Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

Weekend Preview: Despite Vampires, New Moon’s Debut Won’t Suck

November 20, 2009

We’re quickly approaching the ever-lucrative Thanksgiving weekend, and yet, it looks like this weekend might prove to be even bigger than the next!  Thanks to the debut of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, legions of vampire-obsessed women are going to flood theaters over the next few days, desperately hoping to see their beloved Bella, Edward, and Jacob.  Forget the poor reviews; this movie has a built-in audience like none other.  Also opening this weekend is the sports drama, The Blind Side, which stars Sandra Bullock, Kathy Bates, and Tim McGraw, and Planet 51, a computer animated kids movie about aliens. In the above video, I’ll go over my box office predictions for these new openers, and below, you can check out my full box office predictions, including my thoughts on holdovers like 2012, A Christmas Carol, and Precious, which is expanding even further this weekend.  Overall, there’s a lot of depth at the box office right now, and we’re looking at a possible $200 million weekend from the Top 10!  Exciting stuff for a box office junkie like me!

2012

The apocalyptic thriller started off very well with $65.6 million last weekend, but with an even bigger blockbuster bursting onto the scene, a 60% drop seems likely.  I’d say $26 million seems about right.

A Christmas Carol

After dropping just 25% last weekend, another small drop should be in store for Disney’s 3D Robert Zemeckis film as we approach Christmas… you know, the holiday that this is actually about.  Perhaps it will fall harder, as New Moon is going to take away a large chunk of everyone’s office, but I’m going with a modest 30% drop to $16.1 million

Precious
Riding the wave of early awards buzz, Precious earned an amazing $6 million out of just 174 theaters last weekend, coming in third place.  Therefore, Lionsgate is speeding up Precious‘ release, expanding it into 629 theaters this week.  An $11.2 million weekend might result.

Box Office Predictions for November 20-22, 2009
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 4,024 $113 million
2 2012 3,408 $26 million
3 A Christmas Carol 3,578 $16.1 million
4 The Blind Side 3,110 $16 million
5 Planet 51 3,035 $12 million
6 Precious 629 $11.2 million
7 The Men Who Stare At Goats 2,056 $2.8 million
8 Couples Retreat 1,712 $2.7 million
9 This Is It 1,640 $2.3 million
10 Law Abiding Citizen 1,327 $2.2 million

The Beginning Of The Year Is Scary: A Decade Of Horror Movies At The Box Office

January 7, 2009

Go grab your flashlight, blanket, and stuffed animal. We’ve reached the doldrums of winter, and on the box office calendar, that means its time for our annual onslaught of horror films. What was once merely regarded as a tough time to release a movie, has in recent years become a veritable dumping ground for studios to release cheaply produced horror films. If people were afraid to the officially label the trend before, there’s simply no denying it in 2009. In the next six weekends, five horror films are coming out. On the docket we have The Unborn, My Bloody Valentine 3-D, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans, The Uninvited, and Friday The 13th.

We all know that Hollywood never makes bad decisions, so if all these films are being released in the next few weeks, it must be a well documented fact that horror titles in January and February make lots of money, right? To answer that, let’s look at January/February horror releases over the last decade of box office history. Here’s the horrific box office retrospective:

2000
Feb. 4 – Scream 3 – $84 million
Feb. 18 – Pitch Black – $39 million

2001
Feb. 2 – Valentine – $20 million
Feb. 16 – Hannibal – $165 million

2002
Jan. 25 – The Mothman Prophecies – $35 million
Feb. 22 – Queen Of The Damned – $30 million

2003
Jan. 24 – Darkness Falls – $32 million
Jan. 31 – Final Destination 2 – $47 million

2004
Interestingly enough, none.

2005
Jan. 7 – White Noise – $56 million
Jan. 28 – Hide And Seek – $51 million
Feb. 4 – Boogeyman – $46 million

2006
Jan. 6 – Hostel – $47 million
Jan. 20 – Underworld: Evolution – $62 million
Feb. 3 – When A Stranger Calls – $47 million
Feb. 10 – Final Destination 3 – $54 million

2007
Jan. 12 – Primeval – $10 million
Jan. 19 – The Hitcher – $16 million
Feb. 2 – The Messengers – $35 million
Feb. 9 – Hannibal Rising – $27 million

2008
Jan. 4 – One Missed Call – $27 million
Feb. 1 – The Eye – $31 million

2009
Jan. 9 – The Unborn
Jan. 16 – My Bloody Valentine 3-D
Jan. 23 – Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans
Jan. 30 – The Uninvited
Feb. 13 – Friday The 13th (Gimmicky? Yes. But The Omen did make $12 million on 06/06/06…)

There are a couple of trends that I see in these figures. First off, movie titles are getting worse. According to current horror movie titles, if I really wanted to scare you, I should have just named this entry “The Blog Post.” Second, the horror pattern doesn’t really start until 2005. Until the successful debut of White Noise, the early weeks of January seemed off limits to a studio with a horror film. They stuck mostly with family-friendly affair, instead. Third, people were very tired of horror in 2007 and 2008. After years of Japanese remakes and torture-porn flicks, the genre felt stale. Fourth, these movies suck!

Sometimes I wonder why Hollywood is so obsessed with establishing patterns. If 300 can open to $70 million on a random weekend in March, a Hannah Montana concert can earn $30 million over three days in February, and Cloverfield can debut to $40 million in January, doesn’t that do anything to prove that people will go see what they want to see, regardless of its release date? I don’t know why studios feel the need to pigeonhole bad horror movies into these first two months of the year. By consistently releasing sub-par, only-somewhat-scary movies in January and February, Hollywood is conditioning film goers to stay at home. At a certain point, people wise up to the lack of quality. It took them a while with the “____ Movie” movies, and according to the above results, the horror genre is now seeing similar diminishing returns in January and February.

The reason that studios haven’t minded settling with the smallish figures is that these movies are ridiculously cheap to make. They usually make up their small production budgets by the end of their theatrical runs, and it’s pretty much the DVD revenue that earns the studio money. But, oh you foolish movie executives- you could make so much more!

How can the problem be fixed? Start by getting someone to make a really good horror movie, and/or do something truly innovative. Then, release that film whenever you want. It really doesn’t matter. Actually, at this point, it’s probably a little bit better to not release it in January, because people are starting to realize how bad January horror movies usually are. Bottom line: If the movie is good n’ scary and has a solid advertising campaign behind it, people will go see it. (Ex: The Ring)

As far as the 2009 films go, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans has a small legion of fanboys, Friday The 13th‘s release date plan will probably generate some business, and both films will get a boost since they are part of franchises. As far as the rest of the films go, they’ve all had surprisingly strong advertising campaigns, but 3-D is becoming kind of cliche, and The Uninvited‘s psycho woman plot isn’t as flashy as The Unborn‘s evil dead twin story. Because it’s coming out before the horror glut, I’m giving the slight edge to The Unborn, but I don’t really see any of them breaking out. If they fail, I blame the scheduling completely.

Here’s a good comment question: If you were to combine the RottenTomatoes T-Meter for all five of the horror films debuting in the next two months, what do you predict the total score would be? Will they collectively break 100%? Let me know what you think.