Summit Entertainment's Warm Bodies -- a romantic twist on the zombie genre -- is expected to easily win the Super Bowl weekend box office race.
Pre-releasing tracking suggests the film will open in the $18 million to $20 million range, a healthy sum considering that the big game inevitably takes a bite out of movie going.
Billed as a paranormal romantic comedy, Warm Bodies stars Nicholas Hoult as a zombie who rescues a girl, played by Teresa Palmer, from imminent death at the hands of his fellow zombies. An unlikely romance develops, setting off an unforeseen chain of events.
Jonathan Levine directed Warm Bodies, based on the popular young adult book by Isaac Marion (Summit, of course, is the studio that adapted Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster young adult Twilight series).
Warm Bodies will benefit from appealing to younger females, the demo least likely to be interested in the Super Bowl.
Conversely, the new Sylvester Stallone action pic Bullet to the Head will lose male eyeballs to the the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Produced by Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment, the R-rated pic is tracking to open in the $7 million to $9 million range.
Bullet to the Head, based on the French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete, stars Stallone as a hitman who teams up with a young Washington, D.C. detective (Sung Kang) to track down a team of ruthless criminals behind two murders that brought them together in the first place.
Opening in limited release on Friday is crime-comedy Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are opening the pic in 659 theaters. Stand Up Guys was directed by Fisher Stevens. In the film, Pacino's character is reunited with his old partner in crime after serving 28 years in prison, only to find that his partner has his own axe to grind.