Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of February 5th, 2009


Avatar looks to stay at the top of the box office for an 8th weekend in a row.  Standing in its way are two newcomers – From Paris With Love and Dear John.  Will one of them be able to stop the Avatar juggernaut, or will they both just get left in the dust?  Here’s how I think the box office will unfold this weekend.

Dear John is a film that stars Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum, and is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks.  The film is a love story that follows a college girl and her romance with a soldier.  They correspond to each other with letters over the years.  It reminds me of Sleepless In Seattle as it seems that the two main characters spend more time apart than together on-screen.  As a bonus, the film has Lasse Hallstrom directing it, and he directed The Cider House Rules, The Shipping News, and Chocolat to name a few.  Unfortunately, it is based on Nicholas Sparks book, which have for the most part, have not translated to film very well (The Notebook being the most notable exception to this rule).  A positive is that the film is opening a week before Valentine’s Day, so audiences are in the mood for this type of film, but the negative is the reviews, which will keep older audiences away.  Rotten Tomatoes currently lists this film at 31% positive.  It’s getting the widest release of the two new films at the box office this weekend, and I think it will perform the better of the two.  Opening in 2,969 theatres¸ I predict that Dear John will gross $16 million, and finish in 2nd place.

The other new release is the action-adventure From Paris With Love that stars John Travolta and is directed by Pierre Morel, who directed Taken (in case you weren’t bludgeoned to death by that message in the advertisements).  Travolta and his sidekick played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers are out to stop a terrorist attack from happening in Paris.  For an action film to appeal to adults, which this film most certainly is, reviews have to be good, or else the film will die.  Reviews have not been good, as Rotten Tomatoes has it listed at 33% positive, and because reviews are bad, so too will the box office.  They are trying to capitalize on the success of Taken by using the director’s name, but I firmly believe that that will not help them in drawing audiences to the theatres (If Liam Neeson were in this film, that would be a different story).  Opening in 2,722 theatres, I’m predicting From Paris With Love will gross $11 million and finish in 3rd place.

I’m predicting both new releases to stay in the top five, so that means two films from last weekend will drop out.  The two films to say good-bye will be The Book of Eli and The Tooth Fairy (I mean it this time).  Here’s how I think the remaining films will do:

Avatar will hold continue to hold strong, dipping only 18% for a gross of $25.6 million to stay in the #1 spot for an 8th weekend in a row.

Edge of Darkness will drop 56% for a gross of $7.6 million, and will finish in 4th place.

When In Rome will drop 54% for a gross of $5.6 million, and finish in 5th place.

In limited release, we have the following films opening:

Frozen – a thriller starring Shawn Ashmore about skiers who are stranded on a ski lift, opens in 106 theatres.  It has a 49% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Ajami – which is Israel’s submission as Best Foreign Film for the Oscars, is opening in 3 theatres.  It has a 94% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Red Riding Trilogy – a British thriller, that follows a story a murder through three different time periods in three separate films, is opening in 1 theatre.  It has a 69% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

1) Avatar – $25.6 million

2) Dear John – $16 million

3) From Paris With Love – $11 million

4) Edge of Darkness – $7.6 million

5) When In Rome – $5.6 million

Check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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