Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 10 - 12)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Resident Evil: Afterlife30.4$9,500 PTA
2. The American6.2-53.0%
3. Takers6.0-44.8%
4. Machete5.1-55.3%
5. The Expendables3.7-44.1%
6. Going the Distance3.5-49.2%
7. The Last Exorcism3.2-56.4%
8. The Other Guys3.1-41.4%
9. Inception3.0-34.4%
10. Eat Pray Love2.8-41.7%

It is shaping up to be a rather mundane weekend, with only one R-rated film opening wide on the historically weak post Labor Day weekend. However, Resident Evil is no stranger to this frame. Six years ago, Apocalypse opened to $23.0m, at the time the biggest start ever for the post Labor Day weekend. Now Afterlife is ready to retake the claim, currently held by The Exorcism of Emily Rose's $30.1m, with help from 3D screens. One may argue that 3D is currently suffering from some backlashes, as more viewers become reluctant to pay the extra cost when many films are post converted only, but Afterlife is a little different. It is the first live-action film since Avatar that is directly shot in 3D, and being a non-family affair could also alleviate the fatigue factor since it is easier for individuals to afford the added cost comparing to a full family.

The Final Destination looks to be a good comparison for Afterlife, as it was also the fourth installation of the franchise and the first to be released in 3D. Let's use Box Office Mojo polls as a measuring stick. There The Final Destination improved upon its immediate predecessor with 21.1% Opening Weekend interest vs. 16.3%. It was also released in 8.37% more theaters, and that resulted in a 43.0% increase in the opening weekend figure ($27.4m vs. $19.2m). On the Resident Evil front, Afterlife shows 29.5% Opening Weekend, comparing to 25.8% for Extinction, and it has a theater count increase of 13.3%. Deducting from these data gives Afterlife just a hair over $30m and a new record for this weekend.

Holdovers normally experience large declines this frame since last Sunday was heavily inflated by the holiday, but with only one new wide release and it being R-rated again, we could see a few drop in the low-40s or even mid-30s, like Inception (The Dark Knight declined only 36%). With schools having started and NFL season returning, we will begin seeing typical fall weekend pattern: big Friday and Saturday increases, but also much heavier Sunday drops.

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