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‘The Dictator’ Blinks at ‘Dark Shadows,’ Moves Five Days Away

Sacha Baron Cohen in 'The Dictator'
Paramount Pictures

Though this summer is loaded with a number of big money-making titles (‘The Avengers‘ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ especially), it’s hard to say if a film like Sacha Baron Cohen‘s ‘The Dictator‘ is going to work. As ‘Dark Shadows‘ revealed itself to be a comedy, it’s no surprise that Paramount blinked and moved ‘The Dictator’ from May 11 to the 16th today.

Though it’s partly because of the Tim Burton /Johnny Depp film, another factor has to getting a little more distance from ‘The Avengers.’ Marvel selling the film (which already has an excited fanbase), and that means it’s going to open to over $100 Million, which means that the second weekend should be over $40 million. Maybe ‘Dark Shadows’ – with the Burton/Depp fanbase – could get close to those numbers, but it seems unlikely. If you threw in ‘The Dictator’ – which has less obvious appeal – it wasn’t looking good.

Instead, ‘The Dictator’ will be up against ‘Battleship‘ and ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting.’ The former could be a big blockbuster, but with that title it’s hard to know if audiences will reject it before they give it a chance. ‘Expecting’ is going for the counter-programming audience, so ‘The Dictator’ is still in harms way, but a little less so. There’s still a number of x factors at play for the weekend, but it’s a smart move all around.

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