Friday, October 2, 2009

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 2 - 4)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Zombieland24.9$8,200 average
2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs14.0-44%
3. Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D)12.4$7,100 average
4. Surrogates7.4-50.5%
5. The Invention of Lying6.1$3,600 average
6. Whip It6.0$3,500 average
7. Capitalism: A Love Story4.6$4,800 average
8. Fame4.5-55%
9. The Informant!3.7-44%
10. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself2.4-49%

1. If we simply use the past as guide, Zombieland would not be the favorite to win the weekend, as history has not been kind to horror comedies. Outside the Scary Movie franchise, $13.8m is the biggest any such film was able to open to this decade (Snakes on a Plane). The issue of R-rated films overload has not gone away either. However, something feels different with Zombieland, and as we move closer to the release, more concrete data became available to back up that abstract feeling. Not only the numbers are indicating it is not going to be another Jennifer's Body or Sorority Row, they are also screaming for a substantial breakout. Major Theater Chain's tracking put it at $22m; the Box Office Mojo's polls are excellent at 28.5% Opening Weekend and 20.1% Sometime in Theater; and it is blowing away any other recent releases in terms of tweets count, approaching 10,000 for the week alone. An $8m Friday looks secure, with $10m being a good possibility. Although the internal multiplier is not expected to be strong, the good reviews could help in that department. Look for a $23-27m opening.

2. Another unique entry of the week in its own right, Toy Story is getting ready for its highly anticipated 3rd installment by re-releasing the first two in 3D as double-feature. It has been almost 10 years since its beloved characters last captivated the audience to a $246m total domestically and $485m worldwide, and we will have some sense on how big the third one could be from this re-release. The Pixar fanbase will be there to support it, but Toy Story is also one of those nostalgic films that reach beyond and well into the general public; expect many adults to show up as well. E.T.'s 20th anniversary re-release earned $14.2m on its opening weekend in over 3,000 theaters, while Star Wars' 1997 special edition drew $35.9m for its first three days. If each showing were counted as double, Toy Story would have a shot at getting close to Star Wars' per theater average, but with two films counting as one and a 3-hour total length, the average will be subdued somewhat. $7-8K PTA for a $12-14m weekend should be reasonable.

3. The Invention of Lying looks to be in a position than Ghost Town, Ricky Gervais's film from last fall. Jennifer Garner will bring in some female audience, but the premise is not interesting enough for it to attract many outside Gervais' core fans and pull away from the crowded pack. Whip It, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, is facing a similar dilemma, although Last Saturday's sneaks went well and the reviews are generally positive. The poll numbers are similar to what Fame had, and the number of tweets is pointing to a PTA in the $3,500 range as well. Even with her breakout success of Juno, it is unlikely Ellen Page could lift the film to an opening much more than $6m.

4. Michael Moore is back again with Capitalism: A Love Story. The documentary opened last weekend in just 4 theaters to an unsurprisingly strong average of $58K per location, but it is expanding at a much quicker pace than his last film Sicko, which did not go over 800 theaters until its fifth week. Capitalism is also one of his weakest on the reviews front, even though a lot of other directors would be happy with a 73% rating at rottentomatoes. There is not an exceptional amount of buzz, so look for a more average number of $4-5m.

5. After the two-week reign, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will face its biggest challenge so far with the loss of 3D screens to Toy Story and the direct competition it provides. However, with the limited showings Toy Story has, Cloudy could also benefit from spillover business and should not drop too severely.

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