Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jul 23 - 25)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Inception40.0-36.3%
2. Salt33.0$9,136 PTA
3. Despicable Me23.0-29.9%
4. The Sorcerer's Apprentice9.0-48.9%
5. Toy Story 38.0-33.3%
6. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse7.0-47.8%
7. Ramona and Beezus6.3$2,317 PTA
8. Grown Ups6.0-39.5%
9. The Last Airbender3.7-52.3%
10. Predators3.1-55.8%

Salt has been an interesting film to track. Flixster's Bullseye report indicates it is a 4-quadrant film, but the buzz really only started to pick up this week and is seeing a late surge, judging by the twitter activity and advance sales. Its Opening Weekend percentage at the Box Office Mojo poll (25.2%) trails both Mr. & Mrs. Smith (29.4%) and Wanted (35.9%), while the high percentage of Sometime in Theaters votes also shows there are definite interests regarding the film. The turnout of female audience will be the key to how the first weekend will go. I see it achieving $100m+ total, but feel it will go the route of good-but-not-great opening with better-than-average legs, aided by the patience of the older crowd and strong weekday numbers. The reviews are actually better than what such a film normally received, and many pointed out it is an exciting ride for a summer popcorn movie, meaning good word-of-mouth could be expected.

The other opener of the week, Ramona and Beezus, will struggle to make any impact at the box office. Fox is giving it a fairly wide release, putting it in 2,719 theaters, but the per-theater-average will be quite weak. While the genre is always one of the weakest performers at BOM polls, its breakdown there is only on par with Material Girls and Aquamarine and much worse than what the most recent Letters to Juliet received. Look for a PTA in the low $2,000 range for a $6-6.5m opening.

During the week, Inception has performed similarly to what I expected, or in another word: strong. The Friday increase will be somewhat subdued due to the high percentage of daily gross it is earning from IMAX theaters, but a $12m Friday and $40m weekend look very likely. If we exclude the $3m Inception earned from midnight, a $40m second weekend would mean just a 33.1% decline from the opening frame, putting it squarely on the path of $300m+ total.

Despicable Me showed great strength last week when it fell only 41.8% against The Sorcerer's Apprentice's opening. This weekend, it will not only add another 99 theaters, but also grab some 3D screens from either The Last Airbender or Toy Story 3. With no new direct competition, a sub-30% drop could very well be in store.

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