Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Analysis (Aug 21 - 23): August surprises keep coming

1. Inglourious Basterds - $37.6m (predicted: 27.0)
August was supposed to be the dull month of this summer, but with the back-to-back-to-back performance of G.I. Joe, District 9, and now Inglourious Basterds, it is becoming one of the most exciting periods. Tarantino came back from the failure of Grindhouse to deliver his best box office performer by a whopping 50%. In the hindsight, we could locate reasons for its success from the genre (World War II) to the star (Brad Pitt), but it remains a big surprise, especially with its 2.5 hours long screen time. The word-of-mouth may not be as good as what District 9 received, but it is still excellent enough, so I do see it breaking $100m, even with The Final Destination and Halloween 2 releasing on its heels next week.

2. District 9 - $18.9m (predicted: 17.5)
It held up very well in the face of Inglourious Basterds, and it will pass Cloverfield's total sometime this week. Even though the competition won't let up in the upcoming weeks, the film will breeze past $100m. A bona-fide success.

3. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - $12.5m (predicted: 10.7)
A nice recovery from the previous week, and it makes $150m a realistic target again.

4. The Time Traveler's Wife - $10.0m (predicted: 8.5)
Had a much better Friday recovery than I expected. The competition will get tougher in September with All About Steve and Love Happens, but it should reach $65m.

5. Julie & Julia - $9.0m (predicted: 8.3)
Thought $9m was possible going in, and should have stick to the instinct more to predict a bit higher. The Saturday increase keeps getting better for the film, and now just needs a 4.42 multiplier to reach $90m, comparing to the 4.86 a week ago. With two new releases both targeting at males next weekend, look for another sub-30% hold. And with Labor Day weekend coming up after, $100m is in fact still in play.

6. Shorts - $6.6m (predicted: 6.0)
The prediction I am happy the most about, even though I went too low in the end, one of the principal sins I try to avoid (i.e. under-predicting a film when the general consensus was over-predicting). Aliens in the Attic, with better opening and more midweek help from summer, is only looking at a 3.0 multiplier, so it is unlikely Shorts will hit $20m.

7. G-Force - $4.2m (predicted: 4.1)
Disney should have counted X Games' gross toward it for any 3D screens it lost to the former, as that turned out to be one dumb idea. However, it will still have some room to run until Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball arrives.

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $3.5m (predicted: 2.8)
The best hold of its run by far, and this essentially extinguished any doubt of a $300m+ total.

9. The Ugly Truth - $2.9m (predicted: 2.7)
With Labor Day weekend still on the horizon, it should cross $90m eventually.

10. Post Grad - $2.8m (predicted: 5.2)
My worst prediction of the week, not just the score itself, but my general logic toward it pre-release. I was comparing its poll numbers with Bledel's previous films and other similar releases such as Materials Girls, but it turned out to be more like First Daughter instead. It also shows the unpredictability of teenage-girl targeted films. There is nothing good to say about its performance, and it should have a multiplier of 2.5 or less for a $7m total at best.

11. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - $2.7m
(predicted: 2.4)
Standard drop, and will lose theaters quickly the next couple of weeks. Will finish with around $15m.

12. Ponyo - $2.4m
Hoping the actual could reach 2.5. Either way, it was a quite nice hold, even if the strong dailies were already pointing to a weekend take of this neighborhood. It is still on track for a $15m total and to become the 3rd highest grosser of the 08/14 openers.

-. X Games 3D The Movie - $0.8m (predicted: 1.4)
Turns out that 3D did not help the movie at all, as it grossed basically the lowest possible amount I imagined. With a average ticket price of $12 for a 3D screen, a $572 PTA means 3 people per show for the whole weekend. It will certainly not be extended beyond the duration Disney originally planned to run.

Rating the weekend: *** out of *****; one great performer and three very underwhelming openers, with some nice holds by the holdovers, and we have a total that was on par with the past years.
Rating my predictions: ** out of *****; except for one week in in the middle, has been in a mini-slump since starting the blog. Really only proud of two predictions this week, Shorts and J&J. The thing that irked me the most is not the misfires on the openers, but rather to underestimate the effect of improved internal multiplier (as the summer is coming to an end) on holdovers. Need to do better; will do better.


  1. Very nice predicts, excluding the ones that most seen to have gotten wrong. What day this week do you think District 9 will pass Cloverfield's gross?

  2. I'd expect $2.4m daily average this week, so either late Wed or early Thursday.

  3. Look like summer weekdays are pretty much over now, so will be Thursday instead.