Wednesday, June 30, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (6/21 - 6/27): The Karate Kid

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. The Karate Kid(功夫梦)25m ($3.68m)New22,420794,15525m ($3.68m)
2. Toy Story 3(玩具总动员3)24m ($3.53m)-23.8%18,462531,56155.5m ($8.16m)
3. Welcome To Sha-ma Town
(决战刹马镇)
22m ($3.24m)New20,726717,54722m ($3.24m)
4. Shanghai(谍海风云)17m ($2.50m)-17.1%20,898504,00237.5m ($5.51m)
5. The Legend Is Born - Ip Man(叶问前传)6.5m ($0.96m)New7,803205,8916.5m ($0.96m)
6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time(波斯王子)5.9m ($0.87m)-77.3%7,776180,307161m ($23.62m)
7. Robin Hood(罗宾汉)5.5m ($0.81m)-79.6%7,628164,47345m ($6.61m)
8. Ocean Heaven(海洋天堂)5.3m ($0.78m)+3.9%6,946163,72310.4m ($1.53m)
9. Heaven Eternal, Earth Everlasting(80’后)4.4m ($0.65m)New5,761136,4794.4m ($0.65m)
10. Lost On Journey(人在囧途)3.6m ($0.53m)-73.3%6,349139,26436.9m ($5.42m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1471)

Even though it's set in China and co-produced by the distributor China Film Group, The Karate Kid did not have a strong start like it had in the U.S. It began the journey on Tuesday, so the overall multiplier from the opening week will be small, making 60m yuan ($8.8m) a more realistic target of where it could end up.

Toy Story 3's hold is somewhat disappointing too considering the great word-of-mouth, the holding power of 3D screens, and the fact that this is a 7-day vs. 5-day comparison (although the opening week did include one holiday). I was hoping for another 30m yuan week. Now it may not reach 100m yuan ($14.7m), and that would be a shame.

Both Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Robin Hood are winding down toward the end of their releases and should finish with $24m and $7m total, respectively.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (June 25 - 27): Toy Story 3 looks to have an excellent hold

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Toy Story 370.0-36.5%
2. Grown Ups32.0$9,050 PTA
3. The Karate Kid18.5-38.1%
4. Knight & Day18.0(3-day) / 25.0(5-day)$5,920 PTA
5. A-Team7.7-46.5%
6. Shrek Forever After3.8-32.4%
7. Get Him to the Greek3.3-45.9%
8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time2.9-47.9%
9. Killers2.7-46.4%
10. Jonah Hex2.1-61.0%

(Note: all predictions were made before any of the Wednesday numbers were known.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (6/14 - 6/20): average start for Toy Story 3

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Toy Story 3(玩具总动员3)31.5m ($4.62m)New19,755696,90231.5m ($4.62m)
2. Robin Hood(罗宾汉)27.0m ($3.96m)+116%22,594827,96639.5m ($5.79m)
3. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time(波斯王子)26.0m ($3.82m)-1.9%19,144812,246155.1m ($22.74m)
4. Shanghai(谍海风云)20.5m ($3.01m)New18,228584,11220.5m ($3.01m)
5. Lost On Journey(人在囧途)13.5m ($1.98m)+6.3%15,607497,42033.3m ($4.88m)
6. Ocean Heaven(海洋天堂)5.1m ($0.75m)New6,946163,7235.1m ($0.75m)
7. Illusion Apartment(异度公寓)4.2m ($0.62m)-45.5%6,057150,32219.1m ($2.80m)
8. Love In Cosmo(摇摆de婚约)4.1m ($0.60m)-7,596144,6204.5m ($0.66m)
9. You Deserve To Be Single
(活该你单身)
4.0m ($0.59m)-6,502141,8944.4m ($0.65m)
10. Chanel Coco & Igor Stravinsky(香奈儿秘密情史)1.2m ($0.18m)-2,59836,7421.75m ($0.26m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1468)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (6/7 - 6/13): Robin Hood opened meekly

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time(波斯王子)26.5m ($3.88m)-54.8%32,389818,192129.1m ($18.91m)
2. Lost On Journey(人在囧途)12.7m ($1.86m)+78.9%21,463463,67219.8m ($2.90m)
3. Robin Hood(罗宾汉)12.5m ($1.83m)New13,988368,51412.5m ($1.83m)
4. Illusion Apartment(异度公寓)7.7m ($1.13m)+6.9%15,113269,51314.9m ($2.18m)
5. How to Train Your Dragon(驯龙高手)4.3m ($0.63m)-76.6%6,96299,76784.9m ($12.44m)
6. My Mom's New Boyfriend(特工的特别任务)4.0m ($0.59m)+2.6%9,049135,9617.9m ($1.16m)
7. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt(高度怀疑)1.9m ($0.28m)-29.6%5,40959,3114.6m ($0.67m)
8. Iron Man 2(钢铁侠2)1.7m ($0.25m)-81.1%4,42853,577172.7m ($25.30m)
9. Kung Fu Pop 2(精舞门2)0.8m ($0.12m)New3,38231,1640.8m ($0.12m)
10. Video Cassette of 31 Degrees North Latitude(北纬31度录像带)0.6m ($0.09m)New1,87521,4430.6m ($0.09m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1465)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (June 18 - 20): Going to be a record setting weekend

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Toy Story 3123$30,540 PTA
2. The Karate Kid32.3-42.0%
3. A-Team13.5-47.4%
4. Shrek Forever After7.5-52.4%
5. Jonah Hex7.1$2,510 PTA
6. Get Him to the Greek6.4-35.6%
7. Killers4.4-45.1%
8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time3.5-46.0%
9. Marmaduke2.7-55.1%
8. Sex and the City 22.5-54.0%

We could see a couple of records falling this weekend: 1) Toy Story 3 could have the biggest opening ever for an animated film, surpassing Shrek the Third's $121.6m start; 2) the top 10 films could gross over $200m combined and become the first June weekend ever to achieve the feat. There are a lot of exciting stuff to talk about, including two new releases that are headed in very opposite directions, both box office and reviews wise. Unfortunately, I feel pretty drained personally. All my spare time this week has been occupied by either World Cup or moving out of the apartment, and the energy just isn't there at the moment to go through the analysis in details, so I'll simply post my predictions and leave the discussion to my interested readers and friends. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Revise the Prediction for The Karate Kid's Total: $250m+

Turned out that $160m was proven too low the day after I posted, so it's time to update that prediction. The signs for it having serious legs are already there: its Saturday increase and Monday decline are both better than what Kung Fu Panda had respectively. It's also tracking quite closely to Cars on a daily basis. Yes, the upcoming competitions will be more fierce than any of those two had to face during their first several weeks, but this appeals to a much wider audience than just families and will be the clear-cut No. 1 choice for people who either couldn't get into or want to wait a bit before seeing Toy Story 3 and other subsequent new releases. Currently I can't see a multiplier below 4.0, and to reach $250, it "only" needs a 4.5 multiplier, a number where we have seen at least one wide release achieve every June except for 2008 and 2003 (and 28 Days Later came very close that year). It by no means an easy task, but I'll go a little bold here and say the film will reach the mark.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Prediction of the Week: The Karate Kid will make over $160m total

After a depressing start to the summer where most films underperformed, it's time to make a couple of positive predictions, the first one being on The Karate Kid. I believe it will not only have a strong opening, but also go on to achieve excellent legs and become the first breakout success of the summer. Initially I was thinking more along the line of $35m start and $150m finish; however, as it buzz continued to grow leading up to today, an opening north of $40m has become not just possible, but likely. That makes a $180m total within reach because I firmly believe in its endurance. For the prediction purpose, I'll put my line at $160m.

There are certainly obstacles to the film's long term prospect. One is the worry on the quality of the film since the reviews from critics have not been super strong: it's currently sitting at 66% with a 6.2 average on Rottentomatoes (and was below 60% until late Thursday) and a score of 60 on Metacritic. However, as The Blind Side (67%/6.1 RT, 53 MC) and The Pursuit of Happyness (66/6.4 RT, 64 MC) demonstrated, uplifting movies tend to score much better with general public than the more jaded and cynical critics. In fact, I see some striking similarities between The Karate Kid and The Blind Side. By all account, this is a crowd pleaser and will have splendid word-of-mouth. I expect a CinemaScore of A for it.

The more legitimate concern is its competition, as it has to face Toy Story 3 the next weekend and The Last Airbender the week after, but having a PG rating will help its cause. Both those films will earn the majority of their gross in 3D, so The Karate Kid should be able to keep its screens longer. It could also benefit from all the soldouts the other two, especially Toy Story 3, will have. In the end, the word-of-mouth will carry it through, and being right in the heart of summer provides stronger midweek dailies and means it doesn't need to have otherworldly weekend drops to achieve a 4.0+ multiplier. Look for the one-two punch of it and Toy Story 3 to help right the summer ship in a big way.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jun 11 - 13): it's 80s week as Karate Kid and A-Team do battle

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Karate Kid40.0$10,920 PTA
2. A-Team33.0$9,340 PTA
3. Shrek Forever After16.0-37.2%
4. Get Him to the Greek11.0-37.4%
5. Killers8.7-45.1%
6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time7.7-45.1%
7. Marmaduke6.5-44.0%
8. Sex and the City 25.8-53.0%
9. Iron Man 24.5-43.2%
10. Splice2.8-62.1%

The signs for The Karate Kid are excellent across the board. The latest figures from Thursday afternoon showed that the film accounted for a very healthy 22% of Fandango's online ticket sales. On the twitter front, it is on pace for 16,000 tweets from Monday to Thursday. The Friday ratio is a little hard to pin down since on one hand it appeals to family audience, while on the other hand it is a well-known commodity and has Justin Bieber‎, a twitter magnet, attached for the song. Overall, I don't expect the ratio to be as high as 1,500, but it should not be below 1,000 either, leaving the Friday range to be between $11m and $16m. Lastly, its Box Office Mojo poll may appear weak at first glance, as it only has 13.1% of voters say Opening Weekend and 17.8% select Sometimes in Theaters. However, for a PG-rated film with no cast member attracting big online following, the numbers are actually quite good. It reminds me a bit of The Blind Side, which translated a 10.5% OW and 18.2% SiT to a $34.1m opening. Look for a $13m+ Friday and around $40m over the first three days. I also expect strong legs; more on that in the next article.

A-Team may be getting overshadowed somewhat by The Karate Kid, but it has solid buzz of its own. It represented 11% of Fandango's ticket sales as of Thursday afternoon, and its Opening Weekend percentage in the BOM poll is only 15% worse than what G.I. Joe, a $54.7m opener, had (31.1% vs. 36.4%). Getting close to 10,000 tweets Mon-to-Thurs does not indicate a failure either. The reviews are also turning out to be better than expected, hovering around 50% at Rottentomatoes, an achievement considering what many think of the original TV series. One interesting factor to see would be how World Cup, especially with USA playing England on Saturday, and NBA Final will affect its moviegoers. Still, it should put up a respectable battle for Friday's crown before setting in second place for the weekend.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (5/31 - 6/6)

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time(波斯王子)58.6m ($8.58m)+33.2%42,8381,818,181102.6m ($15.03m)
2. How to Train Your Dragon(驯龙高手)18.4m ($2.69m)+7.0%12,492446,81880.6m ($11.80m)
3. Iron Man 2(钢铁侠2)9m ($1.32m)-47.1%14,100292,207171m ($25.04m)
4. Animen(超蛙战士之初露锋芒)7.3m ($1.07m)New7,117207,5047.3m ($1.07m)
5. Illusion Apartment(异度公寓)7.2m ($1.05m)New7,540245,1487.2m ($1.05m)
6. Lost On Journey(人在囧途)7.1m ($1.04m)New7,780231,5727.1m ($1.04m)
7. My Mom's New Boyfriend(特工的特别任务)3.9m ($0.57m)New5,201124,6803.9m ($0.57m)
8. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt(高度怀疑)2.7m ($0.40m)New5,20583,7892.7m ($0.40m)
9. Ip Man 2(叶问2)2.5m ($0.37m)-72.2%5,25481,539219m ($32.07m)
10. Mr. Black(黑猫警长)1.3m ($0.19m)+100%1,50970,19411.3m ($1.65m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1464)

Prince of Persia had an excellent hold, partially helped by Children's Day holiday on June 1st. Even with the start of World Cup this weekend, it should be able to reach 150m yuan total ($22m).

The holiday also provided family films a boost, and How to Train Your Dragon is now on track for 100m yuan ($14.6m) and beyond. It could in fact achieve a multiplier of 6 from the opening weekend, a remarkable feat for the market.

Being the first Chinese 3D animated film, Animen received a lot of pre-release buzz, but its start was merely average, especially when one considers 65% of the week's gross came on its opening day, the June 1st holiday. It's likely looking at a 15m yuan total at best.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jun 4 - 6): Shrek 4 will easily win three in a row; the overall box office will continue to go lower

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Shrek Forever After28.0-35.4%
2. Get Him to the Greek17.0$6,300 PTA
3. Killers17.0$5,950 PTA
4. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time14.0-53.5%
5. Sex and the City 213.0-58.1%
6. Splice11.5$4,700 PTA
7. Iron Man 210.5-36.2%
8. Marmaduke7.5$2,330 PTA
9. Robin Hood5.7-45.2%
10. Letters to Juliet3.4-41.7%

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prediction of the Week: Marmaduke will have a single digit opening

This represents the start of another weekly exercise I have thought of doing. Given the unpredictability of box office from week to week and the excitement people have toward the summer season in particular, I figure it would be fun to make one claim on an upcoming film each week that I personally feel strongly about the likelihood of happening. I hope to make it relatively bold and against the popular opinions at the time if possible. For example, if I had begun this exercise earlier, I would have gone with "Shrek Forever After will open below $90m" and "Prince of Persia will not make $40m on Memorial weekend" the last couple of weeks. This week's "winner" is Marmaduke, a film some are thinking a $20m+ opening could be possible, but the signs are in fact indicating the very opposite. I am predicting it will not even make $10m this weekend.

The first sign of weakness did not come from tracking this time. It's the Box Office Mojo poll numbers that gave me pause. It started out weak when the poll was first posted and has not recovered. Here is some comparison:

MovieOpening WeekendSometime in TheatersOn DVDOn TVNever# of UsersOpening
Marmaduke3.8%6.0%13.8%9.7%66.8%1,140?
Garfield 24.1%8.7%15.8%10.3%61.0%1,382$7.3m
Underdog4.5%8.3%20.7%11.8%54.6%1,058$11.6m
Furry Vengeance3.4%4.0%10.4%8.8%73.4%1,581$6.6m
Aliens in the Attic3.5%6.2%19.5%9.5%61.3%1,284$8.0m

The picture is not pretty, as Underdog had the best numbers of the bunch by far and could only muster a $11.6m start. In fact, $7-8m appears to be the logical range for the weekend if we go by the chart itself.

More weakness then showed up at Twitter watch, and I don't believe the film will have a ratio nearly as low as Diary of a Wimpy Kid got. The film is on track for around 1,600 total number of tweets from Monday to Thursday, and a ~600 ratio would put Friday at $2.5-2.8m, correlating with what BOM poll is suggesting.

Then the final nail on the coffin, one might say, came when Major Theater Chain released its tracking at $10m for Marmaduke, a gigantic 60% lower than what ReelSource has (mid-20s). Given the history, it now looks like the film may even have a better shot at sub-$2000m PTA than a double-digit opening.

China Weekly Box Office (5/24 - 30): Prince of Persia

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time(波斯王子)44m ($6.45m)New20,4361,330,10844m ($6.45m)
2. How to Train Your Dragon(驯龙高手)17.2m ($2.52m)-36.3%17,863387,33162.2m ($9.11m)
3. Iron Man 2(钢铁侠2)17m ($2.49m)-46.9%24,661527,295162m ($23.72m)
4. Ip Man 2(叶问2)9m ($1.32m)-47.1%7,543275,904216.5m ($31.70m)
5. Echelon Conspiracy(夺命手机)4.3m ($0.63m)-38.6%8,941145,31915m ($2.20m)
6. Largo Winch(决战豪门)2.8m ($0.41m)-4,46391,8035.6m ($0.82m)
7. Mr. Black(黑猫警长)0.65m ($0.095m)-44335,77310m ($1.46m)
8. The Love Of Three Smile: Scholar And The Beauty(三笑之才子佳人)0.5m ($0.073m)-68.8%1,70416,9608m ($1.17m)
9. Zhong Ji Pi Pei(终极匹配)0.4m ($0.059m)-66.7%2,04316,2532.5m ($0.37m)
10. Fu Xing Zhi Lu(复兴之路)0.3m ($0.044m)-87921,3670.6m ($0.088m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1465)