Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jan 28 - 30): The Rite, The Mechanic, The King's Speech

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Rite16.2$5,427 PTA
2. The King's Speech11.5+46.4%
3. No Strings Attached11.3-42.5%
4. The Mechanic10.0$3,700 PTA
5. The Green Hornet9.8-44.6%
6. True Grit7.0-4.5%
7. The Dilemma5.7-37.4%
8. Black Swan4.6-21.6%
9. The Fighter3.7-11.2%
10. Little Fockers2.4-44.4%

The Rite will attempt to duplicate such January success of The Unborn and White Noise by capitalizing on the PG-13 rating and the lack of horror entries in the market. However, the buzz is only reasonable instead of outstanding, the Box Office Mojo poll is a little weaker than what those two films had, and the number of tweets is less than robust, although I do expect a low ratio there due to the presence of Anthony Hopkins and the uniqueness of the title. Look for a middling per-theater-average around $5,500, good enough to win the lackluster frame.

It does not appear The Mechanic will behave much differently from most other action films Jason Statham headlined in. The BOM poll of 10.1% OW and 11.9% SiT is no better than what Crank (12.5% + 10.5%, $4,157 PTA in 2,515 theaters) and WAR (12.8% + 14.0%, $4,312 average in 2,277) received. Its PTA could in fact be close to what Bank Job ended up - $3,702 - as the latter posted a similar 9.7% OW + 14.3% SiT at BOM. Furthermore, the high percentage of Never paints a gloomy picture for the film's legs.

Among all the Oscar nominated films, the most exciting one to watch at the box office is no doubt The King's Speech, which surged 66% on Tuesday after leading the pack with 12 nominations and then followed with a minuscule drop of 3% on the traditionally weak Wednesday. The word-of-mouth, especially among older demographics, is as good as any we have seen in some time and propelling the film toward a total no one could have imagined just a month ago. It is already seeing a Wed-to-Wed increase and will add another 52%, or 873, in theaters. The Friday jump should fall between what it experienced two weeks ago when more than doubling its location (+225%) and what it had last week when it added less than 10% (150%). Put down 190% and it could gross over $11m this weekend. $100m total is basically a lock, and with a Best Picture win, we could be looking at $130m+, a.k.a another Slumdog Millionaire.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oscar Nomination Predictions

It's that time of the year again! By winning PGA and continuing to perform superbly at the box office, The King's Speech is gaining big time momentum, and we may finally see an interesting race at the top this year, one that The Social Network appeared all but locked up after Golden Globes. But first thing first, my predictions for the nominations:

Best Picture
1. The Social Network
2. The King's Speech
3. Black Swan
4. Inception
5. The Fighter
6. True Grit
7. Toy Story 3
8. The Kids Are All Right
9. 127 Hours
10. Winter's Bone

alt. The Town, Shutter Island

Best Director
1. David Fincher, The Social Network
2. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
3. Christopher Nolan, Inception
4. Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
5. Danny Boyle, 127 Hours

alt. David O. Russell, The Fighter; The Coen Bros, True Grit

Best Actor
1. Colin Firth, The King's Speech
2. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
3. James Franco, 127 Hours
4. Jeff Bridges, True Grit
5. Robert Duvall, Get Low

alt. Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

Best Actress
1. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
2. Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
3. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
4. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
5. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

alt. Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right; Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Supporting Actor
1. Christian Bale, The Fighter
2. Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
3. Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
4. Jeremy Renner, The Town
5. John Hawkes, Winter's Bone

alt. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right; Bill Murray, Get Low

Best Supporting Actress
1. Melissa Leo, The Fighter
2. Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech
3. Amy Adams, The Fighter
4. Mila Kunis, Black Swan
5. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

alt. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit; Barbara Hershey, Black Swan

Best Original Screenplay
1. The King's Speech
2. Inception
3. The Kids Are All Right
4. Black Swan
5. The Fighter

alt. Blue Valentine, Another Year

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. The Social Network
2. Toy Story 3
3. Winter's Bone
4. True Grit
5. 127 Hours

alt. Rabbit Hole, The Ghost Writer

Best Foreign Language Film
1. In a Better World, Denmark
2. Biutiful, Mexico
3. Incendies, Canada
4. Life Above All, South Africa
5. Even the Rain, Spain

alt. Dogtooth, Greece; Confessions, Japan

Best Animated Feature
1. Toy Story 3
2. How to Train Your Dragon
3. Tangled

alt. The Illusionist, Despicable Me

Best Documentary Feature
1. Waiting for "Superman"
2. Inside Job
3. Exit through the Gift Shop
4. Restrepo
5. Precious Life

alt. The Tillman Story, Enemies of the People

Best Documentary Short
1. Killing in the Name
2. Strangers No More
3. Born Sweet
4. Poster Girl
5. Living for 32

alt. The Warriors of Qiugang, Sun Come Up

Best Animated Short
1. Day & Night
2. Let's Pollute
3. The Silence Beneath the Bark
4. The Gruffalo
5. Coyote Falls

alt. The Lost Things, Urs

Best Live Action Short
1. Ana's Playground
2. Seeds of the Fall
3. Na Wewe
4. The Confession
5. Sma Barn Stora Ord

alt. Shoe, The Six Dollar Fifty Man

Best Editing
1. The Social Network
2. Inception
3. Black Swan
4. The King's Speech
5. The Fighter

alt. 127 Hours, True Grit

Best Cinematography
1. Inception
2. True Grit
3. The Social Network
4. Black Swan
5. 127 Hours

alt. The King's Speech, Shutter Island

Best Costume Design
1. The King's Speech
2. Alice in the Wonderland
3. Black Swan
4. True Grit
5. The Tempest

alt. Inception, Burlesque

Best Art Direction
1. The King's Speech
2. Inception
3. Alice in Wonderland
4. True Grit
5. Shutter Island

alt. Black Swan, Get Low

Best Visual Effects
1. Inception
2. Tron Legacy
3. Alice in Wonderland
4. Iron Man 2
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow: Part I

alt. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Hereafter

Best Makeup
1. Alice in Wonderland
2. True Grit
3. The Way Back

alt. The Wolfman, The Fighter

Best Original Score
1. The King's Speech
2. Inception
3. How to Train Your Dragon
4. 127 Hours
5. The Social Network

alt. Alice in Wonderland, The Ghost Writer

Best Original Song
1. "I See the Light," Tangled
2. "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3
3. "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me Yet," Burlesque
4. "Shine," Waiting for Superman
5. "Bound to You," Burlesque

alt. "Coming Home," Country Strong; "Sticks and Stones," How to Train Your Dragon

Best Sound Mixing
1. Inception
2. True Grit
3. Toy Story 3
4. The Social Network
5. Black Swan

alt. Tron Legacy, 127 Hours

Best Sound Editing
1. Inception
2. Toy Story 3
3. True Grit
4. 127 Hours
5. Tron Legacy

alt. Black Swan, Alice in Wonderland

Saturday, January 22, 2011

China Weekly Box Office (1/10 - 1/16): Tron Legacy

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Tron Legacy(创:战纪)70m ($10.61m)New49,4581,556,59370m ($10.61m)
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader(纳尼亚3)41m ($6.21m)-2.4%35,8171,042,19683m ($12.56m)
3. Let the Bullets Fly(让子弹飞)32m ($4.85m)-48.4%39,119869,092654m ($98.65m)
4. If You Are the One 2(非诚勿扰2)23m ($3.48m)-55.8%32,094611,539482m ($72.81m)
5. Midnight Beating(午夜心跳)2.9m ($0.44m)-40.8%5,14470,68330.9m ($4.68m)
6. Ex(前度)0.61m ($0.09m)-61.9%1,17420,3533.9m ($0.59m)
7. The Road Less Traveled(一路有你)0.6m ($0.09m)-79.3%2,49322,0587m ($1.06m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1515)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jan 21 - 23): No Strings Attached, The Way Back

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. No Strings Attached21.0$6,958 PTA
2. The Green Hornet14.0-58.2%
3. The Dilemma8.5-52.3%
4. The King's Speech7.3-20.5%
5. True Grit7.0-36.4%
6. Black Swan5.5-34.1%
7. The Fighter3.5-31.4%
8. Little Fockers3.4-52.7%
9. Yogi Bear3.2-40.4%
10. Tron Legacy2.9-48.9%
-. The Way Back0.9$1,385 PTA

Friday, January 14, 2011

MLK Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jan 14 - 17): The Green Hornet, The Dilemma

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Green Hornet44.0$12,277 PTA
2. The Dilemma22.0$7,480 PTA
3. True Grit12.5-14.4%
4. Black Swan9.5+17.1%
5. Little Fockers8.9-34.0%
6. The King's Speech8.3+29.4%
7. The Fighter6.5-7.2%
8. Tron6.0-40.5%
9. Season of the Witch5.8-45.3%
10. Country Strong5.5-24.9%

The two new wide releases are heading in the exact opposite direction of what were expected of them a couple of months ago. The Green Hornet had negative buzz since its inception, and when Sony moved The Green Hornet out of the December slot, the consensus was that the film was destined for financial failure. All credits to Sony's marketing team for turning things around, after not putting much effort into The Tourist. The posters and trailers have been very effective, demonstrated by the tracking numbers - 42 from Major Theater Chain and high-30s from ReelSource, and Box Office Mojo poll - 30.9% Opening Weekend interest, comparing nicely to The Ghost Rider's 31.8% (opened to $52m over the long President's Day weekend) and The Wolfman's 27.8% ($35.6m). The additional benefit of 3D and IMAX makes the prospect of making $40m+ this frame even less daunting.

On the other hand, given the recent history of Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, it didn't appear a $30m opening should be much a problem for The Dilemma, until when we were near the release. Now even $25m appears unlikely. Its OW percentage at BOM poll is 30% weaker than what Couples Retreat received (9.7% vs. 14%), and that puts the weekend's upper bound at $24m, correlating with what tracking showed (23 from MTC and mid-20s from RS). In fact, a good possibility exists where The Green Hornet could double what it earns this weekend.

Several films with Oscar aspiration will try to take advantage of the buzz from Sunday's Golden Globe awards, in particular Black Swan and The King's Speech. Both are expanding in a major fashion and should witness good bumps in box office. Monday could be especially strong after each scoops a lead acting kudo (Actress for the former and Actor for the latter).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

China Weekly Box Office (1/3 - 1/9): Narnia 3 had decent debut

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Let the Bullets Fly(让子弹飞)62m ($9.37m)-61.3%52,1601,633,298622m ($93.80m)
2. If You Are the One 2(非诚勿扰2)52m ($7.86m)-68.9%49,0801,345,059459m ($69.33m)
3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader(纳尼亚3)42m ($6.35m)New23,671983,60642m ($6.35m)
4. Midnight Beating(午夜心跳)4.9m ($0.74m)-58.5%8,463155,60428m ($4.24m)
5. The Road Less Traveled(一路有你)2.9m ($0.44m)-17.1%7,28596,8286.4m ($0.97m)
6. Lover's Discourse(恋人絮语)1.6m ($0.24m)-23.8%4,45351,6123.7m ($0.56m)
7. Ex(前度)1.6m ($0.24m)-5.9%2,13153,1563.3m ($0.5m)
8. Sacrifice(赵氏孤儿)0.8m ($0.12m)-76.5%2,08926,255191.5m ($28.78m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1512)

The first Narnia opened to 25.04m yuan in its first three days, the second improved the number to 27m yuan, and now the third installment continued the trend, although it is hardly surprising given the explosive growth the China market has seen in the past couple of years. The film should finish north of 100m yuan.

Harsh weekly drops for holdovers as we no longer have holiday help, but Let the Bullets Fly is still on track to cross $100m total next week.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jan 7 - 9): Season of the Witch, Country Strong

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. True Grit17.0-30.4%
2. Little Fockers16.0-37.9%
3. Tron10.5-44.0%
4. Black Swan7.8-12.2%
5. The Fighter7.5-25.0%
6. Yogi Bear7.0-43.5%
7. Season of the Witch7.0$2,486 PTA
8. The King's Speech6.2-20.3%
9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader5.0-51.2%
10. Tangled5.0-49.0%
11. Gulliver's Travels5.0-46.2%
12. Country Strong4.0$2,809 PTA

Neither of the two new wide releases is showing much strength. The Box Office Mojo poll for Season of the Witch shows Opening Weekend interest of 9.7% is about 50% stronger than The Warrior's Way's 6.1%, and the number of tweets indicates no more than $3m for Friday since its ratio should be above 1,000. $7m and around $2,500 per-theater-average appear to be where the film will end up this weekend. Country Strong at least showed up in the ticket sales chart by Thursday afternoon, grabbing 7% of Fandango sales, but it has a smaller theater count of 1,424, and most owners only give it one screen. The result from limited release over the last two weeks is not encouraging either. $3K PTA is probably the best it could hope for.

The weakness from openers should help the holdovers, although the history shows family films tend to suffer heavier drops post New Year. The three Oscar contenders - Black Swan, The Fighter, and The King's Speech - have enjoyed excellent dailies and will continue experiencing wonderful legs.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

China Weekly Box Office (12/27 - 1/2): Neck-in-neck between If You Are the One 2 and Let the Bullets Fly

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. If You Are the One 2(非诚勿扰2)167m ($25.30m)-30.4%80,0804,460,470407m ($61.47m)
2. Let the Bullets Fly(让子弹飞)160m ($24.24m)-23.8%71,1564,239,533560m ($84.43m)
3. Midnight Beating(午夜心跳)11.8m ($1.79m)+2.6%14,498391,89623.3m ($3.52m)
4. The Road Less Traveled(一路有你)3.5m ($0.53m)New4,429112,1793.5m ($0.53m)
5. Sacrifice(赵氏孤儿)3.4m ($0.52m)-53.4%4,569103,343190.7m ($28.66m)
6. Lover's Discourse(恋人絮语)2.1m ($0.32m)New2,81466,2462.1m ($0.32m)
7. Ex(前度)1.7m ($0.26m)New1,12160,3471.7m ($0.26m)
8. The Kidnap(绑架冰激凌)1.1m ($0.17m)New2,12137,9171.1m ($0.17m)
9. Just Call Me Nobody(大笑江湖)1.05m ($0.16m)-67.2%2,42143,121156m ($23.45m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1515)

The top 2 films continue to dominate the chart. Between the two, Let the Bullets Fly is holding up better and in fact grossed more over the New Year weekend even though it started 6 days earlier. It is also certain to pass Aftershock and become the first Chinese film to gross over $100m, all without any help from 3D or IMAX screens. No doubt this has been one of the all-time great runs in China. Of all the December releases, If You Are the One 2 was considered the favorite for the box office title given director Feng Xiaogang's track record, and it in fact has had an excellent performance so far itself, but he finally met his match in director Jiang Wen's Let the Bullets Fly this time.

China Weekly Box Office (12/20 - 12/26): If You Are the One 2 and Let the Bullets Fly combined to set a weekly record

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. If You Are the One 2(非诚勿扰2)240m ($36.17m)New68,9705,965,697240m ($36.17m)
2. Let the Bullets Fly(让子弹飞)210m ($31.65m)+10.5%80,1035,404,014400m ($60.19m)
3. Midnight Beating(午夜心跳)11.5m ($1.73m)New7,510337,63911.5m ($1.73m)
4. Sacrifice(赵氏孤儿)7.3m ($1.10m)-78.5%12,185217,650187.3m ($28.14m)
5. Just Call Me Nobody(大笑江湖)3.2m ($0.48m)-84.8%8,347112,201155.2m ($23.31m)
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1(哈利·波特与死亡圣器(上))1m ($0.15m)-80.8%1,04425,290220.7m ($33.18m)
7. Resident Evil: Afterlife(生化危机4:来生)0.64m ($0.096m)-62.4%79515,429143.64m ($21.60m)
8. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)0.3m ($0.045m)-55.9%4109,84231m ($4.67m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1507)

China Weekly Box Office (12/13 - 12/19): Let the Bullets Fly blasted to a record start

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Let the Bullets Fly(让子弹飞)190m ($28.54m)New59,5065,069,370190m ($28.54m)
2. Sacrifice(赵氏孤儿)34m ($5.11m)-65.3%44,6671,008,902180m ($27.04m)
3. Just Call Me Nobody(大笑江湖)21m ($3.15m)-70.4%31,7241,117,044152m ($22.83m)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1(哈利·波特与死亡圣器(上))5.2m ($0.78m)-65.3%9,195151,426219.7m ($33.03m)
5. Resident Evil: Afterlife(生化危机4:来生)1.7m ($0.26m)-69.1%3,42243,456143m ($21.5m)
6. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)0.68m ($0.10m)-57.5%1,44419,65830.78m ($4.63m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1502)

China Weekly Box Office (12/6 - 12/12): Sacrifice claimed top spot

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Sacrifice(赵氏孤儿)98m ($14.72m)+96%68,5082,902,843148m ($22.23m)
2. Just Call Me Nobody(大笑江湖)71m ($10.66m)+18.3%62,3832,232,002131m ($19.68m)
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1(哈利·波特与死亡圣器(上))15m ($2.25m)-56.5%17,739440,399214.5m ($32.25m)
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife(生化危机4:来生)5.5m ($0.83m)-74.2%8,184134,737141.3m ($21.25m)
5. Righteous Kill(火线特工)1.7m ($0.26m)-67.9%3,80159,9436.9m ($1.04m)
6. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole(猫头鹰王国:守卫者传奇)1.6m ($0.24m)-27.3%2,15544,53130.1m ($4.53m)
7. Bruce Lee(李小龙)0.64m ($0.096m)-86.1%1,44620,08113.64m ($2.05m)
8. Unstoppable(危情时速)0.52m ($0.078m)-79.2%1,21018,54465.5m ($9.86m)
9. Xin Kang Ding Qing Ge(康定情歌)0.22m ($0.033m)-57.7%3249,34910m ($1.5m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1502)