Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of October 9th, 2009

Only one new release goes wide this weekend, so there will not be much change to the top five at the box office.

Couples Retreat hits theatres this weekend with an all-star cast that includes Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis, Jon Favreau, and Jean Reno. The premise is funny, with a couple going to a couples therapy resort, and taking their friends along with them. The star power of Vince Vaughn is the main selling point of the film, and Vaughn definitely has it. Here are the previous four films that he has headlined, that were major releases:

2008 – Four Christmases – Opening Weekend – $31.0 million // Total Gross – $120.1 million

2007 – Fred Claus – Opening Weekend – $18.5 million // Total Gross – $72 million

2006 – The Break-Up – Opening Weekend – $39.1 million // Total Gross – $118.7 million

2005 – Wedding Crashers – Opening Weekend – $33.9 million // Total Gross – $209.2 million

Those are some very impressive numbers, and it really does show that Vaughn is an actor that brings people into theatres. Couples Retreat has a lot going for it: A great cast, there is no other comedy that poses a threat to it (The Invention of Lying opened at #5 last weekend, and will not be in the top five this weekend, and I don’t consider Zombieland to be going after the same crowd that Couples Retreat is going after), and it is the only major release of the weekend. Here’s the bad news. As of me writing this, Couples Retreat has an 8% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. 37 reviews had been posted, but only 3 were positive. If this holds with more reviews going online, then word-of-mouth is going to be terrible. Will this be a film that opens big and fades quickly? I think that is exactly what will happen to the film. Although I like the trailer for the film, I have heard people say that it is not funny, so I’ll say based on this unscientific analysis, that the reaction to the trailer has been mixed. So how do I think it will do? Opening in 3,000 theatres, Couples Retreat will gross $31 million and be the #1 film at the box office.

Throughout the course of the week, all the films that were in the top five from last weekend, were in the exact same order in box office totals on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It’s also interesting to note that four films this weekend (Couples Retreat, Zombieland, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, and Surrogates) all have approximately the same theatre count of around 3,000. This gives it a very balanced playing field. This means that The Invention of Lying will be on the short end of the stick, and fall out of the top 5 this weekend.

Zombieland will have an interesting weekend, as the question that will be raised is: “Will this film play out like a comedy or like a horror?” If it plays like a comedy, it will have a decent hold, and if it plays like a horror, it will fade away from theatres. I believe it will play more like a comedy, as word of mouth has been very good, and the reviews have been even better. I’m expecting a drop of 44% for a gross of $13.8 million.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs has been playing very well throughout the course of its run, and will come very close to cracking the $100 million mark this weekend. It’s had amazing hold every weekend (Drops of 17.4% in its second weekend, and 36.9% in its third weekend), and I actually expect the film to have a better hold this weekend, than it did last weekend. Dropping 33%, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs will gross $10.5 million.

Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3-D) had a very strong opening weekend, and it almost had the highest per theatre average last weekend, which is amazing for a re-released film that was playing in less than 2,000 theatres. I think that the film will have a big drop this weekend, because the hardcore fans would rush out and see it on opening weekend. The film was not sold out, so the fact that it is a limited release is not going to make people rush out to see the film any faster. Dropping 55%, Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3-D) will gross $5.58 million.

Surrogates will round out the top five. The Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller has not been that great a performer this fall, but I was not expecting it to do that well either. It’s a film that you just don’t really care about, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. It just gives you a feeling of indifference. I think Surrogates will fall 54% for a gross of $3.22 million.

The only other film of note that is opening this weekend is the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair. It will not have any impact at the box office, as it is only opening in 185 theatres.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

1) Couples Retreat – $31 million

2) Zombieland – $13.8 million

3) Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – $10.5 million

4) Toy Story / Toy Story (3-D) – $5.58 million

5) Surrogates – $3.22 million

Check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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