Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Dec 9 - 11): New Year's Eve, The Sitter

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. New Year's Eve20.0$5,706 PTA
2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 19.5-42.5%
3. The Sitter9.0$3,274 PTA
4. Hugo8.0+5.9%
5. The Muppets7.7-30.5%
6. Arthur Christmas6.5-12.2%
7. The Descendants5.0+4.4%
8. Happy Feet Two3.9-34.1%
9. Jack and Jill3.7-30.9%
10. Immortals3.0-32.8%

1. The first sign of concern for New Year's Eve came from Flixster, where its number of user ratings has ascended at a very slow pace and still falls short of 10,000 as of Thursday night. Normally only family films would see a sub-50 ratings-to-opening-weekend ratio, which is what it needs to break $20m for the opening frame. While ReelSource's tracking appeared to bring some good news on Monday with its high-30s number, it actually added to my concern since one had the feeling that the one from Major Theater Chain would be much more reasonable (i.e. lower), and such discrepancy would bring the MTC << RS "rule" into play. It did lead Fandango's ticket sales chart with their latest Thursday afternoon update, but 16% is not really an impressive figure given we are coming out of one of the weakest weekends of the year. Valentine's Day (18% at RT with 3.8 average) showed bad reviews don't necessarily affect the box office for the genre, but having such terrible reviews (5%/3.2 so far) won't bring in additional viewers either. New Year's Eve also does not have the release date gimmick of Valentine's Day; instead, it will rely on the holiday the title is targeting to help its legs.

2. If the trailer for New Year's Eve came across as too eager showing off its impressive cast and not having enough funny bits, then the one for The Sitter would appear as if they are actively trying to be not funny. The reviews, as expected, are terrible as well. More alarmingly, it has gathered around 6,700 user ratings at Flixster so far, abysmal for a genre (R-rated comedy) known for higher ratios. Not making Fandango's top 5 advance sales list is another bad sign. It could have trouble making double-digit this weekend.

3. With weakness from the openers, holdovers will see good-to-excellent holds across the board, especially for two films that continue to expand, Hugo (+768, +41.7%) and The Descendants (+300, +52.3%).

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