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Sleeper Watch: Will '21 and Over' Be the Next 'Project X'?

on February 20, 2013 by Shawn Robbins

21.pngWith a relatively slow February now entering the final quarter, it's time to start looking ahead at March's offerings. We recently analyzed the early Twitter tracking for Jack and the Giant Slayer, but opening against it on March 1 will be a flick targeting a different audience: 21 and Over.

Billed as "from the writers of The Hangover" (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore), we can't help but notice a number of similarities between it and last year's Project X--a solid breakout both domestically and in foreign markets. That film sold itself as "produced by the director of The Hangover" (Todd Phillips) while riding positive word of mouth from early screenings. Hoping to duplicate that movie's $96.7 million global box office, Relativity Media is closely mirroring its marketing campaign for 21 and Over.

Will it work? Maybe. Between the similar poster design, title font, Hangover credentials, and Miles Teller (who appears in both movies), the young adult audiences who drove Project X might be interested in what 21 and Over has to offer. While there's an argument for carbon-copied marketing strategies working against movies, early TV spots have highlighted a decent balance of story and humor more cut from the cloth of Superbad. That could go a long way toward expanding the appeal of the movie.

21 and Over is far out-pacing Jack and the Giant Slayer in Twitter activity right now while also running even with last year's American Reunion (whose modest $21.5 million debut would be a fantastic start for 21 and Over with no franchise status). That's the good news. The not-as-good news is that Project X was lighting up Twitter at this point in the release cycle with nearly eight times more activity than what 21 is currently generating. The latter has a 57 percent advantage in Facebook fans, though.

In addition, anticipation among Flixster users is solid with a 97 percent "want to see" score across 15,201 voters through today. Project X had 71 percent from 7,575 voters on the day before its release.

Anything could happen between now and March 1, but if positive buzz continues to build online then 21 and Over's candidacy for sleeper hit status may come to fruition. The Virginity Hit and Sex Drive proved in recent years that not every night of debauchery can yield the next Superbad-sized hit, but 21 and Over is way ahead of the curve in its attempt thus far.

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Tags: 21 and Over, Project X, Superbad, The Virginity Hit, Sex Drive, Jack and the Giant Slayer, American Reunion

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