Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Looks at This Week's Openers: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Change-Up

Let's take a look at where the numbers stand at the moment for this week's two openers:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Tracking - Major Theater Chain: 46; ReelSource: mid-to-high 50s
BOM Poll - 34.4% Opening Weekend, 26.1% Sometime in Theaters, 12.7% Never; 1,181 users
Tweets - 1,550 on Monday
Flixster - # of "Want-to-see" Ratings: 23,576

My feeling after looking at these figures? Not promising.

1. Tracking: historically, when what MTC reported is significantly lower than RS', there is a good chance that the final actual will be lower than MTC's number, sometimes by a similar percentage. If that happens, it will put Apes' opening weekend at around $37m.

2. BOM poll: the OW percentage is on par with what Cowboys & Aliens got, and Sometime in Theaters % is lower.

3. Tweets: with its Monday start, it could reach 10,000 tweets total for the first 4 days of the week, but not much higher, and a lower number around 9,000 is also possible. I expect the ratio to be in the 700-1,000 range, so a $15m+ opening day looks unlikely.

4. Flixster: Cowboys & Aliens ended up with around 40,000 want-to-see ratings by its opening Friday, while Super 8 had close to 27,000. From my observation, the number doesn't actually increase dramatically during the week before a film opens, so Apes will most likely finish between the two, but closer to Super 8.

So overall, with the way it stands now, I will go out on a limb and call a sub-$40m opening on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, or more precisely, something close to what Cowboys & Aliens and Super 8 opened to. The good reviews could bring in some late deciders, but them alone won't make a big difference this weekend.

The Change-Up

Tracking - Major Theater Chain: 12; ReelSource: almost mid-teen
BOM Poll - 10.0% Opening Weekend, 15.6% Sometime in Theaters, 37.0% Never; 1,095 users
Tweets - 740 on Monday
Flixster - # of "Want-to-see" Ratings: 13,265

Initial feeling? Mixed but positive.

1. Tracking: so what history says when both tracking firms produce similar numbers? The actual could go anywhere. We have seen films greatly overachieve (e.g. The Smurfs: $20m from both MTC and RS, $35.6m actual) or underachieve, or hit the number they were predicting. As a result, I do not put much weight on tracking when they are close.

2. BOM poll: the OW% is 25% weaker than Bridemaids, 22% weaker than Friends with Benefits, but on par with No Strings Attached.

3. Tweets - Monday was a little weak, but it is rebounding nicely on Tuesday, making 5,000 tweets from Monday to Thursday likely. I do not foresee a ratio higher than 900, so $6m+ looks to be a good bet.

4. Flixster - Crazy, Stupid, Love had around 16,000 votes by Friday, while Friends with Benefits got to 19,000. The number for The Change-Up puts it on pace to join them right in the same neighborhood.

So overall, only the tracking is saying a sub-$15m, while the others are indicating a $17-19m start, and in this case, I am trusting the latter.

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