Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekend Analysis (Aug 7 - 9): G.I. Joe and Julie & Julia impressed

1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - $56.2m (predicted: 47.0)
A $175m budget tag notwithstanding, G.I. Joe had a successful launch by almost all means. The Sunday projection of -14% is surely on the high side though, as the recent August blockbusters of comparable size generally dropped around 25%, e.g. Mummy 3: -27.5%, The Bourne Ultimatum: -23.6%, Rush Hour 3: -23.9%. So the actual could see it dip below 55 or even close to $54m. Nonetheless, it generated the second biggest August opening for a non-sequel film. As for its long term prospect, a CinemaScore of B+ and A Yahoo user grade of B do not indicate a better-than-average WOM, and competition for the male audience will come fast and furious in the upcoming weeks, so it could see a rocky road ahead. Look for an overall multiplier between Mummy 3 and Bourne 3 for a $150m total.

2. Julie and Julia - $20.1m (predicted: 22.7)
An equally excellent opening, especially with the theater count being 2,354 instead of the 2,975 number various sites reported on Thursday. It appears Sony mistakenly put down The Ugly Truth's count twice, and such misinformation somewhat cost me here. Back to the film itself, Julie and Julia has some great signs for a promising leggy run: a high PTA of $8.5K, a Friday-to-Saturday increase of 16%, and a CinemaScore of A. The last couple of Streep-starred summer $20m+ openers turned out to have fantastic stamina, a tradition J&J looks to continue. Even with competition from The Time Traveler's Wife next week, I expect a minimum multiplier of 4 for a total around $90m, and making to the triple digits is not completely out of the question.

3. G-Force - $9.8m (predicted: 10.0)
Not an impressive Friday again, but saved by a much better Saturday increase, and the actual could go above $10m. It is still making its methodical march toward $100m, propelled by the fact that it is grossing as much over the midweek as it does on the following weekend. Should get to $110m.

4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $8.9m (predicted: 9.5)
It appears G.I. Joe hurt it more directly than The Bourne Ultimatum did to HP5, and IMAX could only help it so much. If it follows the trajectory of Order of the Phoenix from now on, it will finish with $302m.

5. Funny People - $7.9m (predicted: 9.5)
Universal cannot catch a break, as for their second film in a row, it experienced terrible WOM to suffer a horrendous drop on the next weekend. This is more unexpected though. Bruno was destined to at least be frontloaded to a certain degree, but Apatow-directed films had never seen a drop this bad. Sandler was supposed to guarantee the opening, while Apatow was to guarantee the leg, and neither part of the equation held up. Now it is looking at a $60m total.

6. The Ugly Truth - $7.0m (predicted: 7.0)
Right on par, although its actual will likely be below 7. The Time Traveler's Wife should hit it hard next week.

7. A Perfect Getaway - $5.8m (predicted: 5.5)
It never appears this one had a chance to deviate from the tracking. It is released at a bad time, as both males and females have much more attractive alternatives. But even on a quieter weekend, its generic plot would still not be appealing enough for viewers to not wait for DVD. With a R-rating, it is more unlikely to survive the onslaught of upcoming movies. Making to its budget number of $14m will be good enough.

8. Aliens in the Attic - $4.0m (predicted: 4.5)
3D has certainly not helped the last couple of animated films much. Now with a paltry PTA of $1,300, it will be dropped like flies by theater owners next week. Look for a theater loss of more than 50%.

9. Orphan - $3.7m (predicted: 4.1)
It is not common to see a third weekend drop be 9% worse than the second weekend without losing many theaters, but that is what direct competition can do. The road ahead remains cloudy, with so many male-oriented films. Regardless, it will gross over $40m and should be proud of its run.

10. (500) Days of Summer - $3.7m (predicted: 4.3)
It was unable to hold its PTA as well as it did the previous weeks, but still a respectable result. By comparison, Little Miss Sunshine had $5.6m in 691 theaters for a $8,119 PTA on its fourth weekend, while Garden State took in $3.0m in 652. (500) Days of Summer is now much closer to the path of the latter instead of the former. Garden State had a multiplier of 7.7 from its fourth weekend, which would put (500) Days of Summer at $37m. I am seeing a little better finish, at $40-45m.

11. The Hangover - $3.4m (predicted: 3.5)
Finally another 30%+ drop after four consecutive weekends of 21% or lower declines, a statement on how insanely good its run has been.

-. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - $2.6m (predicted - 2.7)
The loss of theaters likely put $200m out of reach.

Rating the weekend: *** out of *****; G.I. Joe and Julie and Julia succeeded, but offset by the poor holds among holdovers.
Rating my predictions: **** out of *****; should have gone higher on G.I. Joe and lower on Funny People, but generally satisfied.

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