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.

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