Friday, December 31, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Dec 31 - Jan 2): Happy New Year!

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Little Fockers28.0-9.2%
2. True Grit25.0+0.6%
3. Tron21.0+9.7%
4. Yogi Bear12.5+59.5%
5. Tangled11.0+71.1%
6. The Fighter9.0+18.3%
7. Gulliver's Travels9.0+42.7%
8. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader8.5-10.3%
9. Black Swan8.2+31.1%
10. The King's Speech6.8+51.2%

Wish everyone a Happy 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Dec 24 - 26): Little Fockers, True Grit, Gulliver's Travels, The King's Speech

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Little Fockers26.0$7,353 PTA
2. Tron22.0-50.0%
3. True Grit21.5$7,056 PTA
4. Gulliver's Travels12.0$4,713 PTA
5. Yogi Bear10.0-39.1%
6. Black Swan8.0-4.6%
7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader7.9-36.2%
8. The Fighter7.6-37.4%
9. Tangled6.8-22.5%
10. The Tourist4.4-48.4%
11. How Do You Know4.2-43.9%
12. The King's Speech3.7$5,286 PTA

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last weekend's Predictions

I was out on a 7-day cruise vacation the whole last week and didn't find time to post my predictions here on the blog. However, I did spend some quick time entering the numbers for the Box Office Mojo Derby (while getting charged $0.65 a minute on the ship), as that is one hobby I couldn't abandon. Here are the numbers for reference (you could also find them here):

1. Tron Legacy - 35.0
2. Yogi Bear - 14.0
3. The Fighter - 13.0
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - 12.5
5. Tanged - 10.0
6. Black Swan - 9.0
7. The Tourist - 8.9
8. How Do You Know - 7.5
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I - 4.5
10. Unstoppable - 2.1

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Dec 10 - 12): The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Tourist

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader40.0$11,250 PTA
2. The Tourist16.5$5,990 PTA
3. Tangled15.5-28.3%
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 19.0-47.1%
5. Unstoppable3.9-34.7%
6. Burlesque3.8-38.0%
7. Love and Other Drugs3.7-34.5%
8. Megamind2.7-45.3%
9. Due Date2.6-37.1%
10. Faster2.3-41.5%

Even with the 3D surcharge, the 3rd installment of Narnia is in no position to challenge the openings of its first two films. The Box Office Mojo poll showed 28.3% Opening Weekend for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, while Prince Caspian received 42.0% and 44.4% for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The poll in fact is similar to what Eragon got (26.6% OW), and that opened to $23.2m without 3D help. The surcharge should push Narnia close to $40m, but not much more.

The Tourist was positioned to be the Ocean's Eleven of this December, but more and more likely it will have trouble surpassing even Knight & Day's opening weekend, despite the fact that the Wednesday start diffused some of the weekend earnings for the latter. The signs are certainly not pretty. At BOM, 22.6% users among the 1,000+ votes said they are interested in seeing it the opening weekend, comparing to 26.5% for Knight & Day. The Depp/Jolie combo also possesses more online pulls than Cruise/Diaz at this stage of their respective careers. On the Twitter front, it was on track to get around 5,500 tweets from Monday to Thursday. K&D had a ratio of 3,429, but that was skewed due to its Wednesday opening. Killers had 766, while Salt had 1,087. Look for a ratio around 1,000 for The Tourist, given its theater count not being super high and a relatively generic title. The reviews are quite scathing, so the long term prospect of the film does not look bright either.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (11/29 - 12/5)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Just Call Me Nobody(大笑江湖)60m ($9.01m)New36,9281,639,92660m ($9.01m)
2. Sacrifice(赵氏孤儿)50m ($7.51m)New18,2961,403,31150m ($7.51m)
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1(哈利·波特与死亡圣器(上))34.5m ($5.18m)-58.9%39,4261,052,471199.5m ($30.00m)
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife(生化危机4:来生)21.3m ($3.20m)-53.7%23,643515,364135.8m ($20.42m)
5. Righteous Kill(火线特工)5.3m ($0.80m)New9,796184,0705.3m ($0.80m)
6. Bruce Lee(李小龙)4.6m ($0.69m)-45.9%10,513147,34113.1m ($1.97m)
7. Super Player(大玩家)2.9m ($0.44m)-35.6%8,919113,2377.4m ($1.11m)
8. Unstoppable(危情时速)2.5m ($0.38m)-64.3%4,88085,14965m ($9.79m)
9. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)2.2m ($0.33m)-56.0%3,24360,68928.5m ($4.29m)
10. Xin Kang Ding Qing Ge(康定情歌)0.52m ($0.078m)-75.2%74019,9768.2m ($1.24m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1501)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Dec 3 - 5): The Warrior's Way

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Tangled23.0-52.8%
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 119.1-61.1%
3. Burlesque6.7-43.9%
4. Unstoppable6.1-46.6%
5. Love and Other Drugs5.3-45.6%
6. Megamind5.1-59.4%
7. Due Date3.7-48.4%
8. Faster3.5-58.9%
9. The Warrior's Way2.7$1,665 PTA
10. The Next Three Days2.6-44.5%

Even though it is the sole wide release of the weekend, the signs for The Warrior's Way are universally bad. The advance sales appear non-existent. It looks to gather around a weak 2,200 tweets from Monday to Thursday. With Ninja Assassin getting a ratio of 1,714, Jonah Hex at 3,124, and it having a smaller theater count, expect a ratio in the low 2,000 range for an opening day around $1m. The BOM poll comparison between those films - 5.9% Opening Weekend and 6.1% Sometime in Theaters for The Warrior's Way, 17.4% + 12.4% for Ninja Assassin, and 11.2% + 19.1% for Jonah Hex - also points an opening around $3m.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (11/15 - 28): Harry Potter 7 and Resident Evil 4

11/15 - 21

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1(哈利·波特与死亡圣器(上))81m ($12.21m)New29,6212,493,07481m ($12.21m)
2. Resident Evil: Afterlife(生化危机4:来生)68.5m ($10.32m)New45,2291,706,52868.5m ($10.32m)
3. Unstoppable(危情时速)15.5m ($2.34m)-61.3%24,122516,66655.5m ($8.36m)
4. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)7.3m ($1.10m)-47.9%9,475185,46721.3m ($3.21m)
5. Color Me Love(爱出色)3.6m ($0.54m)-56.1%10,023126,44811.8m ($1.78m)
6. My Sassy Girl 2(我的野蛮女友2)2.7m ($0.41m)-66.3%8,09195,27118.4m ($2.78m)
7. Wind Blast(西风烈)2.4m ($0.36m)-73.3%7,65878,07463.4m ($9.51m)
8. Xin Kang Ding Qing Ge(康定情歌)1.8m ($0.27m)-18.2%2,57964,4235.6m ($0.84m)
9. Love Tactics(爱情36计)1m ($0.15m)-73.7%4,41834,4354.8m ($0.72m)
10. Di Yi Shu Ji(第一书记)0.87m ($0.13m)-59439,29512m ($1.8m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1507)

11/22 - 28

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1(哈利·波特与死亡圣器(上))84m ($12.61m)+3.7%62,0382,636,534165m ($24.82m)
2. Resident Evil: Afterlife(生化危机4:来生)46m ($6.90m)-32.8%36,1701,126,346114.5m ($17.22m)
3. Bruce Lee(李小龙)8.5m ($1.28m)New11,412267,3798.5m ($1.28m)
4. Unstoppable(危情时速)7m ($1.05m)-54.8%10,600234,66362.5m ($9.41m)
5. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)5m ($0.75m)-31.5%5,267132,87226.3m ($3.96m)
6. Super Player(大玩家)4.5m ($0.68m)New8,111168,6024.5m ($0.68m)
7. Xin Kang Ding Qing Ge(康定情歌)2.1m ($0.32m)+16.7%2,47872,8917.7m ($1.16m)
8. Color Me Love(爱出色)1.2m ($0.18m)-66.7%4,07742,64313m ($1.96m)
9. Di Yi Shu Ji(第一书记)1m ($0.13m)+14.9%74950,78713m ($1.93m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1501)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Nov 26 - 28): Tangled, Burlesque, Love and Other Drugs, Faster

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 150.0-60.0%
2. Tangled41.0 / 60 (5-day)$11,379 PTA
3. Burlesque14.0 / 23 (5-day)$4,610 PTA
4. Megamind13.5-15.7%
5. Unstoppable10.1-22.3%
6. Love and Other Drugs9.8 / 14 (5-day)$3,992 PTA
7. Faster8.0 / 12 (5-day)$3,260 PTA
8. Due Date5.8-34.9%
9. The Next Three Days4.9-25.1%
10. Morning Glory3.9-25.0%

Don't have much time to write other than saying Happy Thanksgiving! Basically look for holdovers to have excellent holds with the holiday boost. Harry Potter would be an exception since it grossed $24m, or 19%, during opening midnight on its initial frame. As for the openers, the BOM poll for Tangled is on par with Despicable Me and just a little worse than Enchanted, which didn't have 3D and still grossed $49m over its first five days, indicating $60m for it is achievable. Burlesque's daily pattern should be similar to what Rent had, but with a higher opening day. Faster's BOM poll is significantly worse than what Hitman and Ninja Assassin received, so it may not even beat Love and Other Drugs, even though the latter isn't enjoying the greatest reviews.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Nov 19 - 21): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, The Next Three Days

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1134.0$32,485 PTA
2. Megamind15.9-45.4%
3. Unstoppable12.7-44.0%
4. Due Date7.7-50.1%
5. The Next Three Days6.5$2,535 PTA
6. Morning Glory5.5-40.2%
7. Skyline3.9-66.6%
8. Red3.0-39.7%
9. For Colored Girls1.9-70.8%
10. Fair Game1.3+27.4%

The Harry Potter franchise has seen different release dates, different ratings, and remarkable growth of midnight showings, but one thing has stayed quite consistent among its films: the opening day gross without midnight. Outside Chamber of Secrets, which had $29m, the other ones all opened to $32-36m when we take the midnight earnings out. Expect Deathly Hallows Part I to follow suit on that front. However, as previously mentioned, the culture of seeing event films at midnight (or earlier if studio allows it) has developed big time over the last several years, and with a record 3,700 midnight locations, Deathly Hallows is poised to break the mark of $30m that Eclipse just set this summer. Combining the two, we could see an opening day around $67m, then a $40m Saturday (+11% from Friday without midnight), and $27m Sunday for a $134m weekend, a new high for the franchise even when adjusted for inflation (currently held by Goblet of Fire's $127m).

There are many worrisome signs for The Next Three Days. The general buzz is low, as the marketing has not established why viewers should care about seeing the film in theaters. The number of tweets has not picked up this week, and it has the worst Box Office Mojo poll for a Russell Crowe film since they started the tradition. The Opening Weekend percentage of 8.3% is significantly worse than what his previous film, State of Play, had (15.6%) and basically on par with A Good Year's figure, a romantic drama that opened to a meek $3.7m; the number also trails From Paris with Love's 9.1%. I will be very surprised if this breaks double digits.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (11/1 - 14)

11/1 - 7

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Wind Blast(西风烈)25m ($3.75m)-7.41%31,018763,59152m ($7.79m)
2. Lost in Panic Room(密室之不可告人)10.5m ($1.58m)+61.5%15,618352,23017m ($2.55m)
3. My Sassy Girl 2(我的野蛮女友2)7.7m ($1.16m)New8,168247,3497.7m ($1.16m)
4. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps(华尔街2:金钱永不眠)5.2m ($0.78m)-45.8%7,147150,94347.5m ($7.14m)
5. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame(狄仁杰之通天帝国)4.9m ($0.74m)-55.5%7,171145,920290.5m ($43.49m)
6. Kong Fu Wing Chun(功夫咏春)4.8m ($0.72m)New10,839162,8754.8m ($0.72m)
7. Battle for Terra(塔拉星球之战)4.6m ($0.69m)-41.0%7,666124,76212.4m ($1.86m)
8. Perfect Wedding(完美嫁衣)2.9m ($0.44m)-55.4%5,56697,08714.6m ($2.19m)
9. Don Quixote(唐吉可德)1.75m ($0.26m)-63.5%2,95544,87134m ($5.1m)
10. Xin Kang Ding Qing Ge(康定情歌)1.55m ($0.23m)New3,85952,0481.55m ($0.23m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1500)

11/8 - 14

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Unstoppable(危情时速)42m ($6.33m)New33,5641,358,34442m ($6.33m)
2. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)14m ($2.11m)New9,646340,38414m ($2.11m)
3. Wind Blast(西风烈)9m ($1.36m)-64.0%16,186278,12161m ($9.15m)
4. Color Me Love(爱出色)8.2m ($1.24m)New13,068274,0648.2m ($1.24m)
5. My Sassy Girl 2(我的野蛮女友2)8m ($1.21m)+3.9%13,524268,99715.7m ($2.37m)
6. Lost in Panic Room(密室之不可告人)4m ($0.60m)-61.9%7,957133,68921m ($3.15m)
7. Love Tactics(爱情36计)3.8m ($0.57m)New8,226133,689/td>3.8m ($0.57m)
8. Xin Kang Ding Qing Ge(康定情歌)2.2m ($0.33m)+37.5%5,34683,3643.8m ($0.57m)
9. Kong Fu Wing Chun(功夫咏春)1.1m ($0.17m)-77.6%2,56736,0896m ($0.9m)
10. Battle for Terra(塔拉星球之战)0.95m ($0.14m)-79.3%2,33328,16413.4m ($2.01m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1507)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Nov 12 - 14): Unstoppable, Skyline, Morning Glory

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Megamind28.8-37.4%
2. Unstoppable25.0$7,795 PTA
3. Due Date17.5-46.5%
4. Skyline13.0$4,514 PTA
5. Morning Glory9.5$3,773 PTA
6. For Colored Girls7.4-62.0%
7. Red6.0-30.7%
8. Paranormal Activity 23.1-56.3%
9. Saw 3D3.0-61.2%
10. Secretariat2.7-33.6%

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Nov 5 - 7): Megamind, For Colored Girls, Due Date, 127 Hours

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Megamind55.0$13,945 PTA
2. For Colored Girls32.0$15,045 PTA
3. Due Date32.0$9,538 PTA
4. Saw 3D8.4-65.3%
5. Red7.3-32.0%
6. Paranormal Activity 25.8-64.9%
7. Hereafter3.6-43.9%
8. Jackass 3-D3.4-60.0%
9. Secretariat3.2-36.1%
10. The Social Network3.0-33.6%
-. 127 Hours0.28 (in 4 theaters)$70,000 PTA

1. Not only Megamind bears a sense of resemblance with Despicable Me in term of plots, they also share similarities on the box office front. The Box Office Mojo poll on when one will see the film has Megamind at 21.9% Opening Weekend and 25.1% Sometime in Theaters, while it was 21.0% OW and 27.5% SiT for Despicable Me. The tweets count is a little lower for Megamind, indicating a smaller Friday, but it will have a better internal multiplier and could make up good ground in the following two days. Madagascar 2, for example, had a 3.59 IM on the same weekend two years ago. Look for a $16-17m opening day and 3.2-3.4 IM for Megamind.

2. The battle for second place will be fierce and quite closer than most anticipated. In fact, there is a 50/50 chance that For Colored Girls would come out ahead of Due Date this weekend, even though the former will be in 1,228 fewer theaters. The key is that Tyler Perry's films do not need that many theaters; their strategy is to pick and saturate the right locations for their audience, and as a result, they usually have very high per-theater-averages. The BOM poll puts For Colored Girls between Why Did I Get Married Too? ($13,591 PTA in 2,155) and Madea Goes to Jail ($20,192 PTA in 2,032), and the advance sales have been excellent. The tracking tends to underestimate urban-focused films, and even they have the film to open in the mid-$20m range, so it does not appear breaking $30m should be an issue.

3. Due Date, on the other hand, is sold mainly on the drawing power of Robert Downey Jr. and the good will for director Todd Phillips from his previous film The Hangover, so the tracking, which put it at mid-$30m, could be overestimating in this case. The trailer didn't actually generate that much positive reaction, and it is now echoed by the mediocre reviews. In addition, there could be a fatigue factor on R-rated as well as male-oriented films given we have had plenty of them in October (For Colored Girls is also rated R, but its particular audience has been very underserved). The film should still break $30m, but not by much.

4. With three diverse films all expecting to do well, the holdovers will not have much space to hide, especially R-rated films. Jackass and Paranormal Activity 2 have the additional disadvantage of seeing their respective 3D and IMAX screens under assault. On the indie front, a big Oscar contender will enter the market. Danny Boyle's new film 127 Hours has been gathering accolades since its premiere in festivals, in particular regarding James Franco's performance. Opening in only 4 theaters this weekend, it should have a gigantic PTA exceeding $60K.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (10/25 - 31)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Wind Blast(西风烈)27m ($4.04m)New21,683818,92627m ($4.04m)
2. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame(狄仁杰之通天帝国)11m ($1.65m)-50%15,630340,768285.6m ($42.75m)
3. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps(华尔街2:金钱永不眠)9.6m ($1.44m)-48.7%12,915294,65942.3m ($6.36m)
4. Battle for Terra(塔拉星球之战)7.8m ($1.17m)New11,121208,7237.8m ($1.17m)
5. Lost in Panic Room(密室之不可告人)6.59m ($0.99m)New6,896213,3246.59m ($0.99m)
6. Perfect Wedding(完美嫁衣)6.5m ($0.97m)+25.0%11,680218,04711.7m ($1.75m)
7. Don Quixote(唐吉可德)4.8m ($0.72m)-68.0%6,568120,75432m ($4.8m)
8. Inception(盗梦空间)4.3m ($0.64m)-31.7%4,652137,688456.65m ($67.74m)
9. Ai Qing Wei Xiu Zhan(爱情维修站)3m ($0.45m)-18.9%8,052109,6496.7m ($1.01m)
10. My Ex-Wife's Wedding(跟我的前妻谈恋爱)2.9m ($0.43m)+61.1%8,065104,1294.7m ($0.70m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1498)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 29 - 31): Saw 3D

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Saw 3D22.0$7,835 PTA
2. Paranormal Activity 216.5-59.4%
3. Red10.6-29.5%
4. Jackass 3-D9.6-55.0%
5. Hereafter8.0-33.4%
6. The Social Network4.9-32.7%
7. Secretariat4.8-31.4%
8. Life as We Know It4.0-34.8%
9. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole1.9-41.5%
10. The Town1.9-30.9%

1. 3D will certainly help Saw's bottom line; if we assume the film would get 90% of its gross from 3D screens, the same amount of opening weekend admissions as what Saw VI had, a series-low by far, would give it $18-19m. In addition, although Paranormal Activity 2 will remain a potent force, facing it on its second weekend is quite a bit better than running into a phenomenon head-on as it was developing in full force, the fate suffered by Saw VI. Being advertised as the final installment and having Halloween falling on Sunday will help some too. Expect it to start out with $10m on Friday before earning around $22m over the three days.

2. 15% of Paranormal Activity 2's opening came from midnight ($6.3m out of $40.7m), so it will be difficult for the film to avoid 55% drop this weekend, Halloween or not. In fact, it would be an achievement if it could retain 50% of the audience excluding midnight (i.e. $17.2m+), although a good Friday increase in the range of 200% could be expected.

3. With only one film opening and it being rated R, look for another round of good holds in general. Hereafter also has the extra benefit of adding another 243 theaters (+11.1%). However, Halloween is not particularly a box office friendly holiday, as there will be many weekend activities, especially on the trick-or-treat Sunday. Here is what happened last time when Halloween fell on a Sunday, so look for harsher Sunday declines for non-horror films.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (10/18 - 24): Detective Dee No. 1 for the 4th straight week; Inception passed 450m yuan

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame(狄仁杰之通天帝国)22m ($3.30m)-35.3%26,040668,286274.6m ($41.10m)
3. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps(华尔街2:金钱永不眠)18.7m ($2.81m)+33.6%22,876575,20732.7m ($4.92m)
3. Don Quixote(唐吉可德)15m ($2.25m)+25.0%18,288383,72927m ($4.06m)
4. Inception(盗梦空间)6.3m ($0.95m)-41.1%6,132196,875452.35m ($67.10m)
5. The Island(绝命岛)5.5m ($0.83m)-38.9%10,165183,01414.5m ($2.18m)
6. Perfect Wedding(完美嫁衣)5.2m ($0.78m)New6,789163,0605.2m ($0.78m)
7. Ai Qing Wei Xiu Zhan(爱情维修站)3.7m ($0.56m)New7,207127,8063.7m ($0.56m)
8. Reign of Assassins(剑雨)3.3m ($0.50m)-57.1%6,091106,34866.0m ($8.72m)
9. The Love of the Hawthorn Tree(山楂树之恋)2.7m ($0.41m)-44.9%5,65984,454144.3m ($21.55m)
10. L'arnacoeur(芳心终结者)2.05m ($0.31m)New5,68769,6802.05m ($0.31m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1502)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 22 - 24): Paranormal Activity 2, Hereafter

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Paranormal Activity 230.0$9,328 PTA
2. Jackass 3-D23.0-54.3%
3. Red14.5-33.4%
4. Hereafter10.0$4,585 PTA
5. The Social Network6.9-33.1%
6. Secretariat6.8-27.0%
7. Life as We Know It5.8-35.2%
8. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole2.8-33.8%
9. The Town2.5-37.1%
10. Easy A1.6-39.2%

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (10/4 - 17)

10/4 - 10/10

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame(狄仁杰之通天帝国)100.6m ($15.04m)-14.7%55,6743,033,775218.6m ($32.68m)
2. Inception(盗梦空间)40m ($5.98m)-1.7%20,1551,171,646435.35m ($64.54m)
3. Reign of Assassins(剑雨)24m ($3.59m)-22.6%21,687726,39255m ($8.22m)
4. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen(精武风云·陈真)18.4m ($2.75m)-43.4%19,772565,110132.9m ($19.84m)
5. The Love of the Hawthorn Tree(山楂树之恋)18m ($2.69m)-30.0%17,347544,959136.7m ($20.40m)
6. Die Jagd nach dem Schatz der Nibelungen(查理曼帝国密码)5m ($0.75m)+61.3%6,197174,8258.1m ($1.21m)
7. Love on Lushan Mountian 2010(庐山恋2010)3.1m ($0.46m)New6,954111,8323.1m ($0.46m)
8. The Sorcerer's Apprentice(魔法师的学徒)1.38m ($0.21m)-42.5%1,93351,78260.28m ($8.95m)
9. Pandemic(感染列岛)1.17m ($0.17m)New2,85240,8461.17m ($0.17m)
10. Hu Wang Gui Lai(虎王归来)1.1m ($0.16m)-37.1%2,34747,2914.95m ($0.74m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1495)

10/11 - 10/17

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame(狄仁杰之通天帝国)34m ($5.12m)-66.2%32,0241,017,354252.6m ($37.80m)
2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps(华尔街2:金钱永不眠)14m ($2.11m)New10,818418,41014m ($2.11m)
3. Don Quixote(唐吉可德)12m ($1.81m)New8,852295,05712m ($1.81m)
4. Inception(盗梦空间)10.7m ($1.61m)-73.3%10,730319,593446.05m ($66.15m)
5. The Island(绝命岛)8.7m ($1.31m)New12,938296,7258.7m ($1.31m)
6. Reign of Assassins(剑雨)7.7m ($1.16m)-67.9%11,370238,97062.7m ($8.22m)
7. The Love of the Hawthorn Tree(山楂树之恋)4.9m ($0.74m)-72.8%8,145150,908141.6m ($21.14m)
8. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen(精武风云·陈真)3.6m ($0.54m)-80.4%7,568110,735136.5m ($20.38m)
9. Jerry Cotton(悍将双雄)3.4m ($0.51m)New7,355115,8033.4m ($0.51m)
10. Virtual Recall(异空危情)1.2m ($0.18m)New2,25945,4201.2m ($0.18m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1505)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 15 - 17): Jackass 3-D, Red

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Jackass 3-D34.0$11,035 PTA
2. Red23.0$7,066 PTA
3. The Social Network10.1-34.6%
4. Secretariat9.5-25.2%
5. Life as We Know It8.6-40.7%
6. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole4.5-34.7%
7. The Town3.8-40.7%
8. Easy A2.7-37.1%
9. My Soul to Take2.2-67.8%
10. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps2.1-54.4%

The Final Destination (42.9% increase over its predecessor in term of opening, 31.9% jump in per-theater-average) and Resident Evil: Afterlife (12.5% increase, 0.6% drop in PTA) provided us a couple of examples on how the 3D version of Jackass may perform. Jackass has a relatively stable audience, but the 3D fatigue could turn a few people off and make it have fewer admissions than before. Still, little so far has suggested it would not at least beat Jackass: Number Two: the BOM poll is stronger, there are plenty of tweets, and the advance sales are very robust. Resident Evil is likely the worst case scenario, while a 20% improvement to a $35m opening is well within reach.

On surface Red has a pretty generic plot, but what it has in its favor is the all-star cast, and the trailer effectively utilized that asset to generate a lot of interests, not just among the older demo, but also the 25-34 age crowd. The twitter report from may look weak, but I would contribute it to the super-generic title as the author Alex Edghill readily pointed out; a sub-100 ratio would not surprise me. The other signs are all quite excellent: Major Theater Chain tracking put it at $20m, 33% stronger than ReelSource' mid-teen figure; the BOM poll is much better than what films such as Cop Out and last year's Law Abiding Citizen received; and the PG-13 rating allows it to absorb any sneak-in or spillover business Jackass may generate. Look for it achieve a $7K+ PTA.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (9/27 - 10/3): Huge start for Detective Dee, not so for Reign of Assassins

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame(狄仁杰之通天帝国)118m ($17.64m)New42,9363,537,170118m ($17.64m)
2. Inception(盗梦空间)40.7m ($6.08m)-39.3%20,9981,179,710395.35m ($58.56m)
3. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen(精武风云·陈真)32.5m ($4.86m)-60.4%31,730991,458114.5m ($17.09m)
4. Reign of Assassins(剑雨)31m ($4.63m)New25,941950,04531m ($4.63m)
5. The Love of the Hawthorn Tree(山楂树之恋)25.7m ($3.84m)-46.5%23,155780,680118.7m ($17.71m)
6. Die Jagd nach dem Schatz der Nibelungen(查理曼帝国密码)3.1m ($0.46m)New3,174107,0443.1m ($0.46m)
7. The Sorcerer's Apprentice(魔法师的学徒)2.4m ($0.36m)-77.1%3,96287,62358.9m ($8.74m)
8. Hu Wang Gui Lai(虎王归来)1.75m ($0.26m)-16.7%2,88777,9513.85m ($0.57m)
9. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)0.67m ($0.10m)+3.1%69421,36490.09m ($13.3m)
10. Track Aduowan(举起手来2)0.38m ($0.057m)-76.3%58817,1348.26m ($1.22m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1495)

Note: The week-long Independence holiday in China ran from Oct 1st to 7th.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 8 - 10): Secretariat, Life as We Know It, My Soul to Take, It's Kind of a Funny Story

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Secretariat15.7$5,100 PTA
2. The Social Network15.2-32.3%
3. Life as We Know It12.5$3,970 PTA
4. My Soul to Take7.3$2,840 PTA
5. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole7.1-34.8%
6. The Town6.2-36.4%
7. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps5.3-47.0%
8. Easy A4.0-40.7%
9. You Again3.1-45.8%
10. It's Kind of a Funny Story3.0$4,000 PTA
11. Case 392.5-53.2%
12. Let Me In2.3-55.3%

Don't have much time again to write in more details; I will just provide my daily breakdown for each time instead. Basically one factor to note is that Monday is Columbus Day in the U.S. and Thanksgiving in Canada. This means good news to all films, as their Sunday holds would improve by an average of 8% from the previous week, and family flicks would especially benefit. Secretariat itself will receive an extra boost for Sunday with Disney concerted effort to appeal to religious households.

Secretariat4.76.3 (+34%)4.7 (-25%)
The Social Network4.5 (+155%)6.3 (+40%)4.4 (-30%)
Life as We Know It4.25.2 (+24%)3.1 (-40%)
My Soul to Take2.62.8 (+8%)1.9 (-32%)
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole1.7 (+210%)3.2 (+90%)2.2 (-32%)
The Town1.9 (+134%)2.6 (+35%)1.7 (-36%)
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps1.7 (+120%)2.3 (+35%)1.3 (-42%)
Easy A1.3 (+200%)1.7 (+31%)1.0 (-42%)
You Again0.93 (+140%)1.35 (+45%)0.77 (-43%)
It's Kind of a Funny Story0.91.2 (+35%)0.9 (-30%)
Case 390.75 (+120%)1.01 (+35%)0.7 (-31%)
Let Me In0.72 (+110%)0.97 (+35%)0.62 (-36%)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Oct 1 - 3): The Social Network, Let Me In, Case 39

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Social Network24.2$8,733 PTA
2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps11.2-41.1%
3. The Town10.8-30.8%
4. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole10.7-33.6%
5. Easy A7.4-30.2%
6. Let Me In6.0$2,970 PTA
7. You Again5.7-32.2%
8. Case 394.5$2,035 PTA
9. Alpha and Omega3.2-32.4%
10. Devil3.1-53.1%

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (9/20 - 26)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen(精武风云·陈真)82m ($12.23m)New49,3472,506,11282m ($12.23m)
2. Inception(盗梦空间)67m ($10.00m)-9.46%33,3781,971,748354.65m ($52.48m)
3. The Love of the Hawthorn Tree(山楂树之恋)48m ($7.16m)+6.67%39,7621,460,74293m ($13.84m)
4. The Sorcerer's Apprentice(魔法师的学徒)10.5m ($1.57m)-47.5%11,966348,60556.5m ($8.38m)
5. Hu Wang Gui Lai(虎王归来)2.1m ($0.31m)New4,22084,2962.1m ($0.31m)
6. Track Aduowan(举起手来2)1.6m ($0.24m)-44.8%2,88664,9877.9m ($1.17m)
7. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)0.65m ($0.097m)+22.6%86820,01889.88m ($13.23m)
8. The Expendables(敢死队)0.46m ($0.61m)-88.8%1,34214,424213.06m ($31.90m)
9. Taste of Spring(大劫难)0.36m ($0.054m)-40.0%5113,6931.64m ($0.24m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1492)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 24 - 26): Wall Street 2, Legend of the Guardians, You Again, The Virginity Hit

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps30.0$8,415 PTA
2. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole25.0$6,993 PTA
3. The Town16.0-32.8%
4. You Again14.0$5,495 PTA
5. Easy A9.6-45.9%
6. Devil4.3-65.0%
7. Resident Evil: Afterlife4.2-58.0%
8. Alpha and Omega4.1-55.0%
9. Takers1.6-47.1%
10. Inception1.3-33.9%
-. The Virginity Hit0.3$429 PTA

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is looking strong everywhere: Major Theater Chain tracking had its opening at low 30s; the BOM poll (20.2% Opening Weekend + 20.1% Sometime in Theaters with 1,208 votes as of this writing) is 15-20% stronger than what 21, a film with similar feel that opened to $24.1m, received, while the twitter activity correlates to indicate a $10m opening day is indeed in play; and finally, Fandango reported outstanding advance ticket sales. Being a sequel could mean higher upfront awareness and thus inflate the numbers a little, but it appears to stand a solid chance at earning $30m this weekend.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is not doing too bad itself, especially considering that being an animated film gives it an advantage in having a good internal multiplier. Last weekend Alpha and Omega surged 80% on Saturday and had a 3.98 IM, and in general, animated features released in fall would jump 60% or more on Saturday and achieve a 3.7+ IM, so Legend of the Guardians does not need that big of a Friday to gross over 20m this frame. Its advance sales have also been solid, while the BOM poll (16.7% OW + 17.4% SiT) is a tad stronger than what Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (13.9% and 17.5% respectively) had. However, we should take into the account that director Zack Synder (300, Watchmen) does enjoy a bigger online following than usual animated film directors. It will not win Friday, but the battle for the other two days will be fierce. At the minimum, we will have two openers making over $20m on a September weekend for the first time ever.

You Again is a funny case. It has very low number of tweets, but on the other hand, all the BOM polls it appears in are super strong. Other than a mechanical error or sudden influx of female users at BOM, it is hard to find a reasonable explanation to reconcile the two, so in this case, I will resort to more of a gut feeling. The trailer is effective, the cast is bigger than what When in Rome had, and Betty White is ubiquitous at the moment. The only drawback is that it comes at the heels of Easy A, but the latter, while enjoying good word-of-mouth, did not break out nearly as much as some of us expected. Overall, there is little reason to believe it won't beat When in Rome's $12.4m start.

The last "wide" release of the week, The Virginity Hit, is also one of the least anticipated films in some time. Sony tried to build a grassroot, word-of-mouth campaign by having sneaks in selected college towns since Sep 10th, but as LA Times mentioned, it failed to generate much interest even from its prime demographics, and with mediocre feedbacks, those screenings in fact hurt its earning potential this weekend by draining its audience ahead of time. The BOM poll is strikingly similar to what another flopped Sony release, The Brother Solomon (also R-rated and from September), got, and the extra advance screenings could make this film do even worse. I personally checked its tweets count for the last couple of days, and the number didn't exceed 200 per day, very dismal since it will surely have one of the highest ratios we have seen with the limited theater count and its appealed demo. Don't see it having a per-theater-average over $500.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (9/13 - 19): Inception three-peated

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Inception(盗梦空间)74m ($10.99m)-31.8%45,1182,146,794287.65m ($42.48m)
2. The Love of the Hawthorn Tree(山楂树之恋)45m ($6.68m)New36,5081,348,54745m ($6.68m)
3. The Sorcerer's Apprentice(魔法师的学徒)20m ($2.97m)-23.1%27,043647,24946m ($6.81m)
4. The Expendables(敢死队)4.1m ($0.61m)-67.2%11,126128,084212.6m ($31.29m)
5. Track Aduowan(举起手来2)2.9m ($0.43m)-14.7%6,197116,0466.3m ($0.93m)
6. The Stool Pigeon(线人)0.82m ($0.12m)-80.5%3,13226,77952m ($7.65m)
7. Aftershock(唐山大地震)0.65m ($0.097m)-65.8%1,86519,631648.65m ($95.70m)
8. Taste of Spring(大劫难)0.6m ($0.089m)-14.3%9124,0191.3m ($0.19m)
9. Ice Kacang Puppy Love(初恋红豆冰)0.57m ($0.085m)-28.8%3,53822,6160.57m ($0.085m)
10. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)0.53m ($0.079m)-72.1%1,29415,35389.23m ($13.13m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1485)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 17 - 19): Easy A, The Town, Devil, Alpha and Omega

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Easy A25.0$8,754 PTA
2. The Town16.0$5,592 PTA
3. Devil16.0$5,694 PTA
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife9.6-64.0%
5. Alpha and Omega6.7$2,552 PTA
6. Takers3.2-43.6%
7. The American2.7-52.4%
8. The Other Guys2.0-40.3%
9. Going the Distance1.8-52.5%
10. Machete1.7-60.4%

It appears to have become a tradition to release four new films wide targeting various demographics on this September weekend. Last year, the four movies opened to $55.7m combined, but only Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs really excelled with a $30.3m start, while the gross was more evenly distributed in 2008, as the four took in $62.9m without anyone breaking $20m. This year will be likely be somewhere in between. There is one clear dud among the new releases, but the other three could all do solid to great business.

There are reasons to believe any of the top 3 could win the weekend: The Town has very positive reviews and excellent advance sale figure from Fandango; Devil has a short runtime and Universal's aggressive marketing. However, to me, Easy A will be the clear winner of the frame because it has one advantage of the others: the utter lack of competition. The market has been saturated with R-rated as well as male-oriented films in the past month, and there has not been one targeting teenage girls basically since Eclipse. The trailer is effective, the campaign is more than adequate, and the buzz is building up fast. This could be another Dear John type of breakout, except it also has good reviews to boost, which could help attract older women and extend its legs. Here are some actual numerical evidence:

Major Theater Chain - $25m, ReelSource - low-teens; we know when MTC is that much higher than RS, 90% of the time the film will be much closer to MTC's number, if not 20%+ larger.

Box Office Mojo poll
Easy A - 14.6% Opening Weekend, 14.1% Sometime in Theaters, 38.2% Never
The House Bunny - 7.8% OW, 9.1% SiT, 51.5% Never, $14.5m opening
Sydney White - 4.5% OW, 5.4% SiT, 65.3% Never, $5.2m opening

The poll comparison also suggests it will open significantly higher than what The House Bunny did.

The main obstacle facing The Town is the R-rating, as there had nothing but R-rated wide releases in the last couple of weeks. The reviews will help bring in the older audience; on the other hand, they did not exactly assist Gone Baby Gone. The tracking put its start at around $15m, while the advance sales are indicating something bigger. Look for a result in between.

Devil's problem is M. Night Shyamalan and how viewers will react to seeing his name, even though he is not the director this time. When I saw the film's earlier trailer in theater, the audience either sneered or shook their head when his name showed up. It may not be a general representation of all reactions, but from the fact that Universal took his name off the later TV spots, it appears they have the same concern too. Still, the premise is intriguing, and it could perform similarly to what past films that dealt with confined space had done (Phone Booth - $15.0m, Red Eye - $16.2m).

There isn't much to say about Alpha and Omega except that it will not gross double-digit this weekend, and with Legend of the Guardians next on its heels, its stay at the theaters will be short. Last weekend may have been a better choice to release the film, even if it means it had to deal with another 3D movie.

With the new releases hogging the screens, the holdovers will experience somewhat large declines in general, especially R-rated movies. Also noticed Going the Distance and The Other Guys are sharing one screen or with another film in some instances, so their per-theater-averages could suffer as a result.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (9/6 - 12): Inception crossed 200m yuan

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Inception(盗梦空间)108.5m ($16.03m)+3.19%50,5013,134,026213.65m ($31.49m)
2. The Sorcerer's Apprentice(魔法师的学徒)26m ($3.84m)New19,884818,12426m ($3.84m)
3. The Expendables(敢死队)12.5m ($1.85m)-62.1%21,626385,208208.5m ($30.68m)
4. The Stool Pigeon(线人)4.2m ($0.62m)-71.0%9,743130,69351.2m ($7.53m)
5. Track Aduowan(举起手来2)3.4m ($0.50m)New5,330131,0713.4m ($0.50m)
6. Aftershock(唐山大地震)1.9m ($0.28m)-61.2%4,21354,535648m ($95.60m)
7. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)1.9m ($0.28m)-72.1%3,42049,62188.7m ($13.05m)
8. The Last Airbender(最后的风之子)1.11m ($0.16m)-82.9%2,44229,67130.61m ($4.50m)
9. Adventure of the King(龙凤店)0.83m ($0.12m)-76.3%2,94427,39229.3m ($4.31m)
10. Ice Kacang Puppy Love(初恋红豆冰)0.8m ($0.12m)New3,80027,9520.8m ($0.12m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1477)

One rather interesting thing happened late yesterday, when the official report suddenly updated Inception's opening week figure to 105.15m yuan. In fact, the data for all the films were adjusted, including the number of showings and admissions (the updated numbers). Regardless of the reason, it is a welcome development and makes the number more inline with the original deduction.

As expected, The Sorcerer's Apprentice did not put much of a dent into Inception's dominance. The competition will get tougher this week with Zhang Yimou's latest film The Love of the Hawthorn Tree, but it is a romantic comedy and appeals more to the female audience. Inception could very much three-peat, and crossing $50m later this month should not be an issue.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 10 - 12)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Resident Evil: Afterlife30.4$9,500 PTA
2. The American6.2-53.0%
3. Takers6.0-44.8%
4. Machete5.1-55.3%
5. The Expendables3.7-44.1%
6. Going the Distance3.5-49.2%
7. The Last Exorcism3.2-56.4%
8. The Other Guys3.1-41.4%
9. Inception3.0-34.4%
10. Eat Pray Love2.8-41.7%

It is shaping up to be a rather mundane weekend, with only one R-rated film opening wide on the historically weak post Labor Day weekend. However, Resident Evil is no stranger to this frame. Six years ago, Apocalypse opened to $23.0m, at the time the biggest start ever for the post Labor Day weekend. Now Afterlife is ready to retake the claim, currently held by The Exorcism of Emily Rose's $30.1m, with help from 3D screens. One may argue that 3D is currently suffering from some backlashes, as more viewers become reluctant to pay the extra cost when many films are post converted only, but Afterlife is a little different. It is the first live-action film since Avatar that is directly shot in 3D, and being a non-family affair could also alleviate the fatigue factor since it is easier for individuals to afford the added cost comparing to a full family.

The Final Destination looks to be a good comparison for Afterlife, as it was also the fourth installation of the franchise and the first to be released in 3D. Let's use Box Office Mojo polls as a measuring stick. There The Final Destination improved upon its immediate predecessor with 21.1% Opening Weekend interest vs. 16.3%. It was also released in 8.37% more theaters, and that resulted in a 43.0% increase in the opening weekend figure ($27.4m vs. $19.2m). On the Resident Evil front, Afterlife shows 29.5% Opening Weekend, comparing to 25.8% for Extinction, and it has a theater count increase of 13.3%. Deducting from these data gives Afterlife just a hair over $30m and a new record for this weekend.

Holdovers normally experience large declines this frame since last Sunday was heavily inflated by the holiday, but with only one new wide release and it being R-rated again, we could see a few drop in the low-40s or even mid-30s, like Inception (The Dark Knight declined only 36%). With schools having started and NFL season returning, we will begin seeing typical fall weekend pattern: big Friday and Saturday increases, but also much heavier Sunday drops.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (8/30 - 9/5)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Inception(盗梦空间)105.15m ($15.46m)New43,9112,982,322105.15m ($15.46m)
2. The Expendables(敢死队)33m ($4.85m)-63.3%38,1411,025,163196m ($28.83m)
3. The Stool Pigeon(线人)14.5m ($2.13m)-54.7%21,238468,16447m ($6.91m)
4. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)6.8m ($1.00m)-69.1%8,608164,33086.8m ($12.77m)
5. The Last Airbender(最后的风之子)6.5m ($0.96m)-71.7%9,998197,38829.5m ($4.34m)
6. Aftershock(唐山大地震)4.9m ($0.72m)-59.2%7,727141,575645.9m ($95.29m)
7. Adventure of the King(龙凤店)3.5m ($0.51m)-68.2%7,663114,94228.5m ($4.19m)
8. Love In Disguise(恋爱通告)2.0m ($0.29m)-65.5%4,58370,20054.8m ($8.06m)
9. Curse of the Deserted(荒村公寓)0.75m ($0.11m)-68.8%1,97926,72823.65m ($3.48m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1470)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Update for Inception in China

LA Times first reported the $13.6m figure for Inception's 5-day opening, and the number was echoed by (China equivalent of IMDb) when it showed 93m yuan ($13.7m). These remain estimates, as the final actual will be reported tomorrow by the official agency in China, but it looks like the figure won't deviate much from that. The discrepancy from what was deducted using the crowd reports and the theater chain returns from the major cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou likely means it didn't perform as strongly in the smaller cities and rural areas, causing the biggest cities accounted for a bigger percentage of the market share. It is an excellent opening nonetheless, and 300m yuan still looks good given the word-of-mouth.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Inception in China Update: around 16m yuan on Wednesday and 30m yuan after 2 days

Still not official yet, but should be much closer than what my original deduction of early returns showed since it comes from calculation based on two major theater chains in Shanghai and Canton.  The 5-day projection will come down a notch, but the weekend does appear strong and has been picking up stream rapidly, with Saturday looking to exceed what A Simple Noodle Story earned on the same day.  Considering A Simple Noodle Story made 101.32m yuan over its first 4 days, I would expect Inception's 5 day total to fall between 100m and 120m yuan.

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 3 - 6)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Machete17.0$6,370 PTA
2. The American15.6$5,530 PTA
3. Takers11.3-44.9%
4. Going the Distance11.0$3,630 PTA
5. The Last Exorcism8.1-60.2%
6. The Expendables6.2-34.9%
7. Eat Pray Love5.3-22.2%
8. The Other Guys4.9-22.0%
9. Inception4.3-11.8%
10. Nanny McPhee Returns3.8-19.4%

The American earned $1.67m on its opening Wednesday, which may feel weak at first glance, but it is in fact a norm for Wednesday openers on Labor Day frame to not start out strong while come back to have a respectable weekend.  Here are the Wednesday-to-4-day-weekend multipliers of past such films since 1999:

Traitor - 12.63
Balls of Fury - 8.35
The Constant Gardener - 11.79
Vanity Fair - 10.45
Chill Factor - 13.57
Outside Providence - 11.51

Despite the OK reviews from critics, The misleading marketing campaign is creating some poor word-of-mouth from the general viewers, and Clooney's presence could increase the degree of frontloadedness.  Still, I would not expect its multiplier to be lower than Balls of Fury's given its adult-oriented nature.  A 9-9.5 multiplier would put its 4-day gross at $15-16m and 6-day total at $18-19m.

Could Machete beat The American for the weekend?  The film presents a very interesting case: on one hand, The tracking from Major Theater Chain was strong, and the Box Office Mojo poll is not shabby either; but on the other hand, director Robert Rodriguez has a much larger ratio of online following vs. general public awareness, and the failure of Grindhouse remains fresh in our minds.  My personal feeling is that the action/adventure genre could offset some of the online inflation and alleviate the level of frontloading.  Expect it to win Friday comfortably with $5m before falling back to make the weekend result much closer, as The American's IM will be quite a bit better, but I do believe it will stay ahead in the end.

Does not look like there will be a breakout for Going the Distance.  The BOM poll is right in the neighborhood of what She's Out of My League and My Best Friend's Girl, two other R-rated romantic comedies, had.  A similar $3m Friday would yield around $11m for the long weekend, echoing what the tracking indicated earlier this week.

The Last Exorcism has been mirroring Halloween 2's dailies very closely and is on track for a 65%+ drop over the 3-day portion even with holiday's help.   It should also experience the heaviest Monday decline.  Takers will hold better, but without any theater expansion (Sony missed an opportunity here) and a B CinemaScore, it is unlikely to prevent a 50%+ drop for the 3 days.  One piece of good news for the holdovers is that all three openers are rated R, while most of them are less restricted.  This could create sneak-in business as history has shown the direct competition hurts the most when it comes from film with the same rating, but it could in fact help when the new release is more restricted.  Also the family films will see the best holds on Labor Day Monday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Early Opening Day Verdict on Inception in China: Superb

From all the reports I have been reading on various Chinese forums, in particular Baidu Tieba, I feel comfortable to put Inception's opening day at around 20m yuan, +/-5%.  It looks to have 85-95% of The Expendables' opening Friday's admissions, but with the benefit of 14 IMAX screens, the gross should be right on par.  It may not look very earth-shattering like Avatar's 33m yuan opening Monday, but it is in fact a remarkable number considering this is a non-summer Wednesday where school just got started, and people normally are not in the mood to rush out seeing films.  A 20m yuan start would mean a 120m+ opening five days (e.g. 20 + 16 + 25 + 38 + 30), and with the type of legs I expect it to achieve, 400m yuan ($58.8m) looks very much achievable.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (8/23 - 8/29): mediocre opening for The Last Airbender

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. The Expendables(敢死队)90m ($13.24m)+23.3%54,5792,802,865163m ($23.98m)
2. The Stool Pigeon(线人)32m ($4.71m)New24,5841,006,92232m ($4.71m)
3. The Last Airbender(最后的风之子)23m ($3.38m)New18,797672,51423m ($3.38m)
4. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)22m ($3.24m)-62.1%15,132494,71580m ($11.77m)
5. Aftershock(唐山大地震)12m ($1.77m)-65.7%11,435337,932641m ($94.57m)
6. Adventure of the King(龙凤店)11m ($1.62m)-26.7%13,297355,52625m ($3.68m)
7. Love In Disguise(恋爱通告)5.8m ($0.85m)-80.7%7,445198,35852.8m ($7.77m)
8. Curse of the Deserted(荒村公寓)2.4m ($0.35m)-83.2%3,67382,02322.9m ($3.37m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1471)

Excellent for The Expendables, and it will pass 200m yuan either this weekend or sometime next week. Inception will hit all films pretty hard and likely prevent it from getting to 250m. Still, one of the big successes of the year.

The second place turned out to be a surprise, as good word-of-mouth propelled The Stool Pigeon over The Last Airbender, and it was not a close contest, even though the latter had an extra day. Don't expect any legs for The Last Airbender either, and it should finish short of 40m yuan.

Shrek Forever After dropped hard, but it came as no shock because the film was released on a holiday Monday and had 7 full days for its opening week. Then The Last Airbender took away a lot of its 3D screens on the second go-around. It probably won't reach 100m yuan now.

A benchmark is also out of reach for Aftershock after last week's decline: $100m. It is losing the IMAX screens to Inception on Wednesday and should finish short of 650m yuan.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Aug 27 - 29)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Takers15.7$7,100 PTA
2. The Last Exorcism15.5$5,400 PTA
3. The Expendables9.0-47.0%
4. Eat Pray Love7.8-35.6%
5. Nanny McPhee Returns6.0-28.6%
6. The Other Guys5.8-42.7%
7. Inception5.2-33.7%
8. Vampires Suck5.0-59.0%
9. Avatar: Special Edition4.8$5,900 PTA
10. The Switch4.8-43.1%
11. Lottery Ticket4.6-56.8%
12. Piranha 3D4.0-60.4%

The battle of Takers and The Last Exorcism somewhat reminded the weekend of Four Brothers/The Skeleton Key five years ago, where Four Brothers surged past all expectations to become a surprise winner of that frame. Takers will likely not reach similar height, especially with fewer theaters, but the urban demographics is severely under-served this summer, and the tracking many times underestimated action films that targeted the demo. In fact, Takers' pre-release tracking was quite similar to what Brooklyn's Finest, which opened to $13.4m, and it has a better breakdown in Box Office Mojo poll. Despite of the poor reviews, a $15m+ opening is very much achievable, and that could be enough to win the weekend over The Last Exorcism.

Avatar: Special Edition is the wild card of the weekend. Re-release within a year or so of the original release and with blue-ray/DVD already available for several months tends to not do well, and some, like The Passion Recut ($0.224m opening in 957 theaters), failed spectacularly. However, James Cameron's films have shown the ability to not follow the rules. The advance sales are quite good, but the question is how much walk-in business it will get. My thinking is that it will have one of the highest, if not the highest, ratio of advance-ticket vs. walk-in buyers we have seen, because people who are interested in seeing the film this time mostly belong to two groups: 1) die-hard fans, who will buy tickets in advance regardless; 2) folks who missed out watching it in IMAX or 3D, and they certainly wouldn't want to risk making the same mistake again of having the show sold out and not being able to get in. For the rest of the mass, those families or friends who are casually deciding what movie to check out this weekend, the chance of picking Avatar over all the new films on the spot is small. Overall, the IMAX attendance should be strong, possibly on the level of The Polar Express' first re-release ($18,518 average in 66 IMAX screens), but 3D screens will see much more subdued business. Don't be surprised if IMAX format accounts for 40% or more of the gross.

With many schools starting earlier this week, the Friday increases for holdovers will see significant improvement if there are little changes in external factors (e.g. screen count, level of direct competition), and Saturday will be better by 10-20 percentage points too, although 40%+ decline will now become the norm for Sunday. Films which are on their third week or after should generally experience better weekend holds than their respective Wed-to-Wed holds. However, some will face a tougher task as both new openers are targeting mainly males and having only a PG-13 rating, not creating much chance for either sneak-in or spillover business. Specifically, look for Piranha 3D, Vampires Suck, and Lottery Ticket to get hit the hardest due to direct competition and mediocre word-of-mouth. Nanny McPhee and Eat Pray Love, on the other hand, are in the best position to stabilize well, with the former potentially seeing a sub-30% drop like Shorts did this weekend last year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (8/16 - 8/22): The Expendables reigned supreme

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. The Expendables(敢死队)73m ($10.74m)New26,7182,206,10473m ($10.74m)
2. Shrek Forever After(怪物史莱克4)58m ($8.53m)New28,8061,282,61858m ($8.53m)
3. Aftershock(唐山大地震)35m ($5.15m)-41.7%23,985977,107629m ($92.81m)
4. Love In Disguise(恋爱通告)30m ($4.41m)+76.5%22,487997,00847m ($6.92m)
5. City Under Siege(全城戒备)18m ($2.65m)-53.8%16,045572,88388m ($12.97m)
6. Curse of the Deserted(荒村公寓)14.3m ($2.10m)+130.6%12,887483,43420.5m ($3.02m)
7. Adventure of the King(龙凤店)14m ($2.06m)New12,431443,03714m ($2.06m)
8. Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec(阿黛拉的非凡冒险)7.0m ($1.03m)-60.0%6,490234,58452.5m ($7.74m)
9. The Emerald And The Pearl(翡翠明珠)6.2m ($0.91m)+82.4%6,048297,7749.6m ($1.41m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1471)

A fantastic start for The Expendables. It had a second-best opening of the year for a foreign film, behind you-know-who and ahead of Alice in Wonderland (67m yuan) and Iron Man 2 (60m). Alice, with the help of 3D, finished with a 3.34 multiplier, while Iron Man 2 stopped at 2.88. The latter would put The Expendables' total at 210m yuan, but with fewer summer weekdays and films such as The Last Airbender and Inception waiting to open this week and next, it could experience shorter legs. Still, 200m yuan total will be a fantastic achievement. Jet Li is certainly a draw, but more importantly, I believe the nostalgic factor is playing a big role in the film's success, as 25-35 year old males in China grew up watching Stallone and Schwarzenegger when the first batch of Hollywood films was imported. It's similar to why Transformers films were so successful in that sense.

Shrek Forever After opened on Monday, so it had the full week to make the 58m, and over the weekend it got hit pretty hard by The Expendables in term of screens. However, the performance remains excellent, especially when one considers none of the previous Shrek films broke 13m yuan total in their respective releases. It should finish close to what Toy Story 3 earned (111m).

Lastly, Aftershock survived the new openers fine and is still on track for $100m.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Aug 20 - 22)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Expendables15.3-56.1%
2. Vampires Suck14.5$4,870 PTA
3. Eat Pray Love13.1-43.3%
4. Nanny McPhee Returns11.9$4,500 PTA
5. The Other Guys9.9-43.1%
6. Lottery Ticket9.7$4,920 PTA
7. Piranha 3D9.3$3,700 PTA
8. Inception6.7-40.6%
9. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World5.1-51.9%
10. The Switch4.5$2,600 PTA

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (8/9 - 8/15): A day of mourning on Sunday

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Aftershock(唐山大地震)60m ($8.84m)-50.0%40,5421,631,214594m ($87.66m)
2. City Under Siege(全城戒备)39m ($5.75m)+25.8%32,6811,251,20370m ($10.33m)
3. Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec(阿黛拉的非凡冒险)17.5m ($2.58m)-37.5%16,866588,63145.5m ($6.72m)
4. Love In Disguise(恋爱通告)17m ($2.51m)New12,242549,98317m ($2.51m)
5. Curse of the Deserted(荒村公寓)6.2m ($0.91m)New4,553203,2126.2m ($0.91m)
6. OceanWorld 3D(深海探奇)4.7m ($0.69m)-52.5%5,475115,11120.7m ($3.05m)
7. The Emerald And The Pearl(翡翠明珠)3.4m ($0.50m)New3,544109,5713.4m ($0.50m)
8. Seven Arhat(七小罗汉)2.8m ($0.41m)-53.3%3,20489,28523.1m ($3.41m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1474)

One factor to note is that Sunday was a national day of mourning in China for the victims of landslide that killed more than 1,200 people in the country's northwest, and all entertainment venues were shut down, so the box office was essentially depressed by a day. Adding that this Monday was Chinese Valentine's Day, we could expect the holds to be quite strong for the current week. The releases of Shrek Forever (8/16) and The Expendables (8/20) will also add to the fireworks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Aug 13 - 15)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Expendables32.0$9,790 PTA
2. Eat Pray Love22.0$7,140 PTA
3. The Other Guys16.5-53.6%
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World14.0$4,970 PTA
5. Inception12.0-35.2%
6. Step Up 3D7.5-52.6%
7. Despicable Me6.7-27.8%
8. Salt6.0-45.0%
9. Dinner for Schmucks5.0-51.8%
10. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore3.6-47.8%

The Expendables has good tracking numbers: 33 from Major Theater Chain and low-to-mid 30s from Reel Source. Its Opening Weekend figure at the Box Office Mojo poll is 20% stronger than what A-Team had, putting the weekend gross at $31m, so the range of $30-35m appear solid for its opening. The R-rating won't be much of a hindrance since it appeals mostly to the older audience anyway. Don't expect much leg from the film though.

Sony/Columbia is hoping to replicate the success of Julie & Julia with Eat Pray Love; however, the early reviews indicate at least matching the former's legs is unlikely. For the opening weekend, it does have an advantage of being in 464 additional theaters, as well as having a best-selling source material and the comeback story of Julia Roberts. The advance sales have also been stellar. On the other hand, its BOM poll (9.5% OW and 10.5% SiT) is not as strong as what we saw from Julie & Julia (11.7% and 13.9%) or The Time Traveler's Wife (12.1% and 15.1%), so a breakout of over $25m looks unlikely. Combining all of the signs, I will put its opening figure on the low-20s.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is looking very much like Kick-Ass, except with worse signs. The Opening Weekend number in the BOM poll is 31% weaker (23.4% vs. 34.1%), and it is also weaker than Snakes on a Plane's 29.5%. One difference is that Scott Pilgrim is rated PG-13 while the other two have the R-rating, and that could help, especially with a R-rated, male-oriented film opening at the same time. The twitter count is simply massive, but I do see an extremely high, possibly record-high, ratio with its pure focus to the online crowd. It will also be quite frontloaded, and a 20%+ Saturday decline is not unreasonable even with good word-of-mouth given that we are still in summer. The screen allocation looks worrisome with most theaters giving it only a single screen, so I will stay somewhat conservative and say $6m Friday for a $14m weekend.

The stiff competition will cause The Other Guys to drop hard, but it won't be as big as what the movie did to Dinner for Schmucks last frame due to better word-of-mouth and the fact that The Expendables is rated R. The R-rating could also help a number of holdovers in the top 10, such as Inception and Salt, by creating potential sneak-in business.

Both the first two Step Up films dropped around 50% on their second weekend (50.8% and 49.2%), but the original one benefited from a 7% increase in theater count, while opening on Thursday helped stabilize the sequel's hold. The third one does also have a couple of positive factors: 3D and the lack of new direct competition, as it appeals mainly to the under-25 female crowd; however, a bigger first Saturday decrease than the original indicates even if the positive factors between the films offset each other, it should still decline more than what the first film experienced.

The best hold in the top 10 will belong to Despicable Me because it no longer has to deal with the loss of 3D screens or any new competition for the family audience. Expect a Friday jump of over 45% and a sub-30% drop overall.

On a side note, it is kind of weird to not have a horror movie anywhere in sight on a Friday the 13th weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (8/2 - 8/8): Aftershock three-peated

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Aftershock(唐山大地震)120m ($17.72m)-48.7%68,0223,218,020534m ($78.82m)
2. City Under Siege(全城戒备)31m ($4.58m)New16,267960,94231m ($4.58m)
3. Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec(阿黛拉的非凡冒险)28m ($4.14m)New20,138938,65228m ($4.14m)
4. OceanWorld 3D(深海探奇)9.9m ($1.46m)+62.3%9,411239,82516.0m ($2.36m)
5. My Belle Boss(我的美女老板)6.1m ($0.90m)+27.1%10,302208,12010.9m ($1.61m)
6. Seven Arhat(七小罗汉)6.0m ($0.89m)-38.8%6,532313,49920.3m ($3.00m)
7. The Haunting Lover(等着你回来)3.1m ($0.46m)-38.0%5,807108,9248.1m ($1.20m)
8. Di Yi Shu Ji(第一书记)2.8m ($0.41m)-12.5%722111,9106.8m ($1.00m)
9. Knight & Day(危情谍战)2.3m ($0.34m)-67.1%3,14369,90890.9m ($13.41m)
10. Toy Story 3(玩具总动员3)1.5m ($0.22m)-50.0%2,35966,137110.9m ($16.34m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1477)

The HongKong police film City Under Siege had an excellent start, especially considering it opened on Friday. The starpower of Aaron Kwok and Shu Qi definitely helped, and it should have no problem reaching the 100m yuan benchmark. Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec opened on Tuesday and earned the highest opening week ever for a French film. The word-of-mouth is fine but nothing extraordinary. Should be on its way to a 70-80m yuan total.

On the holdovers front, Aftershock became the biggest Chinese film ever and only the second film to cross 500m yuan. However, the hold itself was merely OK and not strong enough to make $100m (680m yuan) total a lock yet. With competition intensifying in the upcoming weeks, it could see more drops around 50%. Still, it became the biggest Chinese film ever OceanWorld showed the staying power of both 3D and the documentary genre and should continue occupying a spot in the top 10 for a few weeks, while Knight & Day and Toy Story 3 are reaching the end of their runs.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Aug 6 - 8)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Other Guys35.0$9,590 PTA
2. Inception19.0-30.9%
3. Step Up 3D16.0$6,570 PTA
4. Dinner for Schmucks12.9-45.2%
5. Salt11.0-43.5%
6. Despicable Me10.7-31.1%
7. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore6.9-43.8%
8. Charlie St. Cloud5.1-58.8%
9. Toy Story 33.5-31.7%
10. The Kids Are All Right3.0-14.9%

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (7/26 - 8/1): strong second week for Aftershock

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Aftershock(唐山大地震)234m ($34.54m)+30.0%89,2546,268,416414m ($61.1m)
2. Seven Arhat(七小罗汉)9.8m ($1.45m)+117.8%9,549313,49914.3m ($2.11m)
3. Knight & Day(危情谍战)7.0m ($1.03m)-56.3%6,903209,33088.6m ($13.07m)
4. OceanWorld 3D(深海探奇)6.1m ($0.90m)New3,981137,8536.1m ($0.90m)
5. The Haunting Lover(等着你回来)5.0m ($0.74m)New6,393174,3985.0m ($0.74m)
6. My Belle Boss(我的美女老板)4.8m ($0.71m)New4,832161,0734.8m ($0.71m)
7. Di Yi Shu Ji(第一书记)3.2m ($0.47m)+400%727127,4904.0m ($0.59m)
8. Toy Story 3(玩具总动员3)3.0m ($0.44m)-51.6%2,35966,137109.4m ($16.12m)
9. Tang Bo Hu Dian Qiu Xiang 2(唐伯虎点秋香2)3.0m ($0.44m)-75.0%5,13596,93054.0m ($7.97m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1476)

Aftershock continued to completely dominate the headlines. In fact, it received more admissions than what Avatar got on its sophomore week; only the lower average ticket price prevented it from claiming the largest second week ever (Avatar earned 1m yuan more). It is already a lock to pass 2012 to become the second biggest film ever in China, and with admissions already over 10m, it also possesses a great shot at surpassing Titanic for the 2nd place on the admissions chart (Avatar, of course, claims both records and will not be threatened in any way). Even with three new releases, no other film got more than 10,000 showings for the entire week, and with a weak August slate, Aftershock could see more solid holds and get to 700m+ yuan total.