Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Feb 25 - 27): Hall Pass, Drive Angry, and the Oscar

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Gnomeo and Juliet15.1-21.2%
2. Unknown14.5-33.7%
3. Hall Pass12.0$4,068 PTA
4. Just Go With It11.3-38.8%
5. Drive Angry11.2$4,891 PTA
6. I Am Number Four10.0-48.6%
7. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son8.0-50.9%
8. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never6.9-48.2%
9. The King's Speech6.7+2.6%
10. The Roommate1.9-51.4%

Neither new wide release is showing much promise online or in advance sales. Drive Angry has more tweets this week, but the presence of Nicholas Cage tends to drive up Twitter traffic some, as indicated by the high ratio of Season of the Witch (1,102), The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1,618), and Kick-Ass (1,420). Faster (1,863) would also have been a useful comparison if not for the fact that it opened on a Wednesday, while a couple of other ratios to note are The Mechanic's 684 and 857 from Sanctum, the previous R-rated 3D film. A low theater count should push Drive Angry's ratio to the 1,200-1,300 range, which, with an estimate raw count of 5,000, would put its Friday at around $4m. Its Opening Weekend interest from the Box Office Mojo poll stands at 14%, a solid figure that indicates a sub-$10m weekend is rather unlikely, especially when 3D surcharge is taken into account. With some luck, it may in fact come out ahead of the other opener Hall Pass this weekend, as the signs for the latter film are quite worrisome.

R-rated, male-oriented comedies normally shine in Box Office Mojo polls. Even the ones which didn't break out much performed well there, for example, Get Him to the Greek had 14.6% OW interest ($14.6m), Hot Tub Time Machine 17.6% ($14.0m), and I Love You, Man 17.3% ($17.8m). Hall Pass is sitting at 9.6%. The Twitter front isn't looking any better. It is on track to receive around 3,500 tweets from Monday to Thursday, and given the ratio history of similar films, it is basically looking at a $4m Friday as well, if not less. In addition, the reviews indicate the film will have a tough time attracting female audience or developing any sort of legs.

Weakness from openers is good news for the holdovers. Gnomeo and Juliet has displayed remarkable strength thus far, with a Wed-to-Wed jump of 49.8%. As past family films such as Tooth Fairy and Coraline showed, the post President's Day Friday increase will be a few notches smaller, but even a 170% bump would put Gnomeo and Juliet on track for a $15m weekend, good enough to win the frame. Unknown will put up a fight to retain the crown though, helped by the good word-of-mouth as well as both openers being R-rated, something that will positively affect a number of other holdovers in the top 10.

Sunday is Oscar night, and while adult-oriented films will see their gross dip that day, the event will also provide extra awareness as interested viewers may want to catch those nominated films they have not yet seen. The biggest beneficiary will fall on this year's frontrunner and one which appears to enjoy the best word-of-mouth, The King's Speech. It will add another 300 locations (Both The Social Network and Winter's Bone are re-expanding as well to take advantage of the opportunity), and look for a slight uptick in the weekend gross.

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