Taylor Schilling

Nicholas Sparks’ ‘The Lucky One’ Could Top ‘Hunger Games’

After four straight weeks of dominating the box office, “The Hunger Games” could finally give up the number one slot on the charts this weekend, as romantic drama “The Lucky One” should have enough appeal to finish as the top box office draw. Also hitting theaters this weekend is comedy “Think Like a Man,” though at just 1,800 total sites it will have a hard time even landing in the top five. Another title getting a fairly limited release is Disney’s nature documentary “Chimpanzee,” which will hit 1,500 theaters this weekend as it hopes to find a home with family audiences.

Even though novelist Nicholas Sparks hasn’t seen one of his books turn into a runaway blockbuster, he’s provided the material for a bevy of bona fide hits over the years, setting the stage for “The Lucky One” to hit with its intended demographic. Recent Sparks adaptations like “Dear John” and “The Last Song” have played well with their target audience, helping secure a release of more than 3,000 theaters this weekend for “The Lucky One.” In a similarly sized release, “Dear John” hauled in $30 million in its opening weekend back in March of 2010, though most Sparks releases have opened in the $13 to $16 million range.

Starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, “The Lucky One” should have a large enough built-in audience to at least get it off the ground this weekend, particularly with few other options for date audiences. Efron doesn’t have the same level of popularity as Channing Tatum, the star of “Dear John,” but “The Lucky One” still looks to be poised for a steady opening in the neighborhood of $20 million, which should easily be enough to topple “The Hunger Games” as it enters its fifth weekend in theaters.