Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Analysis (Aug 14 - 16): District 9 rules

1. District 9 - $37.0m (predicted: 30.0)
A resounding success. What is most encouraging is its Saturday hold. For a film with high Internet buzz, a 11% drop is impressive and indicates the good word-of-mouth is already spreading to counter the frontloaded demand. By comparison, Cloverfield dropped 19.2% on its first Saturday, and that was in January instead of summer. With
Inglourious Basterds, The Final Destination, and Halloween 2 all aiming at the male audience, the competition in the next few weeks will be fierce, but $100m is a very realistic target now.

2. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - $22.5m (predicted: 23.5)
Could be closer to my prediction with actual. It had a lower Friday increase due to District 9 providing stronger-than-expected competition, but recovered fine over the weekend. Overall, it had a typical sophomore drop for such a film. With intense upcoming competition, it could see a few more over-50% declines. I am lowering its total projection to $140m.

3. The Time Traveler's Wife - $19.2m (predicted: 26.0)
My biggest misfire of the week, no doubt. It had the internal multiplier that I expected, but with a much lower Friday number, where I thought double-digit was possible. In the end, it opened to what the general consensus was, and MTC tracking turned out to be dead wrong instead. The WOM is quite worse than what Julie & Julia received, and the film attracts fewer older females, so we should see a significantly lower multiplier. I could see it miss $60m.

4. Julie & Julia - $12.4m (predicted: 11.1)
One of the best performers of the weekend, considering the competition. The 35% Friday increase was strong, followed by an even more impressive Saturday jump of 33%. Now with the toughest part behind it, it should start seeing some sub-30% drops. I will just guarantee it here that it will gross at least $8m next weekend. A multiplier of 5 from this point on for a $90m+ total is very much achievable.

5. G-Force - $6.9m (predicted: 6.3)
Finally stabilizing after having no serious new competition since it opened. And with children starting to return to schools, its Friday increase and weekend IM are becoming better. It could reach $100m on Monday and has its sight set on reaching $130m by the end.

6. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - $5.4m (predicted: 3.8)
14. Bandslam - 2.3m (predicted: 3.8)
I put the two together because they share some similarities: they were both given good campaigns; both were considered wild card of the weekend, with a relatively large range of possibilities (i.e. high end doubling the low end); and I predicted the same amount for both. It turned out quite differently.

The aggressive campaign for the former was successful, at least to a certain degree, while putting the latter's trailer to New Moon's audience did not help at all. I had the hunch on Bandslam's possible disaster when studying Summit Enterntainment's release history; not following through more was my second biggest mistake of the week. With such a low opening, even good reviews won't be able to help, and it should finish with just $5-6m. The prospect for The Goods does not look much better, as it is rated R and will face relentless competition from bigger films the next couple of weeks. The multiplier should be below 2.5.

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $5.2m
(predicted: 5.0)
Harry Potter 6 continues to follow the trajectory almost on the nose. Still going to cross $300m and still going to take a while.

8. The Ugly Truth - $4.5m
An unexpected turnaround, especially with genre competition from Time Traveler's Wife on one end and R-rated competition from District 9 on the other. Now it is looking at $90m+, and with a budget of $38m, a definite success, probably an overlooked one.

9. Ponyo - $3.5m (predicted: 3.8)
The final figure should rise to around 3.6, with Sunday drop being in the 15-20% range. Regardless, this is a successful launch. Foreign films in general, let alone a foreign animated feature, do not normally open in too many theaters right away because when they do, they tend to get ignored and have a meager PTA. The reason is even though such films tend to have hard-core followings, their broad appeal remains limited. So Disney was taking a risk by releasing Ponyo in 927 theaters. With a 4K average though, Ponyo's long-term future now looks quite healthy. It will become Miyazaki's biggest film in the U.S. for sure, and $15m is very much attainable. Ponyo is also one of Miyazaki's most kid-friendly films with its simpler story and vivid images. The WOM so far has been fantastic, so even a $20m total is possible.

10. (500) Days of Summer - $3.0m

One worry I had about Days of Summer when doing the last analysis is the bigger degree of frontloadedness it had consistently demonstrated since the beginning, and this weekend is no different. With PTA dipping below $3K, any significant expansion from this point forward becomes very unlikely. I am afraid that $30m, not $39m or even $35m, could be where it will end up instead.

11. Funny People - $3.0m (predicted: 3.8)
It is hard to believe that its legs are almost as terrible as Bruno's, and it will be regarded as a bigger failure because of what was expected.

Rating the weekend: ***.5 out of *****; a good weekend for August with a few standout performers.
Rating my predictions: **.5 out of *****; I actually wasn't as disappointed as what my score may indicate; made a couple of miscalculations, but happy about the instincts on Bandslam (even though will not get much out of it) and Ponyo, where many others predicted lower.

1 comment:

  1. Good round up. I think you did great with bandslam with one of the lowest predictions. Baumer should award 10 closest predictions with bonus on these kind of numbers.

    8M+ prediction for Julia is interesting. How about D9. Will it have normal(55%+) drop or will WOM help it have sub 50% drop.