess.

Since Eleven opened with $38 million and Twelve opened with $39 million, the safe and easy bet is that Ocean's Thirteen will hit $42 million, barely edging out Surf's Up, which could start with $37 million (or, best case scenario, a huge $50 million or more opening). Hostel: Part II will have a tough time (though, likely a strong per-screen average). The first one stood out in January and had a field all too itself. With the summer competition and potentially limited summer legs, this one could fade big after the fans turn up in droves for the opening. Eli Roth's latest attack on good taste could make around $12 million this weekend.

Please don't actually place bets with money, just discuss what this weekend's box office may do!

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