By John Horn
12:30 PM EDT, April 26, 2013
When Sony Pictures decided against making Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” the studio feared its budget (slightly more than $100 million, thanks to hefty Australian rebates) and nearly century-old source material made it a risk not worth taking. Now that the film has come on audience tracking surveys, Sony might be regretting its decision.
Marketing executives at rival studios believe that “The Great Gatsby,” which opens May 10 (there are some 10 p.m. shows on May 9) and stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, could generate an opening box office gross of at least $40 million and as much as $50 million.
If the adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic does strong business in the following weeks and in international territories, the film could be one of the early summer’s breakouts.
Even though the story is focused on middle-aged characters living in a bygone era, “The Great Gatsby” is drawing strong interest from younger women, the audience surveys show. It’s the same audience segment that made DiCaprio’s “Titanic” a runaway hit in 1997.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said India Zietsman, a 17-year-old junior at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada Flintridge who just read the book as part of her English class.
“After watching the trailers and realizing that DiCaprio is playing Gatsby, my friends and I can't wait to see one of our favorite school books come to life," she said.
Warner Bros., which financed the film with Village Roadshow Pictures, also is marketing the film toward older women, encouraging theater owners to host "10 p.m. Shows!” “Girl's Night Out!” “Group parties!” and “Gatsby-themed cocktails!”
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