Two new releases debut this weekend and both are looking to become the #1 film in the land. One’s geared for adults, the other for children. Let’s get to it.
The Princess and The Frog is a return to traditionally animated feature films for Disney. They abandoned the hand drawn style after Home on the Range back in 2004. 5 years later, the format is making a triumphant return. The film has been in limited release for two weeks, and has done exceptionally well (thanks to very expensive tickets). I think a film that is comparable to The Princess and The Frog is Enchanted. That film had some animated elements, and is the most recent film with a Disney princess. Enchanted opened in 2007 to an opening weekend of $34.4 million from 3,730 theatres. I think there is a little more interest in The Princess and The Frog as the marketing has been strong, and it has virtually no competition to deal with for its target demographic of kids, as both The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Disney’s A Christmas Carol are on the tail end of their respective runs. The Princess and The Frog has been exceptionally well marketed, and the film is reminding adults of the great Disney films of the 90’s from the trailers (which incorporate clips from the early 90’s success in the trailer just to further remind people that Disney is returning to its roots). Reviews have been excellent as Rotten Tomatoes has certified the film “Fresh” with an 80% approval rating. Opening in 3,434 theatres, I’m predicting that The Princess and The Frog will gross $35 million.
Invictus is the latest film directed by Clint Eastwood and the film is about the true story of how Nelson Mandela tried to unite the divided country of South Africa by having everyone get behind the national rugby team as they made their run for the championship. The film has got some star power with Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, and it also has the critics support as the film has been certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes with 79%. To come up with my prediction, I looked at some recent films that Eastwood has directed to get an idea of the gross. Here they are:
2003 – Mystic River – Largest Wide Release Gross – $10.4 million from 1,467 theatres
2004 – Million Dollar Baby – Largest Wide Release Gross – $12.2 million from 2,010 theatres
2008 – Changeling – Largest Wide Release Gross – $9.3 million from 1,850 theatres
2008 – Gran Torino – Largest Wide Release Gross – $29.4 million from 2,808 theatres
I’m going to be interested to see how this film plays out as Gran Torino had a big gross and the largest theatre count of the films listed above, while the other 3 films had more moderate theatre counts and lower numbers. I think that Invictus will be somewhere in the middle, as I think the film will have a very steady run over the coming weeks leading to a strong overall gross, but it will not set the box office on fire in doing so. Finding common ground in the middle, I’m predicting Invictus will gross $18 million from 2,125 theatres.
The Blind Side looks to continue its dominant run at the box office. The Sandra Bullock football drama has been the surprise hit of the fall, and is fast becoming the biggest hit of her career. I’m predicting a respectable drop of 38% for a gross of $12.4 million.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon will continue to fade away. I can’t complain about how the film has done overall, but it has declined at such a rapid pace for a blockbuster film, that it is becoming a little disappointing for me to see it fall off. I’m expecting another big drop off, as I’m predicting it will be down 62% from last weekend for a gross of $5.8 million
Disney’s A Christmas Carol will try and continue its success and remain in the top five. I’m predicting that it will drop 25% from last weekend, as it is the only major film about Christmas that is in theatres right now, which should draw some people. My prediction is that the film will gross $5.7 million
Here’s what’s opening in limited release.
Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year is being released in 63 theatres. No reviews have been posted at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Slammin’ Salmon which is the latest film from the comedy troupe Broken Lizard debuts in 11 theatres this weekend. The film has a 36% positive rating based on 14 reviews from Rotten Tomatoes. Fans of Broken Lizard do not care what the critics have to say and will see this film.
A Single Man (not to be confused with the other 2009 release by the Coen Brothers called A Serious Man) starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore opens and it is about a man coming to grips with the loss of his lover. It debuts in 9 theatres and has a 79% positive rating from 34 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Lovely Bones starring Mark Wahlberg, directed by Peter Jackson, and based on the novel by Alice Sebold opens in 3 theatres. The film is about a girl who watches her murderer on Earth from limbo, and how her family is dealing with her death. Critics have been divided about the film in the early going, as The Lovely Bones has a 43% positive rating from 54 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. What was considered to be an early favourite for a Best Picture nomination has seen that momentum die.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
1) The Princess and The Frog – $35 million
2) Invictus – $18 million
3) The Blind Side – $12.4 million
4) The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $5.8 million
5) Disney’s A Christmas Carol – $5.7 million
Check back on Sunday to see how I did.