Gerard Butler (foreground) in "Playing for Keeps."

, Film District

Box-office outlook is grim for Butler

  • Article by: AMY KAUFMAN
  • Los Angeles Times
  • December 7, 2012 - 12:02 PM

After Gerard Butler's latest film flops at the box office this weekend, the actor could be benched from Hollywood's A team.

Butler's cold streak at the multiplex is set to continue with "Playing for Keeps," a soccer-themed romantic comedy that may debut with only around $6 million, according to those who have seen pre-release industry surveys.

As the only new movie opening this weekend, "Playing for Keeps" will be routed by a handful of holdovers. "Skyfall," the James Bond flick entering its fourth weekend in theaters, may reclaim the No. 1 position from the final "Twilight" installment, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2." Both pictures are expected to bring in a bit more than $10 million this weekend.

Meanwhile, "Playing for Keeps" will post one of the worst openings for a romantic comedy this year. The lowest debut for a rom-com so far in 2012 has been "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," the quirky film starring Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell, which launched with only $3.8 million in June.

Butler, 43, has had a rough couple of years at the box office. After he rose to fame in the sword-and-sandals epic "300" in 1997, many in Hollywood thought he had the potential to be the kind of leading man who could appeal to both men and women. His romantic comedies, including "The Ugly Truth" and "The Bounty Hunter," have fared pretty well, all grossing more than $50 million.

It doesn't appear that "Playing for Keeps" will come close to hitting that mark. Instead, the movie is likely to follow in the footsteps of "Chasing Mavericks," Butler's October surfing drama that grossed only $5.8 million.

The actor's latest film, which Thursday had scored a rare zero percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was financed by Avi Lerner's Millennium Films and is being distributed in the U.S. by FilmDistrict.

Meanwhile, Open Road Films is re-releasing its Jake Gyllenhaal cop drama "End of Watch" this weekend. The movie, which was playing in about 70 theaters last weekend, will expand to 1,200 locations nationwide. Open Road is hoping that the well-reviewed movie will come back to the fore as award season kicks into high gear.

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