Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 18 - 20)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs34.3$11,000 average
2. Love Happens11.2$5,900 average
3. Jennifer's Body11.1$4,100 average
4. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself10.5-55.2%
5. The Informant!9.0$3,600 average
6. 96.0-44.1%
7. Inglourious Basterds3.9-36.5%
8. All About Steve2.9-48.6%
9. The Final Destination2.1-62.0%
10. Whiteout2.1-57.3%
11. Sorority Row1.8-64.4%

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is entering a market desperate for some light family entertainment after being bombarded with R-rated films since early August, and it is primed for delivering a breakout number. The trailer has been very well received, and having good early reviews could only help. Its poll numbers of 14% Opening Weekend and 17% Sometime in Theaters at Box Office Mojo are significantly better than what G-Force (7.8% + 12.2%), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (6.9% + 7.2%), and Open Season (9.7% + 14.9%) had. Adding the 3D/IMAX factor, I have a hard time seeing it open below $30m, and it definitely has a shot at breaking the September opening record of $35.6m held by Sweet Home Alabama.

2. R-rated films will continue to cannibalize each other with two more releases this week. That leaves the door open for Love Happens, the PG-13 romantic comedy, to surprise. The theater count is relatively low at 1,898, and it is only getting one screen at most theaters. However, such obstacle has not prevented past similar films to average more than $5,000 per location on the opening weekend. Jennifer Aniston had demonstrated her drawing power by opening each of her last three wide releases to over $27m, while Aaron Eckhart also helped No Reservations to a respective $11.7m initial frame. Look for Love Happens to crack double digit.

3. Because of the unkind environment, the two new R-rated releases are likely to not each their respective potentials. Jennifer's Body is headlining Megan Fox, but a lot of its targeted demographics, younger males, will have to sneak in. The Informant, on the other hand, may appear too weird to attract a bigger audience. The BOM polls are respectable for both, but we have seen failures in the past with similar or even better numbers. The Black Dahlia opened to only $10m with 21.4% Opening Weekend and 24.4% Sometime in Theaters, and just last year, Blindness failed spectacularly even though it had double-digit percentage in both those categories. With the current condition and neither trailer generating much additional interest, the upside potential looks rather limited.

4. Tyler Perry's films tend to suffer large second weekend declines, with the past three dropping an average of 60%. However, I Can Do Bad All By Myself could benefit from being PG-13 to limit the damage to 55%. Whiteout and Sorority Row, on the other hand, won't be as lucky and will be exiting the theaters quickly when the third week comes around. The Final Destination will also be looking at a huge red number with the loss of theaters in general and 3D screens specifically.

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