Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Feb 11 - 13): Just Go With It, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Gnomeo and Juliet, The Eagle

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Just Go With It35.0$9,865 PTA
2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never20.0$6,441 PTA
3. Gnomeo and Juliet18.0$6,012 PTA
4. The King's Speech6.8-11.8%
5. The Roommate6.5-56.7%
6. No Strings Attached5.3-33.8%
7. The Eagle5.0$2,178 PTA
8. Sanctum4.7-50.3%
9. True Grit3.5-24.6%
10. The Green Hornet3.1-48.0%

After falling to the lowest level since September of last year and the lowest for a winter weekend since 2007, the box office is certainly more than ready for a healthy rebound, something the post Super Bowl frame is known for. Since 2004, the average of improvement over the Super Bowl weekend is 28.8%, highlighted by the gigantic 89.7% jump experienced last year with the help of two holidays coinciding (Valentine's Day on Saturday and President's Day on Monday) and three new films covering a wide range of audience. The four new wide releases this week are a little narrower in term of the demographics they appeal, as older males do not have much additional choice besides seeing The King's Speech and True Grit again, and there won't be direct help from holidays, but bringing the top 10 back to over $100m (40%+ increase) is a realistic goal.

This is not the first time Adam Sandler co-stars a romantic comedy for Valentine's Day. In 2004, 50 First Dates opened to $39.9m in 3,591 theaters, a figure Just Go With It would love to match, although the signs are saying it will fall short. The tweets count is indicating a $11-12m Friday, and the Box Office Mojo poll matches that prediction quite well by falling right between what I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and You Don't Mess with the Zohan received. Having V Day fall on Monday will help Saturday as a date night, but the impact will definitely be a couple of notches less than if it had fallen directly on Saturday as it was the case for 50 First Dates, so a mid-30s opening should still be considered satisfactory and put it on track for a $100m+ total.

Bieber fever is real, but how much it could translate to the box office remains a big question mark, especially when his appeal is mainly limited to teenage girls. Jonas Brothers, after all, saw their 3D concert film open to only $12.5m in 1,271 theaters. The fact that Never Say Never is more of a documentary like This Is It than a straight-up concert movie could also make a few fans stay at home. Being in over 3,000 theaters will help the top line but hurt the per-theater-average. Saturday drop will be significant, and a daily breakdown of 9-7-4 would not be surprising. In addition, the music fans could have another matter in mind for Sunday: Grammys.

Few paid much attention to Gnomeo and Juliet, until Major Theater Chain put out a "stunning" tracking number of $20m for the opening weekend, but as the week progressed, the number no longer appears that outrageous. The number of tweets is very healthy, considering the low ratio family films usually gets, and any time an animated feature could get over 5% Opening Weekend interest at Box Office Mojo poll (6.1% as of Thursday night), the prospect of it tanking becomes very slim. $5m seems to be the minimum it will get on Friday, and $17m+ over the first three days is a reasonable expectation.

The Eagle picked a terrible release date, as its main (and probably only) drawing card Channing Tatum will be largely negated by the presence of Justin Bieber. A 2,200 tweets would translate to a meek $2m Friday due to the expected high ratio, and a weak internal multiplier will give it only a $5m weekend.

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