Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (May 14 - 16)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Iron Man 256.9-55.6%
2. Robin Hood35.0$10,000 PTA
3. Letters to Juliet15.5$5,220 PTA
4. Just Wright8.0$4,370 PTA
5. How to Train Your Dragon5.0-25.2%
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street4.5-50.7%
7. Date Night4.0-26.6%
8. The Back-Up Plan3.1-38.4%
9. Furry Vengeance2.5-44.2%
10. Clash of the Titans1.3-48.1%

1. On the positive side, Robin Hood has pretty good tracking numbers ($38m from Major Theater Chain and mid-$30m from ReelSource) as well as fine poll result at Box Office Mojo (30.4% Opening Weekend and 30.6% Sometime in Theaters). On the other hand, its reviews are mediocre, and Ridley Scott tends to have inflated buzz online; even Body of Lies, which also featured Russell Crowe but opened to just $12.9m, had 27.3% OW and 23.7% SiT from BOM. In the end, I just don't feel this has the buzz of a $40m opener, although it will certainly perform better than Kingdom of Heaven's inflation-adjusted figure of $24m opening.  One small late factor that could help the film is Boston beating Cleveland to advance to the NBA Eastern Conference Final.  A game 7 on Sunday between the two rivals with everything on the line would certainly draw bigger rating than the game 1 between Boston and Orlando.

2. Letters to Juliet experienced good turnouts for its sneak previews last Sunday, and both Amanda Seyfried (Dear John) and director Gary Winick (Bride Wars) have had success with the genre. The marketing has also been strong. However, there hasn't been a shortage of romantic comedies this year, and although most have completed their runs by now, the targeted audience may not feel the rush to see another one so soon. In addition, its BOM poll numbers are worse than what Dear John and The Last Song had and more on par with When in Rome. Expect a more subdued average in the $5,000 range.

3. Queen Latifah has had a relatively consistent box office career, especially among the films where she is the main draw, so I don't see Just Wright to totally fail, and we are in the heat of the basketball playoff after all. Juwanna Mann's opening would adjust to $7.5m today, and with more theaters, $8m should be a reasonable target for Just Wright.

4. If Iron Man 2 follow's Iron Man's Wednesday-to-weekend multiplier, it will gross 61.9m this time; if it goes Spider-Man's route, the number will go down a bit to $60.2m; X-Men Origins: Wolverine, all the way to $45.8m. However, Wolverine also had the toughest luck of having to face Star Trek. The situation facing Iron Man 2 is that its word-of-mouth does not appear to be as good as the first one, but definitely better than the other two films, and while Robin Hood is no Star Trek, it will still provide more competition than any film Spider-Man 3 saw on its sophomore frame. Combining those, I was looking for some sort of average in between and decided to simply use the (a*b*c)^(1/3) formula, which resulted in a $56.9m weekend.

5. Mother's Day helped many films last Sunday, and the best way to project this weekend's gross is to deduce last weekend's numbers as if the Sunday were normal and apply the drops from there. For example, Furry Vengeance would have had a $3.67m frame if we use its first Sunday's decline, and a 32% drop from there yields $2.5m. How to Train Your Dragon should experience the lowest decline given the lack of new direct competition and 3D's holding power, while Date Night will be right behind to inch closer to the $100m mark.

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