LOS ANGELES — Cold-blooded linebackers will knock down “Warm Bodies" at the box office this weekend, with the Super Bowl expected to be a much bigger draw than the new zombie movie.
Super Bowl weekend is traditionally one of the slowest of the year at the multiplex as families stay home to watch the Sunday football event instead of heading to the theater. Still, “Warm Bodies" may get off to a good start despite the competition because the creepy romantic comedy is aimed at teenage girls — a demographic not usually that interested in the Super Bowl.
The movie, which features young up-and-comers Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, is expected to debut with about $17 million, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. The only other movie hitting theaters nationwide this weekend, the Sylvester Stallone action flick “Bullet to the Head," probably will start off with a weak sum of roughly $7 million.
“Warm Bodies," financed by Lionsgate’s label Summit Entertainment for $30 million, centers around a young woman who falls for a zombie. The PG-13 picture has so far received mostly positive reviews and had notched a 73 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of Thursday morning.
The movie is the first in a big year for 23-year-old Hoult, still best known to many as the child star of the 2002 British film “About a Boy." Next month, the actor will appear as the lead in the $150 million-plus “Jack and the Giant Slayer," and also has upcoming high-profile roles in the “Mad Max" and “X-Men" franchises.
“Bullet to the Head" star Stallone, meanwhile, is also keeping busy. The 66-year-old actor most recently appeared in last summer’s sequel to “The Expendables," which grossed more than $300 million worldwide and has already prompted another installment.
In his latest movie, the “Rambo" veteran stars as a hit man who teams up with a detective to avenge the death of his partner. The picture, which is based on a French graphic novel, was made by producer Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment and initially set for release in April 2012. However, the release date was pushed back, and although the film is still being distributed by Warner Bros., Silver’s 25-year relationship with the studio came to a close at the end of 2012.
In limited release, Lionsgate is opening “Stand Up Guys" in 659 theaters. The movie, about a trio of aging con men played by Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, has not been received warmly by critics.