Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekend Analysis (Jul 24 - 26): G-Force wins

Comparing estimates with my predictions:

1. G-Force - 32.2m (predicted: 28.0m)
Not too much a surprise, as the tracking from Major Theater Chain was pointing to a $30m opening. I went lower because of a relative average BOM poll and my own feeling, but it appears 3D screens helped again to elevate it over the mark. The tiny Saturday increase is a concern, and Aliens in the Attic will provide direct competition right away next week, so $100m is no sure thing yet, although 3D should help its legs.

2. Harry Potter 6 - 30.0m (predicted: 29.0m)
The Sunday projection of 16% drop from WB is too generous, as it dropped 25.5% the first Sunday. I expect the actual to be right around 29m, a large decline for sure and an indication that the audience for a HP film has not grown, and there is a cap on how much it could gross in total. However, it will start getting IMAX help on Wednesday, which should stabilize it enough to eventually cross $300m.

3. The Ugly Truth - 27.0m (predicted: 23.0m)
MTC had it tracked at 25m, so again there were some signs. Still, this should be deemed as the biggest surprise of the weekend, as most predictors had it in the $20m range. With Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, and now The Ugly Truth, Katherine Heigl is showing her consistency and proving herself to be one of the most bankable stars for the romantic comedy genre. The general WOM is not as awful as the reviews from critics, but with Funny People and Julie and Julia on its heels, its endurance will probably be short. Look for an $85m total.

4. Orphan - 12.8m (predicted: 12.0m)
Right at what most were predicting, a typical opening for a generic R-rated horror. The leg is unlikely to be any different either, despite good feedbacks from horror fans. A $32m finish should be in store.

5. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - 8.2m (predicted: 11.5m)
The biggest error of the week in judgment, as I was 1) fooled by the midweek numbers; 2) vastly underestimated the effect of direct competition, and more specifically, the loss in 3D screens. Simply, I should have known better from the past history. Ice Age 3 was hit big time by the double-edge sword, and now $200m is in serious jeopardy. Instead, a finish between $190-195m is most likely.

6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - 8.0m (predicted: 9.0m)
Overpredicting the holdover will be a recurring theme of my week. Transformers 2 in fact had a good hold for the second consecutive weekend, but I was predicting another 12% better, thinking the weak new competition would allow it to have at least a 50% Friday increase. With IMAX engagement coming to an end on Wednesday, $400m is not a lock yet, but I do expect Paramount to push it over once it gets close.

7. The Hangover - 6.5m (predicted: 6.6m)
The gravity-defying run continues, as two R-rated films The Ugly Truth and Orphan, just like their predecessors, are unable to put a dent into The Hangover's momentum. This now could be regarded as one of the most eye-popping, out-of-the-left-field, runs of the decade or beyond. Simply incredible. It has squarely set its eyes on a $270m+ total.

8. The Proposal - 6.4m (predicted: 6.1m)
Not to be overshadowed by The Hangover, The Proposal is making an impressive run of its own. It will finally see some direct PG-13 competition for its female audience in two weeks from Julie and Julia, but $160m total is there for the taking.

9. Public Enemies - 4.2m (predicted: 5.0m)
The third consecutive weekend where PE dropped around 45%. The midweek dailies fooled me again, as it appeared to be stabilizing more. It's on track to make $98m, but since it will be so close, the studio may as well squeeze it past $100m, or even $101m, making it the biggest movie ever for Michael Mann.

10. Bruno - 2.7m (predicted: 3.5m)
Bruno is having one of the worst runs ever for a $30m+ opener. It could fail to reach a 2.0 multiplier from its opening weekend, unheard of for a summer release. I'll put its final number at $60m.

Outside the top 10:
As I mentioned in the previous post, (500) Days of Summer and The Hurt Locker held up well as they continue to expand in limited release. Similar to Ice Age 3, Up suffered a bigger-than-expected drop, and any hope of reaching $300m is dashed in the meantime.

Rating the weekend: ** out of *****; pretty boring overall
Rating my predictions: * out of *****; terrible for a relatively easy weekend

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