Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of August 7th, 2009

Yo Joe! G.I. Joe makes its long awaited debut in theatres with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and from the advance buzz that I have read, this one is either going to be a lot of fun, or one of the worst movies of the year. Stephen Sommers [The Mummy Trilogy and Van Helsing] directs the film that stars Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, and Sienna Miller among others. I find it amusing that toys from the 80’s are having a resurgence as of late on the big screen.

Transformers and G.I. Joe are both toys from Hasbro, and once Hasbro saw the success of the first Transformers, it only made sense to do a film on the G.I. Joe toy line. It could be argued that it took a long time for Transformers to be made into a film because the special effects needed to make the film did not exist, but for G.I. Joe, I cannot make that same argument. So the question is, was it worth the wait? I’m having hard time finding comparable films to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to make a prediction. There is no way that this film opens as well as Transformers or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The reason: those two films were effects driven. People wanted to see robots turn into cars and planes. G.I. Joe does not have that appeal. What it does have is nostalgia, as this was originally a toy line from the 60’s and 80’s, so men are sure to come out in force. Opening in 4,007 theatres [which is the most of any film this weekend]; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra should debut with $48 million.

To counter the testosterone of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Columbia Pictures releases Julie & Julia. The film revolves around the story of two women: famous chef Julia Child, and Julie, who vows to make a recipe from Julia Child’s cookbook for the next year. This is solid counter-programming, and women should be out in full force because Meryl Streep has a very devoted following, and Amy Adams is fast becoming the next Meryl Streep. Add in the fact that Nora Ephron is the writer/director and on paper Julie & Julia should do well. Reviews have been good, which always helps out these sorts of films. A comparable movie to equate this too is The Devils Wear Prada, which had an opening weekend of $27.5 million. Opening in 2,975 theatres [which is pretty close to the number of theatres that The Devil Wears Prada was released in], Julie & Julia should open with $25 million.

A Perfect Getaway starring Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich is the third new wide release this weekend, and this film should not do very well. There are a lot of options out, and the trailers and star power are lackluster at best. The Universal release is opening in 2,159 theatres and should have a quick run before finding a life on DVD. A Perfect Getaway should open with $6 million.

Funny People, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and G-Force have all been battling it out throughout the course of the week, and they will be battling for the number three, four, and five spots this weekend. I’m expecting Funny People to drop 60% because word of mouth has not been that good, so its gross will be $9 million. G-Force will still be the choice of younger kids, so I can see a 40% drop for a gross of $10.5 million. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has the more direct competition with G.I. Joe opening, so I expect a drop of 45% for a gross of $9.8 million.

So, here are my predictions this weekend:

1) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – $48 million

2) Julie & Julia – $25 million

3) G-Force – $10.5 million

4) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $9.8 million

5) Funny People – $9 million

Also of note, the acclaimed Sundance film Paper Heart starts out its run in limited release in 38 theatres.

Check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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