Hey, folks! It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here (almost a week!), but I promise I have a good excuse! I spent all weekend way down in Birmingham, Alabama at the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball, and let me tell you, it was the most lavish, over-the-top, ridiculously awesome event I’ve ever been to! I got to witness the spectacle of a debutante ball, barrel roll in the back seat of WWII fighter airplanes, and eat dinner at swanky restaurants all weekend. It was truly amazing, and I would go again in a second. Anyway, the weekend left me playing catch up for a while with my life, but I figured it was about time that I got back to doing what I do best- analyzing the box office! I wasn’t able to follow the weekend step by step, but wow, it was an exciting one! Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson And The Olympians, and The Wolfman all exceeded my expectations, and, as some of you mentioned in the comments, I’m excited that 2010 finally started to pull its own weight, adding some much-needed depth to the box office. (You all know me so well!) Thus, because it is Box Office Analysis Thursday, keep reading for my late-but-hopefully-still-entertaining take on what went down over this extended President’s Day weekend at the box office:
The star-cluttered, heavily-marketed, obviously-titled feature performed spectacularly over the weekend, grossing a tremendous $63.1 million over the four day period, shattering all records on the way to becoming the highest-grossing President’s Day weekend of all time. Valentine’s Day, with its title alone, established itself as the obvious choice this weekend with moviegoers, and the onslaught of stars in the picture only made the film even more consumable. In a short-attention-span world, Valentine’s Day‘s incredible box office results show that American audiences appreciate being given a clear choice on a certain weekend.
Where It Goes From Here: Considering that this will be sitting at $70 million by tonight, $100 million is a foregone conclusion, though I’d bet that the fangirl effect + the holiday effect + the 4-day weekend effect will make this a frontloaded film. By the end of this weekend, I’d guess that Valentine’s Day will sit with a gross of about $95 million, and by the end of it’s run, I think it might find about $135 million. Not bad for a movie that cost $52 million to make! Plus, down the road, it will dominate the home market.
Fox reported a $95 million budget for this potential franchise-launcher, and you know what? I think they might actually be pretty pleased with this result. Percy Jackson follows The Golden Compass ($70 million), The Spiderwick Chronicles ($71 million), and Eragon ($75 million) as children’s fantasy franchises based on books that studios hoped could reach to Harry Potter levels, though they each failed at the box office. This time around, despite the poor advertising, Percy Jackson, which mixes growing up in New York City with Greek mythology, broke out, finding a very solid $38.7 million over four days.
Where It Goes From Here: Even if you hadn’t heard of the Percy Jackson series, take my word for it: kids love these books, and Fox would be foolish not to continue with this franchise. It earned good enough reviews to not leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths, and with some refinement that often arrives in the second film in a franchise, this could be a very successful series of movies. Because of their family appeal, these kinds of kid’s adventure movies often have very strong legs, and if Percy Jackson performs as expected, it could be looking at a nice $130 million gross(right in line with Valentine’s Day). With strong international grosses and home market returns, Fox could end up being pretty pleased with this performance. If they can keep the budget down for the sequel, make a better movie, and advertise more effectively, this could be a lucrative franchise in the void left by Harry Potter.
I’ll admit it, I was pretty off in my prediction for The Wolfman. I assumed that werewolf movies had a limited fanbase of super-fanboys, but we do live in a Twilight and True Blood world, and perhaps the massive bump in vampire appeal has increased werewolves’ popularity as well. The Wolfman howled up a wild $35.6 million over the 4-day weekend, which would seem a whole lot better if Universal hadn’t spent a ridiculous $150 million producing it. Seriously, where did all that money go?! Certainly not into the lighting. Still, a $35 million debut is nothing to look down upon.
Where It Goes From Here: I’d expect this to be pretty frontloaded. Most sci-fi/fantasy movies are. The Underworld movies usually managed just above a 2.0 multiplier, and applying that to The Wolfman would give the picture about $75 million overall. Learn to control your budgets, Universal!