Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Apr 1 - 3): Hop, Source Code, Insidious

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Hop23.0$6,430 PTA
2. Source Code12.0$4,053 PTA
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules11.5-51.6%
4. Insidious11.1$4,610 PTA
5. Limitless10.5-30.3%
6. The Lincoln Lawyer7.8-27.4%
7. Sucker Punch7.0-63.3%
8. Rango5.5-43.7%
9. Paul4.2-46.5%
10. Battle: Los Angeles4.1-45.9%

Both Hop and Insidious are in an interesting situation where the tracking figures at the beginning of the week did not favor the film, with MTC coming in significantly less than what ReelSource had (21 vs. 32 for Hop, 8 vs. 12 for Insidious), but other signs later indicate a solid turnout is quite possible. In particular, both are carrying healthy numbers at Box Office Mojo polls and Twitter. Hop's poll of 9.6% Opening Weekend interest is much stronger than Yogi Bear's 5.1% and even a bit better than what G-Force received (7.8%). Both of those benefited from 3D surcharge, but a low-20s opening still appears solid after we take the factor into account. The sentiment is echoed on the Twitter front, as it is on pace to receive 1,800-2,000 tweets from Monday to Thursday, and I would not expect a ratio over 300.

Similar scenario applies to Insidious, except in this case ReelSource could in fact end up closer to the actual, a rare occurrence when the difference between the two trackins is greater that 30%. It is looking at close to, if not exceeding, 7,000 tweets, and although the ratio will be high, it won't be so high that it cannot even get to $3m on Friday. Somewhere in the $4-4.5m range is more likely, and with a PG-13 rating and good reviews, it will have some stamina comparing to other films of the genre. In addition, the 8.5% OW interest at BOM poll is ahead of The Uninvited's 6.9% and Dead Silence's 7.9%. Overall, a double-digit opening looks set.

The same cannot be said about Source Code, even though it also gathered a lower MTC figure. The BOM poll is good enough and on par with what The Adjustment Bureau had, but the presence of Jake Gyllenhaal tends to inflate the online numbers, as indicated by the higher tweet ratio of Prince of Persia (4,605) and Love and Other Drugs (2,372) comparing the similar films. More alarmingly, the film itself has struggled at Twitter as well as advance sales, both of which should have been its strong suit. The sole positive aspect is its excellent reviews, and that could pull in some older audience in the last minutes. However, it appears most viewers will only discover this gem somewhere later down the road.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Mar 25 - 27): Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 will beat Sucker Punch

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules21.0$6,631 PTA
2. Sucker Punch14.0$4,616 PTA
3. Limitless11.0-41.8%
4. Rango8.0-46.9%
5. The Lincoln Lawyer8.0-39.4%
6. Battle: Los Angeles7.0-51.9%
7. Paul6.0-54.0%
8. Red Riding Hood4.0-44.4%
9. The Adjustment Bureau3.3-42.8%
10. Mars Needs Moms2.9-45.5%

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Mar 18 - 20): Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Battle: Los Angeles17.5-50.8%
2. Limitless17.0$6,168 PTA
3. Rango16.5-27.0%
4. The Lincoln Lawyer11.0$4,064 PTA
5. Paul10.0$3,570 PTA
6. The Adjustment Bureau7.5-35.3%
7. Red Riding Hood7.4-47.2%
8. Mars Needs Moms5.0-27.7%
9. Beastly3.3-34.3%
10. Hall Pass2.8-44.0%

1. Among the three openers, Limitless is exhibiting the strongest signs, as the number of tweets indicates a 6m+ opening day (I would give it a ratio around 1,000), and Box Office Mojo poll is quite solid for a PG-13 rated action thriller. In addition, with all three openers targeting more or less the same audience, having the least restricted rating could help attract some sneak-in business, not to mention that Limitless is the most likely candidate to branch out and bring in the female demographics.

2. The Lincoln Lawyer launched an one-day Groupon deal on Thursday, the first of such kind (i.e. deal for a specific movie). It could be interpreted as an act of desperation or a last-ditch effort to generate interests on the movie, but we could also expect this to become a trend in the future, because it benefits all parties involved: the consumers will buy the most expensive showings to save the most, the studio will report higher box office number since the ticket will be counted using its full price value (although their actual earning will not grow as much since they have to refund the discount), Fandango will earn more fees from the increase in transactions, and Groupon will get their usual cut from the deal.

3. For a film that should have the strongest pull online, Paul's figures from Twitter and BOM are rather pedestrian. More alarmingly, it had not yet cracked the top 5 on Fandango's sales list by Thursday afternoon. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World keeps coming to mind as a prime example where an over-hyped online film with little appeal elsewhere failed miserably at the box office. The R-rating also does not help, as unlike The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul's audience skews much more to the younger males.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Mar 11 - 13): Battle: Los Angeles, Red Riding Hood, Mars Needs Moms

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Battle: Los Angeles30.0$8,780 PTA
2. Rango20.0-47.5%
3. Red Riding Hood15.0$4,950 PTA
4. Mars Needs Moms13.0$4,171 PTA
5. The Adjustment Bureau12.5-40.9%
6. Hall Pass5.5-37.9%
7. Beastly4.0-59.4%
8. Just Go With It4.0-37.8%
9. The King's Speech3.9-37.4%
10. Gnomeo and Juliet3.7-48.9%

Don't have much energy to write analysis this week after a full day of programming. Many had a lot of faith for this week's openers, but the enthusiasm has dampened as we get near to the release, especially given we are experiencing the worst attendance drought in more than a decade. Look for the top 12's total to be on par with what last weekend achieved.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Mar 4 - 6): Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Beastly, Take Me Home Tonight

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Rango45.0$11,488 PTA
2. The Adjustment Bureau29.0$10,211 PTA
3. Unknown7.0-44.3%
4. Hall Pass7.0-48.3%
5. The King's Speech6.9-6.0%
6. Beastly6.5$3,330 PTA
7. Gnomeo and Juliet6.2-53.7%
8. Just Go With It5.9-44.0%
9. I Am Number Four5.5-50.1%
10. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never3.7-60.6%
11. Take Me Home Tonight3.2$1,598 PTA

Yes, I am going bullish on the top two films, especially The Adjustment Bureau. The general predictions on it are around $20m, but all the signs are pointing to a much higher opening. It is entirely possible that the sci-fiction aspect is skewing the figures, but they are impressive. It is on track to grab 7,000 tweets from Monday to Thursday, and given the ratios Hereafter (509), Unknown (648), and Green Zone (650) ended up, $10m Friday seems very much achievable. Its 24% Opening Weekend interest at Box Office Mojo poll is also better than what Unknown, the strongest opener among those films, received. The fact that its tracking number from Major Theater Chain far exceeds the one ReelSource reported does not hurt either, even if the hypothesis has been less reliable in predicting overachievers than underperformers. Furthermore, the advance sales are robust, as it accounted for 16% of tickets as of Thursday noon, and the reviews are solid enough to convince a few more bystanders to give it a shot. Look for the film to repeat the success of past March adult dramas such as Panic Room, Inside Man, and Erin Brockovich to make a run at a $30m opening.

Still, the victory for this frame will belong to Rango, one which also enjoys healthy online signs. Some of the strength could be contributed to the presence of Johnny Depp and the connection to Pirates of the Caribbean films with him and director Gore Verbinski, but even with the factors taking into account, a $12m Friday and $40m+ start are legitimate expectation. In addition, being exclusively in 2D could in fact help the family-friendly film after the recent struggle of many 3D adventures.

The other two openers will experience much less success. Beastly is promoting hard to its targeted teenage audience, but there is little buzz beyond the core demo, and Take Me Home Tonight has been delayed for so long that it might as well go straight to DVD. Neither is showing up on the advance sales chart (more worrisome for the latter than the former), and the screen allocations are likely weak for both of them.

With 4 new wide releases occupying more than 10,000 screens, the holdovers will mostly see harsher declines. The ones facing the toughest challenge are Gnomeo and Juliet, I Am Number Four, and Justin Bieber. Animated films are notorious suspect to competition because it takes away the entire family and doesn't generate spillover business as the short runtime allows enough showings to avoid soldouts. A classical example would be Flushed Away dropping 60.3% against Happy Feet after having a wonderful 11.7% hold on its sophomore weekend. This frame has also not been very kind to animated holdovers in general. Two years ago, Coraline declined 54% without facing much new competition after a couple of excellent holds prior. For I Am Number Four, The Adjustment Bureau will snatch away some sci-fi crowd, and Beastly will attract its Twilight audience. Never Say Never, on the other hand, had its last weekend inflated by the release of Director's Cut and, combined with the double-attack of Rango and Beastly, will see a much more subdued Friday jump this time, leading to a possible 60%+ tumble.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

China Weekly Box Office (2/14 - 2/20): Eternal Moment surged

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. Eternal Moment(将爱情进行到底)101.3m ($15.41m)+261.8%63,0962,749,728129.3m ($19.66m)
2. The Tourist(致命伴旅)68.6m ($10.43m)New46,1031,973,53277.2m ($11.73m)
3. The Green Hornet(青蜂侠)39m ($5.93m)-46.6%28,408911,002112m ($17.01m)
4. All's Well, Ends Well 2011(最强囍事)26m ($3.95m)-50.0%23,270741,374160m ($24.35m)
5. My Own Swordsman(武林外传)11.5m ($1.75m)-68.1%14,400309,306193.5m ($29.43m)
6. What Women Want(我知女人心)10.6m ($1.61m)-53.9%12,041296,91861.6m ($9.37m)
7. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible(神奇侠侣)6.5m ($0.99m)-63.9%9,010197,74847.5m ($7.23m)
8. I Love HongKong(开心万岁)5.6m ($0.85m)-41.7%3,041165,28926.2m ($3.99m)
9. Little Big Panda(熊猫总动员)4.3m ($0.65m)-72.3%5,503121,05745.8m ($6.97m)
10. Somebody to Love(我们约会吧)3.8m ($0.58m)New8,215121,0574.3m ($0.65m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1521)

China Weekly Box Office (2/7 - 2/13): Solid start for The Green Hornet

MovieWeekly Gross (yuan/dollar)Change# of showingsadmissionsTotal (yuan/dollar)
1. The Green Hornet(青蜂侠)73m ($11.08m)New42,2851,780,40473m ($11.08m)
2. All's Well, Ends Well 2011(最强囍事)52m ($7.89m)-36.6%35,8841,539,828134m ($20.40m)
3. My Own Swordsman(武林外传)36m ($5.46m)-41.9%28,750992,829182m ($27.68m)
4. Eternal Moment(将爱情进行到底)28m ($4.25m)New16,257783,65528m ($4.25m)
5. What Women Want(我知女人心)23m ($3.49m)-17.9%22,505670,35851m ($7.76m)
6. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible(神奇侠侣)18m ($2.73m)-12.7%20,134564,26341m ($6.24m)
7. Little Big Panda(熊猫总动员)15.5m ($2.35m)-40.4%12,857398,97041.5m ($6.32m)
8. Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf 3(喜羊羊与灰太狼之兔年顶呱呱)14.7m ($2.23m)-45.6%18,053476,963142.7m ($21.69m)
9. Shaolin(新少林寺)9.9m ($1.50m)-59.9%10,426268,365219.6m ($33.37m)
10. I Love HongKong(开心万岁)9.6m ($1.46m)-12.7%5,828291,35020.6m ($3.14m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.1518)