Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Sep 24 - 26): Wall Street 2, Legend of the Guardians, You Again, The Virginity Hit

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps30.0$8,415 PTA
2. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole25.0$6,993 PTA
3. The Town16.0-32.8%
4. You Again14.0$5,495 PTA
5. Easy A9.6-45.9%
6. Devil4.3-65.0%
7. Resident Evil: Afterlife4.2-58.0%
8. Alpha and Omega4.1-55.0%
9. Takers1.6-47.1%
10. Inception1.3-33.9%
-. The Virginity Hit0.3$429 PTA

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is looking strong everywhere: Major Theater Chain tracking had its opening at low 30s; the BOM poll (20.2% Opening Weekend + 20.1% Sometime in Theaters with 1,208 votes as of this writing) is 15-20% stronger than what 21, a film with similar feel that opened to $24.1m, received, while the twitter activity correlates to indicate a $10m opening day is indeed in play; and finally, Fandango reported outstanding advance ticket sales. Being a sequel could mean higher upfront awareness and thus inflate the numbers a little, but it appears to stand a solid chance at earning $30m this weekend.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is not doing too bad itself, especially considering that being an animated film gives it an advantage in having a good internal multiplier. Last weekend Alpha and Omega surged 80% on Saturday and had a 3.98 IM, and in general, animated features released in fall would jump 60% or more on Saturday and achieve a 3.7+ IM, so Legend of the Guardians does not need that big of a Friday to gross over 20m this frame. Its advance sales have also been solid, while the BOM poll (16.7% OW + 17.4% SiT) is a tad stronger than what Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (13.9% and 17.5% respectively) had. However, we should take into the account that director Zack Synder (300, Watchmen) does enjoy a bigger online following than usual animated film directors. It will not win Friday, but the battle for the other two days will be fierce. At the minimum, we will have two openers making over $20m on a September weekend for the first time ever.

You Again is a funny case. It has very low number of tweets, but on the other hand, all the BOM polls it appears in are super strong. Other than a mechanical error or sudden influx of female users at BOM, it is hard to find a reasonable explanation to reconcile the two, so in this case, I will resort to more of a gut feeling. The trailer is effective, the cast is bigger than what When in Rome had, and Betty White is ubiquitous at the moment. The only drawback is that it comes at the heels of Easy A, but the latter, while enjoying good word-of-mouth, did not break out nearly as much as some of us expected. Overall, there is little reason to believe it won't beat When in Rome's $12.4m start.

The last "wide" release of the week, The Virginity Hit, is also one of the least anticipated films in some time. Sony tried to build a grassroot, word-of-mouth campaign by having sneaks in selected college towns since Sep 10th, but as LA Times mentioned, it failed to generate much interest even from its prime demographics, and with mediocre feedbacks, those screenings in fact hurt its earning potential this weekend by draining its audience ahead of time. The BOM poll is strikingly similar to what another flopped Sony release, The Brother Solomon (also R-rated and from September), got, and the extra advance screenings could make this film do even worse. I personally checked its tweets count for the last couple of days, and the number didn't exceed 200 per day, very dismal since it will surely have one of the highest ratios we have seen with the limited theater count and its appealed demo. Don't see it having a per-theater-average over $500.

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