Archive for the ‘Predictions’ Category

Weekend Preview: Can The Uninvited Take Down Taken On Super Bowl Weekend?

January 30, 2009


It’s Super Bowl Weekend this weekend, and in terms of the box office, that means it’s time for counter-programming. With every man in the U.S. glued to the sofa on Sunday, studios traditionally hope to release movies that will engage female viewers. But the curious thing about this year is that among the three new releases, it seems that the harder they target women, the less box office potential they have. Opening this week is the male oriented action film, Taken, a psycho-stepmom horror flick, The Uninvited, and a generic romantic comedy, New In Town. Strangely enough, as the subject matter gets girlier, the receipts should be lower.

The number one film this weekend will be Fox’s Taken, which is getting a huge release into 3,183 theaters. The film, which stars Liam Neeson, will have to make almost all of its money on Friday and Satruday, since the Super Bowl will absolutely obliterate ticket sales. Taken tells the story of a retired CIA agent, who must rescue his daughter and her friend when they are abducted in France. Besides Neeson, the film stars two beautiful actresses who have been written off popular TV shows, Maggie Grace (killed off of Lost) and Famke Jansen (her character left when she turned out to be a man on Nip/Tuck). Despite the lack of Sunday box office, awareness is pretty good for this one, advertising has been effective, and it’s got some fairly good reviews. All of this should lead to a nice $19 million weekend.

The only other newcomer competing for the top spot this weekend is The Uninvited, the latest in what has become a veritable parade of horror movies this January. The feature from Paramount stars Elizabth Banks as a woman who comes to tend to a sick father’s bedside. All of the sudden, though, the man’s wife has died, and he has become engaged to this younger woman. His daughters are creeped out by the new fling, and they set out to get to the bottom of what’s going on. It’s a mixture of a ghost story and a psychotic stepmom story. The advertising on this has been strong and highly effective, giving audiences a good idea of the plot. Also, with a PG-13 rating, and three central female characters, this seems like a horror release that is woman-friendly, which should help it a bit this weekend. For a movie of this genre, reviews aren’t bad, and earlier in January The Unborn, My Bloody Valentine: 3D, and Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans all managed to open in the $19-22 million range, and while the Super Bowl will take that dwn a notch, I don’t why audiences would have just suddenly gotten tired of horror again. Almost every other box office prediction is giving this an $11-12 million opening, but I think The Uninvited, which is flying into 2,344 theaters, is looking at $17 million over the weekend.

The final new release of the weekend is the only offering that is truly targeting women, but its prospects are still looking grim. New In Town is a romantic “comedy” from Lionsgate starring Puffy Face herself, Renee Zellweger, and Harry Connick Jr.. (I will admit that she looks a bit less “puffy” in this movie, so maybe she’s taking it easy on the botox…) The plot here is so thin that I won’t even go over it, but suffice it to say, it looks terrible. Like Bride Wars terrible. I’m pretty sure winning the Oscar for Best Actress is actually a curse that makes all of your following films extremely bad, because I don’t see why else Zellweger would sign on to this. I guess she just needs work like anyone else. Reviews are awful, it’s getting a release of 1,941 theaters, and there’s been minimal advertising for this stinker. Give New In Town $6.5 million for the frame.

Among holdovers, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is still very much a force to be reckoned with. Since the Sandler-produced comedy is a film geared at young males, it will drop a bit harder this weekend, but a 45% drop will still give it $12 million for the weekend, and $80 million overall. Clint Eastwood’s box office stalwart, Gran Torino, will continue its great run, and a 40% drop will put the film at $10 million for the weekend and $111 total. Given the geek factor and the Super Bowl factor, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans should see a fanboy-style drop of about 60% to $8 million. Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire should continue its increible resilience as it expands into about 200 more theaters, which might give it a sweet 12th weekend of $8 million. Here’s my full forecast for the weekend:

Predicted Top 12 For January 30-February 1
1. Taken – $19 million
2. The Uninvited – $17 million
3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $12 million
4. Gran Torino – $10 million
5. Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans – $8 million
6. Slumdog Millionaire – $8 million
7. Hotel For Dogs – $7.5 million
8. New In Town – $6.5 million
9. The Curious Case Of Benajmin Button – $4.5 million
10. My Bloody Valentine: 3D – $4.3 million
11. Bride Wars – $4 million
12. Inkheart – $3 million

What do you all think of my forecast? Does it make sense, or am I as hopeless as The Cardinals on Sunday? Let’s hear your predictions in the comments! Go Steelers!

Friday Estimates: Are Vampires Any Kind Of Match For Paul Blart?

January 24, 2009

The box office has come back down to Earth after last weekend’s record-breaking frame. Based on Friday estimates, there will be a battle for the top spot between newcomer Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans and the unexpected smash hit Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The weekend’s other newcomer, Inkheart, didn’t fare so well, though.

Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans opened to a Friday gross of $7.8 million, which represents a 26% decline from Underworld: Evolution‘s opening day gross of $10.6 million. The Kate Beckinsale-less film appears to have been hurt by her absence, and it should take in about $19-20 million over the weekend, which may be good enough for the number one spot. (This opening underlines how much of a phenomenon fellow vampire film Twilight really was. Rise Of The Lycans‘ opening weekend won’t even equal Twilight‘s opening day.)

The Brendan Fraser adventure film Inkheart wasn’t quite so fortunate, pulling in only a meager $2.4 million. This is a pretty terrible result, and Inkheart will join the ranks of The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising ($9 M), Pathfinder ($10 M), and City Of Ember ($11 M) as yet another fantasy-adventure film that audiences simply weren’t interested in. Give Inkheart a sad $7 million weekend. I guess this is what happens when you try to make a movie that tells the youth of 2009 to read more books…

Among holdovers, Paul Blart: Mall Cop pulled in $5.5 million on Friday (a 44% drop), which should lead the breakout comedy to a $18-19 million dollar weekend, which may be enough to top the charts for a second week in a row. Gran Torino continues to truck along, pulling in $4.3 million yesterday, which should give it a $14 million weekend. My Bloody Valentine: 3D fell 62% from last Friday to $3 million, and it should find about $9 million over the frame. Notorious utterly plummeted over the first day of this weekend, falling 70% to $2.3 million, which will give it $7-8 million over all. Hotel For Dogs, meanwhile, fell about 40% to $2.4 million, which should be good for a solid $10 million weekend.

The Oscar bait expansions performed pretty much in line with predictions. Slumdog Millionaire found a nice $2.7 million. Revolutionary Road grabbed $1.7 million. And audiences showed a general disinterest for Frost/Nixon, which found just $910,000. Here are the full Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates For January 23, 2009
1. Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans – $7.8 million
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $5.5 million
3. Gran Torino – $4.3 million
4. My Bloody Valentine: 3D – $3 million
5. Slumdog Millionaire – $2.7 million
6. Inkheart – $2.4 million
7. Hotel For Dogs – $2.4 million
8. Notorious – $2.3 million
9. Bride Wars – $2 million
10. Revolutionary Road – $1.7 million
11. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – $1.6 million
12. Defiance – $1.5 million
13. The Unborn – $1.4 million
18. Frost/Nixon – $910,000

Weekend Preview: Can My Bloody Valentine: 3-D Win The 4-Day?

January 15, 2009

Though January has traditionally been a month where studios dump their very worst pictures of the year, it looks like times may be a’changin’. This year, during the Martin Luther King 4-day weekend, we have four new wide releases and two major expansions that don’t all look awful! As far as new films go, entering theaters this weekend is the horror film My Bloody Valentine: 3D, the kiddie flick Hotel For Dogs, the biopic Notorious, and the Sandler-produced comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Definace and Last Chance Harvey are each launching into 1,000+ theaters. Contrary to past Januaries, the respective studios seem to be very confident in these releases, and the advertising has been surprisingly strong. Gran Torino is still a force to be reckoned with, though, and it could stay on top for a second weekend. All in all, the variety of choices at the theater along with the extended weekend should provide the box office with some depth and lead to a solid weekend of receipts.

The number one film this weekend should be My Bloody Valentine: 3D. The strong debut of The Unborn last weekend confirmed a renewed interest in the horror genre, and Valentine has the 3D gimmick working in its favor as well. Lanuching on a record 1,033 3D screens, this savvy move by Lionsgate not only creates novelty and interest, but it pumps up ticket prices in these venues, which will lead to a higher total gross. There has been tons of advertising for this one, and it’s kind of nice to see a film that’s not hiding from it’s “R” rating. The ads sell violence, terror, sex, gore, lots of 3D action shots, and most of all, FUN! You see, the problem with the way so many films are marketed, is that the studio forgets to tell people that they will have fun if they go see the film. My Bloody Valentine: 3D has not forgotten this point, and with some surprisingly great reviews and a legion of Supernatural fans eagerly awaiting Jensen Ackles on the big screen, the horror movie should scare up a strong $23 million from 2,534 venues over the three day period.

The only other opener that could have a chance to take the top spot is Paramount’s Hotel For Dogs, a film that proves difficult to predict. On the one hand, it’s a movie about dogs, and between Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94 million) and Marley And Me ($126 million so far), dogs are totally the new penguins at the box office. Also, it’s got the widest release of any film this week, checking in to 3,271 theaters, and the sheer accessibility will help it’s total. Advertising has been solid for Hotel for Dogs, and there aren’t any other new films vying for the family market. While all these things are positives for the film, we must not forget that Marley And Me opened huge just four weeks ago, and I have to wonder if audiences are ready for another dog movie so soon afterwards. Maybe they are, and Hotel For Dogs will garner its own massive opening, but I don’t think this is the most likely outcome. Still, the reviews are good enough, and parents and kids know Emma Roberts from her popular Nickelodeon show Unfabulous. When all is said and done, I think this could leash a pretty good $20 million, but $5 million more or less wouldn’t surprise me.

Notorious, a film chronicling the life and untimely death of rap legend Notorious B.I.G., opens into 1,637 theaters this weekend, and it should find a fair degree of success. Biggie’s iconic status in the rap community will absolutely help this Fox Searchlight effort, produced by Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Films marketed to an urban audience are often quite successful, and given that this is MLK weekend, Notorious should be able to capture success similar to the racially themed basketball film Glory Road, which opened to $13 million in 2006. For the 3-day weekend, Notorious might grab about $12.5 million.

The final new release of the weekend is Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a film that excites me about as much as Bride Wars. Ugh. This is a film from Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison, which has brought us such classics as Grandma’s Boy and The Benchwarmers. There’s been almost a shocking amount of promotion for this, and while I love Kevin James, I truly hope audiences can spot this as the stinker that it is. Reviews are, not suprisingly, bad. You know, I’ve learned over the years that it is a bad idea to mix my own personal feelings with box office prediction, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Even if it’s opening in a huge 3,144 theaters, I still see Paul Blart: Mall Cop coming in with just $10 million. (UPDATE: okay, okay- I see that I’m too much on my high horse. I think the commercials I have seen just really suck. I’ll bump my prediction up to $12 million instead.)

Last Chance Harvey and Defiance both have major expansions this weekend, moving into 1,054 and 1,789 theaters, respectively. Neither of these films has been blowing up in limited release, but Defiance, which stars Daniel Craig, has certainly has more promotion behind it. Still, with a $60 million pricetag, it won’t make back its budget in theaters, and it will probably earn about $7.5 million this weekend. Last Chance Harvey, the quirky comedy starring Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, has achieved a little bit of awards attention, but it will probably only earn about $3 million over the weekend.

Among holdovers, drops should be soft, as Sunday numbers will be stronger than usual, due to the holiday on Monday. Gran Torino is not going to go down quietly. The Clint Eastwood film has struck a chord with audiences, and it’s looking at another weekend of solid bank, and a possible second weekend at number one. For the 3-day weekend, a 27% drop should give it $21 million. Wedding “comedy” Bride Wars should also see a small drop, earning about $13 million. Finally The Unborn, which opened well last week, will erode quickly for two reasons. First, that’s just the nature of the horror genre, and second, My Bloody Valentine: 3D is coming out. A 65% plunge will give it $7 million for the weekend. Here the full weekend predictions:

Predicted Top 12 for January 16-18

1. My Bloody Valentine: 3-D – $23 million
2. Gran Torino – $21 million
3. Hotel For Dogs – $20 million
4. Bride Wars – $13 million
5. Notorious – $12.5 million
6. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $12 million
7. Defiance – $7.5 million
8. The Unborn – $7 million
9. Marley And Me – $7 million
10. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – $6 million
11. Slumdog Millionaire – $5 million
12. Bedtime Stories – $5 million

Do I have this right, or am I way off? What do you predict these movies will make?