Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 9 - 11)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Couples Retreat24.9$8,300 average
2. Zombieland14.0-43.5%
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs13.1-17%
4. Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D)10.0-20%
5. Paranormal Activity4.8$30,000 average
6. Surrogates4.3-41%
7. The Invention of Lying4.1-42%
8. Whip It3.1-34%
9. Capitalism: A Love Story3.0-33%
10. Fame2.8-40%

1. Oddly enough, after all the shuffling triggered by Shutter Island's unexpected delay, the only wide release left to open this week is Vince Vaughn's latest film Couples Retreat, a PG-13 comedy that does not appear to have much overachieving potential. However, whether it is due to wise choices or his own star power, his films have been consistent box office performers, with none opening lower than $18.5m since 2005 when releasing in over 1,000 theaters. This one looks to be no different, but despite all the advantages, there is little sign, polls or tweets wise, that it could break out to a $30m+ weekend either.

2. For holdovers, they could not have asked for a better weekend, with little new competition and a Monday holiday in both U.S. (Columbus Day) and Canada (Thanksgiving). Family oriented films are set to benefit the most as a lot of schools will have Monday off, while many working adults, at least in the U.S., will not have such luxury. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has exhibited sensational legs so far, dropping only 37% last weekend even though it lost a big chunk of 3D screens to Toy Story, and it will now have some time to relax before Where the Wild Things Are joins the party on Oct 16th. It should have a Friday increase much closer to the first Thurs-to-Friday jump of 372% instead of the 271% it had last week, and with a better Sunday hold, its internal multiplier will be higher as well, in the vicinity of 4.5. Combining the two factors, it could easily shrink the 29% Wed-to-Wed drop to sub-20% for the weekend.

3. Toy Story 3D is also seeing some excellent dailies so far. The initial 69% Saturday increase indicates the potential frontloadedness generated from its fanbase rushing out was not really there, and the 3-hour runtime should result in a weekend surge as fewer families could find time to see the double-feature during the weekdays. Conservatively speaking, it is looking at a 300% Friday jump and 4.1 IM, which would already put it at $9.5m, so a sub-20% drop is similarly within reach.

4. Last weekend's champion, Zombieland, reminds me of District 9 and Inglourious Basterds. Like those two R-rated films, Zombieland broke out on its opening weekend and is enjoying very positive word-of-mouth, reflected by its strong daily holds. All of them are naturally frontloaded, but the two August successes were able to limit its sophomore decline to around 50% while facing much heavier competition. The environment for Zombieland will be much nicer, so a 45% or lower drop could be expected.

5. The most interesting film of the weekend is in fact the online sensation Paranormal Activity, whose box office performance is very much keeping pace with its insane buzz. It earned a $16,129 per-theater-average in 33 locations, while playing from 10pm on only. That means it basically sold out every showing. Sensing a phenomenon is in the making, Paramount is smartly expanding the horror film into over 150 theaters as well as the showings into the entire day. It will certainly not play as packed during the day, but that will hardly matter. The theaters are giving it multiple screens, in the biggest auditorium too, so a $10K PTA from late night showings could very well translate to a $30K PTA over 3 full days of the weekend. Box office wise, it is one of the most fascinating films to track in some time.

6. As for other new wide releases from last weekend, The Invention of Lying should behave closely to Ghost Town, with better Sunday offsetting the higher degree of frontloadedness. Whip It will not suffer the same fate as Fame; it only needs a 200% Friday recovery and 3.2 IM to reach 3m for the weekend. And the best comparison for Capitalism would be Religulous, which dropped 35% on the same weekend (also its second) a year ago.

1 comment:

  1. Great predictions, I'm glad PA came out on top - by a landslide.
    I'm interested to hear how you think This Is It will perform.