Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of April 2nd, 2010

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Three new films go into wide release this weekend, and all three have a legitimate shot at becoming the new box office champ, although How To Train Your Dragon will have something to say about that.  Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

The big release of the week is the remake of Clash of the Titans.  This film is testosterone personified.  It stars Liam Neeson, Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and is directed by Louis Leterrier (who directed Transporter 2 and The Incredible Hulk).  The story follows Perseus, the mortal son of the god Zeus as he fights battles to stop the underworld from conquering Earth as well as the heavens above.  The trailer is action packed, and has Liam Neeson yelling “Release the Kraken!” but I have doubts about how well the film is going to do.  Clash of the Titans is an event film, not a star-driven vehicle, so people are going to check it out based on the premise.  This is a good thing because I don’t know if I would consider Sam Worthington a person who can open a movie based on his name.  People went to see Avatar because it was an event movie, not because Sam Worthington was in it, and that is to take nothing away from Sam Worthington, because he was the best thing in Terminator: Salvation, and I thought he was excellent in Avatar.  When I was thinking of comparable films for Clash of the Titans, two films stuck out in my mind:  Terminator:  Salvation because it stars Worthington and 10,000 B.C. because it was an event film set in the past.  Here’s how both films did on their opening weekends:

2009 – Terminator: Salvation – $42.5 million opening weekend

2008 – 10,000 B.C. – $35.8 million opening weekend

Decent opening weekends, but by no stretch are they great opening weekends.  I think Clash of the Titans will have a better opening weekend than those listed above for three reasons:

1) This is an event picture.  I even think that the film is strongly marketed as the must-see-movie of April

2) The films’ cast is excellent.  A strong line-up of talent.

3) It’s being shown in 3D

What the film has going against it is buzz.  Co-workers of mine went and saw the film at an early screening on Wednesday evening and immediately headed to their favourite social media networks to rip the film apart (A co-worker of mine even tweeted how bad it was during the movie).  Reviews have also been unkind, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 34%.  Still the film is getting an ultra-wide theatre count of 3,777 theatres, so I’m predicting that the film will open at #1 with a gross of $58 million.

Tyler Perry brings us his latest film Why Did I Get Married Too, a sequel to his 2007 hit.  The plot has the four couples reuniting for their annual vacation to gossip about their lives, and find out if marriage was everything they hoped for.  Perry films are very front loaded, and they do attract an audience, so do not underestimate Tyler Perry.  Sequels also see a larger up front demand, so I would expect a strong opening weekend for Why Did I Get Married Too and then a rapid decline.  Here is a list of the opening weekends of some recent Tyler Perry movies:

2009 – I Can Do Bad All By Myself – $23.4 million opening weekend

2009 – Madea Goes To Jail – $30 million opening weekend

2008 – The Family That Preys – $11.2 million opening weekend

2008 – Meet The Browns – $21.3 million opening weekend

2007 – Why Did I Get Married – $20 million opening weekend

2007 – Daddy’s Little Girls – $17.3 million opening weekend

2006 – Madea’s Family Reunion – $41 million opening weekend

Madea films attract the largest audience for Perry, but unfortunately this is not a Madea film.  Still, I think the film should be able to have a decent opening.  Critics have not reviewed the film yet, but Perry’s films are critic proof.  Opening in only 2,155 theatres (don’t be fooled by the low theatre count), the film should finish in 2nd place with a gross of $28 million.

The final big release of the weekend is The Last Song starring Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear.  This film is based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, and marks a departure for Miley, as she is taking a more serious role than her Hannah Montana character lets her portray.  Teenage girls are the target audience for the film, and it was actually released on Wednesday to decent results.  It opened at #1 with a gross of $5.1 million.  The question now is, how well will it hold on the weekend?  To come up with an idea of how I think the film will do, let’s look at the opening weekends of all Nicholas Sparks related films, and Miley’s two Hannah Montana films:

2010 – Dear John – $30.4 million opening weekend

2009 – Hannah Montana:  The Movie – $32.3 million opening weekend

2008 – Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus:  Best of Both Worlds – $31.1 million opening weekend

2008 – Nights in Rodanthe – $13.4 million opening weekend

2004 – The Notebook – $13.4 million opening weekend

2002 – A Walk To Remember – $12.1 million opening weekend

1999 – Message In A Bottle – $16.7 million opening weekend

With the exception of Dear John, no Nicholas Sparks’ inspired film has grossed more than $17 million on its opening weekend, and with Miley Cyrus not in a role that her audience wants her to be in (they want the music and comedy), the film might not perform all that well.  I don’t think interest is all that high in a teenage romance film right now, as we’ve had Dear John and Remember Me in the past few months, so I’m predicting a good but not great opening weekend.  Basically, my prediction is going to split the middle of the opening weekends above.  Critics have not been kind to the film, as it has an 11% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but films geared towards teenage films are critic-proof.  This audience will see what they want to see.  Opening in 2,673 theatres, I’m predicting an opening weekend gross of $19 million, and a 4th place finish.

With Clash of the Titans, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too, and The Last Song all making the top five, three of last week’s films will be pushed out.  Here’s how I think the remaining films will do:

How To Train Your Dragon should have a decent hold, although it will lose some 3D screenings to Clash of the Titans.  I really was astounded by the low first weekend for the film, but I think the word of mouth, as well as the very positive reviews should keep the film going strong.  Dropping 42%, I’m predicting a gross of $25.3 million and a 3rd place finish.

Alice in Wonderland will fall from 2nd place to 5th place this weekend.  It will also be losing some 3D screenings to Clash of the Titans, and this weekend just offers some exciting titles for all demographics, which makes Alice in Wonderland fade into the background.  Dropping 47%, I’m predicting a gross of $9.4 million.

Hot Tub Time Machine has been consistently behind How To Train Your Dragon and Alice in Wonderland during the week, so I would not get my hopes raised for the film to make the top five.  The film will do much better when it comes out on DVD, but until then, the audience should keep eroding.  Dropping 54%, I’m predicting that Hot Tub Time Machine will gross $6.4 million, and finish in 6th place.

Opening in limited release, we have the following films:

Breaking Upwards is a romance starring Andrea Martin.  It currently does not have a rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and is being released in one theatre.

The Greatest is a drama starring Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon and Carey Mulligan and is about a family dealing with the death of their son.  It does not have a theatre count and has a 60% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

The Warlords is an action-adventure epic set in 1870’s starring Jet Li.  It does not have an official theatre count and is at 61% positive at Rotten Tomatoes.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

1) Clash of the Titans – $58 million

2) Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too – $28 million

3) How To Train Your Dragon – $25.3 million

4) The Last Song – $19 million

5) Alice in Wonderland – $9.4 million

Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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