Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 17 - 19): Easy A, The Town, Devil, Alpha and Omega

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Easy A25.0$8,754 PTA
2. The Town16.0$5,592 PTA
3. Devil16.0$5,694 PTA
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife9.6-64.0%
5. Alpha and Omega6.7$2,552 PTA
6. Takers3.2-43.6%
7. The American2.7-52.4%
8. The Other Guys2.0-40.3%
9. Going the Distance1.8-52.5%
10. Machete1.7-60.4%

It appears to have become a tradition to release four new films wide targeting various demographics on this September weekend. Last year, the four movies opened to $55.7m combined, but only Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs really excelled with a $30.3m start, while the gross was more evenly distributed in 2008, as the four took in $62.9m without anyone breaking $20m. This year will be likely be somewhere in between. There is one clear dud among the new releases, but the other three could all do solid to great business.

There are reasons to believe any of the top 3 could win the weekend: The Town has very positive reviews and excellent advance sale figure from Fandango; Devil has a short runtime and Universal's aggressive marketing. However, to me, Easy A will be the clear winner of the frame because it has one advantage of the others: the utter lack of competition. The market has been saturated with R-rated as well as male-oriented films in the past month, and there has not been one targeting teenage girls basically since Eclipse. The trailer is effective, the campaign is more than adequate, and the buzz is building up fast. This could be another Dear John type of breakout, except it also has good reviews to boost, which could help attract older women and extend its legs. Here are some actual numerical evidence:

Major Theater Chain - $25m, ReelSource - low-teens; we know when MTC is that much higher than RS, 90% of the time the film will be much closer to MTC's number, if not 20%+ larger.

Box Office Mojo poll
Easy A - 14.6% Opening Weekend, 14.1% Sometime in Theaters, 38.2% Never
The House Bunny - 7.8% OW, 9.1% SiT, 51.5% Never, $14.5m opening
Sydney White - 4.5% OW, 5.4% SiT, 65.3% Never, $5.2m opening

The poll comparison also suggests it will open significantly higher than what The House Bunny did.

The main obstacle facing The Town is the R-rating, as there had nothing but R-rated wide releases in the last couple of weeks. The reviews will help bring in the older audience; on the other hand, they did not exactly assist Gone Baby Gone. The tracking put its start at around $15m, while the advance sales are indicating something bigger. Look for a result in between.

Devil's problem is M. Night Shyamalan and how viewers will react to seeing his name, even though he is not the director this time. When I saw the film's earlier trailer in theater, the audience either sneered or shook their head when his name showed up. It may not be a general representation of all reactions, but from the fact that Universal took his name off the later TV spots, it appears they have the same concern too. Still, the premise is intriguing, and it could perform similarly to what past films that dealt with confined space had done (Phone Booth - $15.0m, Red Eye - $16.2m).

There isn't much to say about Alpha and Omega except that it will not gross double-digit this weekend, and with Legend of the Guardians next on its heels, its stay at the theaters will be short. Last weekend may have been a better choice to release the film, even if it means it had to deal with another 3D movie.

With the new releases hogging the screens, the holdovers will experience somewhat large declines in general, especially R-rated movies. Also noticed Going the Distance and The Other Guys are sharing one screen or with another film in some instances, so their per-theater-averages could suffer as a result.


  1. Hmm you went really conservative with Easy A IMO

    Its looking at 28 + opening based on those tracking numbers