Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Apr 30 - May 2)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street35.8$10,744 PTA
2. How to Train Your Dragon12.0-21.8%
3. The Back-Up Plan7.3-40.2%
4. Date Night6.9-34.0%
5. Furry Vengeance6.0$2,002 PTA
6. Clash of the Titans5.2-41.7%
7. The Losers5.1-45.8%
8. Death at a Funeral4.4-45.2%
9. Kick-Ass4.4-52.9%
10. Oceans3.2-47.2%

Don't have much time to write my thoughts in details, but fortunately it is a pretty straight-forward weekend to predict. BOM polls comparison on the openers (Friday the 13th and Saw V for A Nightmare on Elm Street; The Spy Next Door, Shorts, and Firehouse Dog for Furry Vengeance) match the tracking quite well. Some holdovers will benefit from having one R-rated film as the central attraction of the week, similar to what happened two weeks ago (it was two R-rated films that time, but the total should be similar to what Elm Street will earn). Kick-Ass can't catch a break and will be the one to get hurt the most with its rating and direct competition for its core audience.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (4/19 - 25)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Clash of the Titans(诸神之战)57m ($8.35m)+5.6%25,8411,130,279111m ($16.26m)
2. Go LaLa Go(杜拉拉升职记)41m ($6.01m)-10.9%33,9811,302,82887m ($12.75m)
3. East Wind Rain(东风雨)15m ($2.20m)New14,815440,39915m ($2.20m)
4. Echoes of the rainbow(岁月神偷)7.2m ($1.06m)+100%7,948207,49210.8m ($1.58m)
5. The Orphanage(孤堡惊情)5.4m ($0.79m)+14.9%7,574181,94010.1m ($1.48m)
6. Mr. Black(黑猫警长)3.4m ($0.50m)New4,584127,0553.4m ($0.50m)
7. Alice in Wonderland(爱丽丝梦游仙境)3.1m ($0.45m)-77.2%2,65962,995221.7m ($32.48m)
8. Avatar(阿凡达)1.2m ($0.18m)-10312,5361.35b ($197.7m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.14653)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 4)

Avatar (2009)

Achievements:
  - The biggest film of all time with a $750m+ total, shattering Titanic's old record by 25%
  - The biggest 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th weekend ever
  - 7 straight weeks at No. 1, the best such stretch since Titanic's 15 consecutive weeks
  - 11 straight weekends of $13m+ gross
  - 9.75 multiplier

This will likely be the most controversial pick of the entire list, not for its inclusion, but rather for its positioning.  How could it not be ranked No. 1, let alone outside the top 3?  One may legitimately ask.  First let's go over why it has a very good argument for the top spot.  It is, essentially, the Titanic of the decade and will be the most remembered film of the period.  Many of its achievements, such as the number of weeks at No. 1, had not been seen since Titanic, and in some cases, it broke the record that Titanic had held since its release (e.g. the biggest 4th-7th weekend).  Its week-to-week holds also mirrored Titanic quite well, and its 9.75 multiplier is the best ever for films with $30m+ opening.

So why didn't I place it No. 1?  The biggest reason: the 3D/IMAX factor.  The most obvious impact of 3D is the higher ticket price.  If we go by admissions, Avatar would trail Titanic by a good amount and be much closer to Shrek 2 instead considering the discrepancy in average price between the two is even more significant due to Shrek's family audience.  3D also provides another layer of shields against the general competition, as 2D movies may compete for its demographics, but they can't take away its 3D screens, the main source of its earning.  That allows the film to hold better, and Avatar had a major advantage in release schedule, where there was not another 3D release in sight until Alice in Wonderland 11 weeks later, not to mention December releases are known for having great stamina with holiday season help.  So once the excellent reviews started to pour in, one could begin sensing another Titanic type of run might be on the table.  In fact, two people whom I hold high regard toward, Mark from WorldofKJ and Martin from BOM, were able to predict a $75m opening and a $600m+ total.  In other words, the run is not as inconceivable as it appears, even though $750m is still pretty darn hard to envision any way we slice it.  I simply feel that the three films left had runs that are a bit more inexplicable and stunning, even though none of them came within 50% of what Avatar will make in the end.

NOTE: If we are grading on the worldwide performance, Avatar will surely claim the top spot for having the most impressive box office run of not only just last decade, but ever.  As magnificent as it has done in the U.S., how it performed among the rest of the world is even more outrageous, including some out-of-this-world figures in a number of countries.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 5)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Achievements:
  - Became the biggest period adventure film of all time with $305m, breaking Raiders of the Lost Ark's 22 years record by 26%
  - Did not have a weekend drop over 37.5% until its 22nd week
  - 5.9 overall multiplier

Predictions Comparison:
  - BOG: $41m; Brandon Gray: $35.8m; BOM Derby: $39.9m

Pirates of the Caribbean is a case of examining the circumstance at the time to truly feel how magnificent the feat is.  Films about pirates had not been popular since early 90s when Spielberg directed Hook to a $120m total, let alone one based a theme-park ride.  Just five days before its release, DreamWorks' Sinbad became the latest victim with a tiny $6.9m opening.  Disney had also seen its share of big-time failure in Treasure Planet ($140m budget, $38m total).  In addition, although The Ring gave director Gore Verbinski more recognition, but it was the first time he took on a big-budget action film, and the budget was big.  The reported $140m figure made many believe it would be one of the bombs of that summer.  Instead, it completely revived the dead genre and triggered a franchise that already grossed over 1 billion dollars in the U.S. (with the fourth film on the way).  Johnny Depp's iconic performance also elevated him to a completely new level in terms of star power.

The opening of Pirates of the Caribbean - $70.6m 5-day, $46.6m weekend - is impressive enough, but where it shined more is its legs.  Action films are not known for endurance, and over 50% drops on the second weekend were already common back in the summer of 2003.  POTC, on the other hand, not only avoided 50% or 40% drop, it held better than even Finding Nemo on their next four respective weekends.  If that is not jaw-dropping, I don't know what else would qualify.  The key is Disney successfully turned it into a family-friendly adventure, making it behave more like a G-rated film than a PG-13 one.  Still, it had to fend off Bad Boys II (action) on week 2 and Spy Kids 3D (family adventure) as well as Tomb Raider 2 (action/adventure) on week 3, so holding as well as it did was certainly no small task and is a testimony of its word-of-mouth, truly one of the very best of the entire decade.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekend Box Office Projections: The Back-Up Plan - 11.7, The Losers - 8.6, Oceans - 6.3

Based on the Friday numbers from BOM:

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. How to Train Your Dragon15.5-21%
2. The Back-Up Plan11.7$3,570 PTA
3. Date Night10.0-40%
4. Kick-Ass9.0-55%
5. The Losers8.6$2,930 PTA
6. Clash of the Titans8.0-48%
7. Death at a Funeral7.5-54%
8. Oceans6.3/8.8$5,220 PTA
9. The Last Song3.7-38%
10. Alice in Wonderland2.2-40%

Not much surprise in general.  My worst call is Oceans, as I overestimated how good its per-theater-average could be while playing only on one screen at most theaters.  In the end it will still have a healthy average for the weekend, one that is better than what Earth got.

Kick-Ass also fell quite a bit harder than I expected.  The word-of-mouth among its targeted audience is very good, but a CinemaScore of B indicates the overall WOM is divided.  The Losers, although not earning much itself, provided direct competition nonetheless.  I'd like to think my good-will after watching the movie on Monday clouded my judgment a little. :-)

BOM has How to Train Your Dragon at $3.44m, but BOG said 3.7, so it could fluctuate some from my current projection,  anywhere from 14.5 to 16.5.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Apr 23 - 25)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. How to Train Your Dragon14.7-25.1%
2. The Back-Up Plan13.0$3,960 PTA
3. Kick-Ass10.9-45.0%
4. Date Night9.5-43.2%
5. Clash of the Titans8.3-46.1%
6. Oceans8.0/12.0$6,630 PTA
7. The Losers7.5$2,550 PTA
8. Death at a Funeral7.3-55.0%
9. The Last Song3.8-36.3%
10. Alice in Wonderland2.2-39.8%

I personally have no confidence in The Losers doing well. The buzz is alarmingly small for a comic book adaptation, and the existing chatters are concentrated on the Internet; as we saw from Kick-Ass and Snakes on a Plane, even the highly hyped ones may fail to translate the online buzz to real box office receipt when they were not complemented by awareness from the general public. In some ways The Losers reminds me of Shoot'Em Up and Crank 2. Its poll numbers at Box Office Mojo (14.4% Opening Weekend) are quite weak for such a film (Kick-Ass had 34.1% OW by comparison), so is the pre-sale figure. The only positive factors are the PG-13 rating and a reasonable theater count, but they are unlikely to be enough for a double-digit weekend. Look for a $3m Friday, $7.5-8m 3-day, and no more than $20m total in the end.

Initially I did not expect The Back-Up Plan to perform much better than CBS Films' first feature Extraordinary Measures, but it is releasing at an opportune time, as the weakness of the frame could allow the film to find a bigger audience. Jennifer Lopez had seen some success in the past, in particular with Monster-in-Law where it opened to $23.1m en route to a $82.9m total. However, the movie was almost 5 years ago and helped by being Fonda's first non-documentary film in 15 years. A romantic comedy never does well in BOM polls, but we could make horizontal comparison between it and other similar films, and in the case of The Back-Up Plan, the numbers are better than what Must Love Dogs and The Wedding Date had. A low-teen opening appears to be in store, and it could even win the weekend.

The most natural comparison for Oceans would certainly be Earth last year. Oceans faces a disadvantage in theater count (1,206 vs. 1,804), but it also has a few advantages. First Earth Day has grown more mainstream as people have become more conscious of the environment, and this is its 40-year anniversary. In addition, ocean is an easier sell to kids and families; one reason Finding Nemo remains the most popular Pixar film ever could be that water imagery and its blueness are more attractive than dry dirt and hot earth. Oceans is also directed by Jacques Perrin, the director of Winged Migration, a film beloved within the nature documentary community. Altogether, they could help Oceans to have a similar start with $4m on Thursday and $8m over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (4/12 - 18)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Clash of the Titans(诸神之战)54m ($7.91m)New13,7511,032,50454m ($7.91m)
2. Go LaLa Go(杜拉拉升职记)46m ($6.74m)New24,4091,420,19146m ($6.74m)
3. Alice in Wonderland(爱丽丝梦游仙境)13.6m ($1.99m)-74.8%15,511303,639218.6m ($32.02m)
4. Future X-Cops(未来警察)6.9m ($1.01m)-67.1%13,970227,34758m ($8.50m)
5. Beauty on Duty(美丽密令)5.2m ($0.76m)-64.1%11,437182,54136.2m ($5.30m)
6. The Orphanage(孤堡惊情)4.7m ($0.69m)New4,574153,9464.7m ($0.69m)
7. Echoes of the rainbow(岁月神偷)3.6m ($0.53m)New4,724120,6433.6m ($0.53m)
8. Crossing Hennessy(月满轩尼诗)2.7m ($0.40m)-66.3%6,34086,56616.7m ($2.45m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1465)

Clash of the Titans launched on Friday, so 54m yuan is quite good.  However, with earthquake dominating the news this week and national grievance day on Tuesday, its legs could be adversely affected.

Even though it came in second, Go LaLa Go, the fourth directorial feature of JingLei Xu, is actually attracting a lot more conversations, especially within the young white-collar working group.  Ms. Xu is one of the biggest stars in China, and the film has a Sex and the City flavor to it.  Without much direct competition on the horizon, it should have no problem crossing her stated goal of 100m yuan total.

Alice in Wonderland was clearly hurt by the loss of 3D screens to Clash of the Titans and will finish around $33m.

NOTE: just realized How to Train Your Dragon's release has been pushed back to May 14th, the week after Iron Man 2's starting date.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 6)

Spider-Man (2002)

Achievements:
  - Set a new record for the biggest opening weekend with $114.8m
  - Had the biggest second weekend ($71.4m) and third weekend ($45.0m) ever
  - Was the fastest to gross $100m (3 days), $200m (9 days),  and $300m (22 days)
  - Became only the second original film to gross over $400m in its initial release (Titanic being the other one; E.T. only surpassed the mark on its 20-year anniversary release)

Predictions Comparison:
  - BOG: $80m; Brandon Gray: $84.7m; BOM Derby: $73.8m

Harry Potter was the first film where the possibility of a triple-digit opening weekend was floated around, and when it failed to achieve the mark, nobody expected that Spider-Man would be the one to break through merely six months later.  In fact, few thought it could reach Harry Potter's new record of $90.3m.  Instead, Spider-Man shattered it by 27.1% while playing on fewer screens (7,500 vs. 8,100).  While it is true that early May had just become a popular new date to launch the first summer blockbuster with the success of The Mummy Returns ($68.1m), immediately going from there to $114.8m is utterly remarkable any way we look at it.

The opening weekend alone would have warranted a consideration for the list, but what happened next elevated Spider-Man to another level.  First it dropped an excellent 37.8% to set a new second weekend record, and then came the second jaw-dropper: it fell just 36.9% against the opening of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.  At least the second weekend could be explained by the lack of competition and the fact that Harry Potter dropped a comparable 36.3% on its sophomore frame, but an even better hold against a $80m behemoth from the biggest box office franchise in history?  It also continued to hold up well after that and almost completely overshadowed Attack of the Clones for the duration of its run.

Spider-Man provided a blueprint for future success stories and indicated what was possible for films such as Shrek 2 and The Dark Knight, and it surpassed the original expectation by a mighty impressive amount as well ($400m vs. $200-250m), so I did not hesitate to put it higher on the list.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Apr 16 - 18)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Death at a Funeral24.0$9,760 PTA
2. Kick-Ass22.0$7,180 PTA
3. How to Train Your Dragon16.5-33.6%
4. Date Night14.5-42.5%
5. Clash of the Titans14.4-45.9%
6. The Last Song5.1-48.1%
7. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too5.0-54.6%
8. Alice in Wonderland3.3-37.8%
9. Hot Tub Time Machine3.1-42.9%
10. The Bounty Hunter2.6-38.3%


Between the two new releases, Kick-Ass definitely has an upper hand in terms of buzz.  However, when comparing to other similar films, I have a hard time envisioning a $30m+ opening weekend.  Its Box Office Mojo poll numbers (35.3% Opening Weekend, 20.1% Sometimes in Theaters) are several notches below what Sin City (55.1% OW, 21.4% SiT) and V for Vendetta (41.8% OW, 29.2% SiT) gathered.  Kick-Ass's source is relatively young, so while there are a lot of vocal supporters online, its audience may not be as broad as others, especially when come to grab the attention of older males.  Then there is the conflict between the teenage demographics that the story clearly attracts to and its strict R-rating; in another word, how many of the people who are interested in seeing the film will actually buy a ticket for it instead of having to sneak in through a different movie remains a legitimate question.

Death at a Funeral, on the other hand, has a clearly targeted audience and will not need to deal with any such confusion.  Its BOM poll figures of 7.6% OW + 12.5% SiT are in fact quite a bit better than what an African-American film normally receives.  I would argue between the two, it has a smaller potential downside.  Look for a very close race on Friday, with possibly $9m for each film, but Death at a Funeral will pull out a victory with a better internal multiplier.  Long term though is a different story.

Having both new wide releases R-rated, especially with one primed for sneak-in business like Kick-Ass, means good news for the majority of holdovers.  Outside Hot Tub Time Machine, the only R-rated movie among last week's top 10, the film that set to benefit the least would likely be The Last Song, since it is the last movie teenage boys would try to buy a ticket to sneak into Kick-Ass.  Why Did I Get Married Too has to face direct competition, and most of its audience is over 17 anyway, so it should continue dropping hard, although there could be some hope if Death at a Funeral experiences a lot of sellouts.

Some are predicting a sub-30% or even sub-20% decline for How to Train Your Dragon, but my calculation does not yield such optimistic result.  Comparing to last week, it will have a much better Friday jump (should be 200% or above) and an IM, but on the other hand, spring break helped inflate last weekend's overall figure some.  Monsters vs. Aliens translated a 64.2% Wed-to-Wed drop to a 35.6% decline the equivalent frame last year; while How to Train Your Dragon should definitely do better, turning its 66.2% Wed-to-Wed drop into a sub-30% number will require some magnificent daily recoveries.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 7)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)


Achievements:
  - The biggest foreign language film with $128.1m total, 122.5% better than the runner-up Life is Beautiful
  - The highest grossing film that never hit the top 3 in any weekend during its release
  - The second biggest film that never expanded beyond 2,050 theaters (behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
  - 6 straight weeks of $12K+ per-theater-average

I will always have a soft spot for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as it is the main film responsible for igniting my passion on tracking box office.  Personal feeling aside, it also had a run deserving of such a high placement despite its relatively small total comparing to some of the other movies on the list.  In some degree, it is the Fahrenheit 9/11 equivalent of foreign films, but better due to several reasons:

  1. The distance between Crouching Tiger and the next biggest film of its genre has not shortened.  F9/11 created a bigger gap when it was released, but March of the Penguins was able to come closer to it than any foreign films have come to challenge CTHD.  In fact, no other has even surpassed Life is Beautiful yet.

  2. Crouching Tiger's run was more unexpected.  When discussing Fahrenheit 9/11, I explained why its success was foreseeable in retrospect, especially with The Passion of the Christ showing to what degree controversy could propel a film just several months earlier, but there was no such comparison with CTHD.  Life is Beautiful is the closest precedence; however, Sony Picture Classics, which biggest grosser at the time was Howard's End, was nowhere near as powerful as Miramax, with Oscar and commercial successes such as Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, and Good Will Hunting under its belt.  $50-60m was considered the best scenario case.  Instead, it obliterated the old record.

  3. Crouching Tiger had a more balanced run from beginning to the end.  While it is true that we cannot compare it with F9/11 on a week-to-week basis since CTHD started out as a platform release in December with help from awards buzz along the way, its overall body of work still stands out more.  It almost doubled its theater count on the second weekend and only saw its PTA dip 16%; then when it expanded 303% on its 6th weekend, the PTA shrunk just 37%.  And in between when it was stuck at 143-172 theaters, its average hardly moved at all and in fact increased a bit overall (from $18,439 to $20,147 to $19,816).  I remember screaming from my keyboard on why Sony Picture Classics was not expanding it faster to take advantage of the buzz and holiday season, not yet truly understanding the whole concept of platform release at the time.  Although I still believe they could have done a little more with the incredible word-of-mouth the film was having, I certainly no longer fault them for the strategy.  During its entire run, it had only 3 weekends of 36%+ declines and no weekend where it dropped over 46%, while its PTA stayed above $2,100 for 17 straight weeks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (4/5 - 11)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Alice in Wonderland(爱丽丝梦游仙境)54m ($7.91m)-35.7%29,9801,130,179205m ($30.03m)
2. Future X-Cops(未来警察)21m ($3.08m)-30.0%23,116666,24351m ($7.47m)
3. Beauty on Duty(美丽密令)14.5m ($2.12m)-12.1%16,158478,07431m ($4.54m)
4. Just Another Pandora's Box(越光宝盒)9.8m ($1.44m)-45.6%13,668308,953128.8m ($18.87m)
5. Crossing Hennessy(月满轩尼诗)8.0m ($1.17m)+33.3%11,568250,31214m ($2.05m)
6. Fire of Conscience(火龙对决)7.8m ($1.13m)+1.3%12,866252,01915.5m ($2.27m)
7. Direct Contact(孤胆拯救)2.4m ($0.35m)New4,69275,9732.4m ($0.35m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.146518)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 8)

Apologize for the delay; had a couple of hectic weeks.  I do plan to go through the rest of the list in a more brisk pace to have all revealed before the summer starts.  Anyway, let's get right to it.


The Dark Knight (2008)

Achievements:
  - The biggest opening weekend ever ($158.4m), including the biggest Friday at the time ($67.2m) and the biggest Sunday ($43.6m)
  - The biggest non-holiday Monday ($24.5m)
  - Finished as the second biggest film all-time ($533.3m)
  - 160% increase over its predecessor, Batman Begins

Predictions Comparison:
  - BOG: $132m; BOM Derby: $137.4m; myself - $142m

Sequels tend to have an inherent disadvantage when coming to impressiveness since most of them were made because the original became successful, and by default they carry high expectations.  It is a reason why only two sequels immediately came to mind when I started compiling the candidates for the list.  However, when they are able to exceed the expectation by a significant margin, one becomes very appreciative of the occurrence.  In the case of The Dark Knight, a lot of the numbers are simply staggering, but what will always define its run for me is its first four days.  Let's recap them:

  - Opening Friday: $67.2m, including $18.5m from midnight alone.  Beating Spider-Man 3's opening day was thought to be possible since TDK was debuting in July instead of early May, but it achieved way more, extending the record by 12%
  - First Saturday: $47.7m, meaning it decreased a mere 2% from Friday without midnight.  By comparison, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which was also launched in July, decreased 9% on its first Friday-to-Saturday.
  - First Sunday: $43.6m, the start of two of the most ridiculous days ever.  That represents an 8.5% drop from Saturday, the best Sunday hold of any $80m+ openers (even better than the three films that started on the long Memorial Day weekend) and one of the best Sunday holds ever period.
  - First Monday: $24.5m, -43.8%.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most impressive figure of its entire run.  When I first saw it reported on forum, I thought it was a misprint.  POTC2, by comparison, dropped 48.7%.  And when combining it with the minuscule Sunday decline, we would see that its first Sat-to-Mon drop was less than 50%, and the feat was achieved without any holiday help.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Apr 9 - 11)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Date Night31.5$9,340 PTA
2. Clash of the Titans23.3-61.9%
3. How to Train Your Dragon22.3-23.1%
4. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too12.1-58.7%
5. The Last Song8.3-48.1%
6. Alice in Wonderland5.4-34.2%
7. Hot Tub Time Machine5.0-38.0%
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid4.1-22.7%
9. The Bounty Hunter3.7-39.3%
10. Letters to God3.5$3,900 PTA

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (3/29 - 4/4): Alice held up well

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Alice in Wonderland(爱丽丝梦游仙境)84m ($12.31m)+25.4%37,1851,748,178151m ($22.12m)
2. Future X-Cops(未来警察)30m ($4.40m)New23,579963,08130m ($4.40m)
3. Just Another Pandora's Box(越光宝盒)18m ($2.64m)-60.0%20,968566,037119m ($17.43m)
4. Beauty on Duty(美丽密令)16.5m ($2.42m)New15,623548,17216.5m ($2.42m)
5. Fire of Conscience(火龙对决)7.7m ($1.13m)New9,366241,5307.7m ($1.13m)
6. Crossing Hennessy(月满轩尼诗)6.0m ($0.88m)New6,307183,1506.0m ($0.88m)
7. Avatar(阿凡达)2.7m ($0.40m)-73.8%14031,0231.325b ($194.10m)
8. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief(波西·杰克逊与神火之盗)1.0m ($0.15m)-84.6%2,34831,70529.1m ($4.26m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.14652)

A $12m week is excellent for Alice in Wonderland, and after 10 days, its total has already grown to $22m. 3D/IMAX is responsible for more than 80% of the gross, and it won't face any competition there until Clash of the Titans opens on April 16th, so $40m definitely looks good.

Both Future X-Cops and Beauty on Duty are directed by the well-known Hong Kong director Jing Wang, but targeting very different demographics. With a stellar cast led by Andy Lau and Bingbing Li and the sci-fi genre, it is no surprise that Future X-Cops came out on top in the opening week. On the other hand, Beauty on Duty, a comedy focusing on the female audience, could enjoy better legs.

Except for a few IMAX theaters, Avatar has essentially finished its run. Although reaching $200m would have been nice, it still set a standard that won't be challenged for years. I am in fact willing to say it will remain the highest grossing film of the decade even as the China market continues to expand in the next 10 years.

Films grossed 170m yuan in total last week, doubling the amount of the equivalent week from a year ago and setting a new spring record.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Apr 2 - 4)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Clash of the Titans62.0$16,420 PTA
2. How to Train Your Dragon30.0-31.4%
3. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too26.0$12,060 PTA
4. The Last Song17.0$6,360 PTA
5. Alice in Wonderland9.6-45.8%
6. Hot Tub Time Machine8.2-41.5%
7. The Bounty Hunter7.0-41.7%
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid6.8-32.8%
9. Shutter Island1.8-43.5%
10. She's Out of My League1.6-54.4%

1. Clash of the Titans will rule the weekend, but I am not feeling $70m+ for Friday to Sunday, as the buzz did not feel as high as what 300 had, and having shows start at 8pm Thursday will also dilute the actual weekend gross.

2. Normally Tyler Perry's films has a clear divide in term of box office, where the ones featuring Madea would open to $30m+ while the ones without would do only around $20m or less. However, Why Did I Get Married Too is in a good position to break that trend. The African-American audience has been very much underserved for the first quarter of the year, and the Easter weekend could help both Friday and Sunday. Seeing it approaching $30m this weekend would not surprise me.

3. The Last Song opened to No. 1 on Wednesday with a solid $5.1m, but the double factor of Nicholas Sparks and Miley Cyrus should assure quite a bit more upfront demand than other recent pre-Easter Wednesday releases. Look for it to drop 20-25% on Thursday, rebound 90% on Friday, and then have a 2.3-2.5 multiplier.

4. How to Train Your Dragon may not have opened as well as people expected, but it doe have the best word-of-mouth of any films so far this year, and that will allow it to exhibit excellent legs.  I in fact believe it will outgross Clash of the Titans in the end.

5. Hot Tub Time Machine also carries good WOM.  Unfortunately, Titans represents a direct competition for its male audience, and with Kick-Ass opening in a couple of weeks, it doesn't appear to have the window for a very lengthy run.  The average opening PTA will work against its favor as well.