Scotty G’s Weekend Box Office Predictions – Weekend of May 29, 2009

For anyone who knows me well enough, they know how much I love Pixar films. They just do not make bad movies. There’s always something appealing about them. It could be the characters, it could be the story, it could be the animation, it could be the risks the film takes [The fact that Wall-E is a silent film for the first half is an incredibly risky move, as the only film that I can think of in recent memory that did this was Cast Away]. In every Pixar movie ever made, I have a great memory that stays with me to this day. In Toy Story, it was the fact toys would come to life, just like we all imagined in our youth. Toy Story 2 was about growing up and no longer having that imaginary connection that you did when you were young. Monsters Inc. contains one of my favourite endings to a film when Sully opens the closet door one more time. Cars made me wish for a slower pace of life, and Ratatouille contained the greatest speech ever written on film on what the purpose of a critic is [Really – I challenge anyone to find a film that has a better speech then the one Anton Ego says near the end of the film]. What I am trying to say is that I am a big fan of Pixar, and I hope Up continues my love affair with the company.

Up is Disney/Pixar’s 10th film. That’s pretty amazing that they have made 10 movies, and they are far and away the leaders in animation. Pixar always get a lot of credit because of how much they push the envelope technically, while never letting the technical side overshadow the importance of a good story. Up is about an old man named Carl Fredrickson who decides to go on a journey by tying a lot of balloons to his house and flying to South America. On the way he encounters a stowaway named Russell, who won’t leave him alone, and a talking dog named Dug [who makes me laugh every time I see the trailer for the film].

So the question is how will Up do? Well for comparison, I’m going to list the opening weekends of all the Pixar films that went in wide release their opening weekend [Note: Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life were only released on one screen their opening weekend, so they are excluded from the list].

1995 – Toy Story – $29.1 million
2001 – Monsters Inc. – $62.1 million
2003 – Finding Nemo – $70.2 million
2004 – The Incredibles – $70.4 million
2006 – Cars – $60.1 million
2007 – Ratatouille – $47 million
2008 – Wall-E – $63 million

So on average, an opening weekend for a Pixar movie will be $57.4 million. You would think Up would have some things going against it, mainly the fact that the hero of the film is an old man. Give Pixar credit though, the trailer does a great job of selling the film, and the marketing blitz is out in full force. Up has also been receiving some amazing buzz. It opened the Cannes film festival with glowing reviews, and as of 12:15am, it had a 97% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m going to predict Up has an opening that is a little bigger than Wall-E, and that it will gross $65 million.

Sam Raimi returns to the genre that made him famous with Drag Me To Hell starring Alison Lohman. The trailer tells you what you need to know about the film. A girl has to decide to give a loan to an old lady. She decides not to, and gets cursed because of it. I’ll be honest, the trailer does not really interest me, but I tell you what does interest me – Sam Raimi returning to horror. He is teamed up with Universal for this film, and he is in good hands, because, if you remember last year, The Strangers came out at about the exact same time and had a strong opening just north of $20 million. The question is, has the marketing been good enough to bring people in? I’ll say no, but Raimi has his fans, and the film has been getting glowing reviews. That’s right; I said glowing reviews for a horror film. As of 12:20am, Drag Me To Hell was at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. I think this film will not have a strong opening weekend, but word of mouth will give it some legs. I’m predicting that it will open with $18 million.

Among holdovers – Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian will fall 60% to $28 million, Terminator: Salvation will fall 65% to $18.1 million, and Star Trek will fall 35% to $19 million. Star Trek will also be the first film of 2009 to break $200 million. I wonder if you were to ask the question “Which of these release would gross the most money: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek, Angels and Demons, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, or Terminator: Salvation” – how many of you would have said Star Trek? I would not, that’s for sure. It’s still early on a couple of films to judge, but Star Trek looks to be the big winner in the month of May.

So my weekend predictions are:

1) Up – $65 million
2) Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – $28 million
3) Star Trek – $19 million
4) Terminator: Salvation – $18.1 million
5) Drag Me To Hell – $18 million

Check back Sunday to see how I do against the final numbers!

*Numbers of Pixar movies are used from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/

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