Let the start of the big budget, over-the-top, never subtle, special effects driven movie season well all know and love begin. For the 4th year in a row, a film based on a comic book launches the summer movie season. Things get kicked off with Iron Man 2 and it will definitely be the #1 movie at the box office this weekend, but how well will the sequel do? Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
Robert Downey Jr. returns to the big-screen in Iron Man 2. This time Iron Man has to battle a few villains, and the studio made sure those villains had well-known actors playing them. Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johanssen all enter the franchise for the first time, and are joined alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. The plot follows Tony Stark//Iron Man dealing with the U.S. government, as the government wants to get the Iron Man suit to use it for its military. Tony Stark does not want that to happen. Unfortunately some villains appear with their own agenda with the goal of destroying Iron Man. Making a prediction for Iron Man 2 is the most difficult prediction I have had to make so far this year. First off, it is a sequel to an extremely popular film, which means that it should have a bigger opening weekend, but the question is how much bigger? Here is a list of sequels that have opened in the summer (as well as the original Iron Man) to get an idea of how the big-budget sequels have done:
2009 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $85 million opening weekend
2008 – The Dark Knight – $158.4 million opening weekend
2008 – Iron Man – $98.6 million opening weekend
2007 – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – $114.7 million opening weekend
2007 – Shrek the Third – $121.6 million opening weekend
2007 – Spider-Man 3 – $151.1 million opening weekend
2006 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – $135.6 million opening weekend
2006 – X-Men: The Last Stand – $102.7 million opening weekend
2004 – Spider-Man 2 – $88.1 million opening weekend
2004 – Shrek 2 – $108 million opening weekend
2003 – X2: X-Men United – $85.5 million opening weekend
It averages out to $113.5 million, but I think Iron Man 2 will have a gross higher than that. I absolutely do not think that Iron Man 2 will surpass The Dark Knight for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time. The Dark Knight followed a successful reboot, the hype of Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker, and an absolutely superb marketing campaign. Interest will be high for Iron Man 2 , just not The Dark Knight high. Reviews have been decent with Rotten Tomatoes listing Iron Man 2 at 68% positive, but audiences will not care about what the critics think for this film on its opening weekend. Opening in an ultra-wide 4,380 theatres, I’m predicting that Iron Man 2 will finish in 1st place with a gross of $133 million.
With Iron Man 2 being the only new release to make the top five, I’m predicting that Furry Vengeance will be out of the top five this weekend although The Losers, The Back-Up Plan and Clash of the Titans will be in a tight battle for 5th place. Here’s how I see the rest of the top five rounding out:
A Nightmare on Elm Street should suffer a massive drop this weekend, as horror films usually do not possess strong holds. Here is a list of the films that I used last weekend when I made my prediction for A Nightmare on Elm Street and how those films did on their second weekends:
2009 – Friday The 13th – $7.9 million second weekend = 80.4% drop
2008 – Prom Night – $8.6 million second weekend = 58.3% drop
2007 – Halloween – $9.5 million second weekend = 63.9% drop
2005 – The Amityville Horror – $13.7 million second weekend = 41.7% drop
2003 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – $14.4 million second weekend = 48.5% drop
This actually proves nothing because the drops are all over the place. Unfortunately, I think that the very bad word-of-mouth on A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the fact that everyone wants to see Iron Man 2 is going to hurt A Nightmare on Elm Street. It might receive a little boost because A Nightmare on Elm Street will be the back-up choice for movie patrons when they show up to the theatre and find out that Iron Man 2 is sold out. Even still, I’m predicting a drop of 68% for a gross of $10.5 million and a 2nd place finish.
How to Train Your Dragon continues its very strong run, and should post another strong hold. I’m predicting that How to Train Your Dragon will drop 28% for a gross of $7.6 million, which will make it the #3 film at the box office.
Date Night is the comedy of choice for movie-goers right now, and this film will be a viable option when audiences cannot get tickets to see Iron Man 2. I’m predicting that Date Night will drop 37% for a gross of $4.7 million, giving it a 4th place finish at the box office.
The Back-Up Plan, The Losers and Clash of the Titans will all be in the hunt for 5th place, and it’s going to be a very tight battle between the three. I’m predicting that The Losers will drop 55% for a gross of $4.2 million giving it a 5th place finish and Clash of the Titans will drop 57% for a gross of $3.9 million, making it the #6 film. I’m also predicting that The Back-Up Plan will drop 45%, which would also give it a gross of $3.9 million, so we will have a tie for 6th place.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
Babies is a documentary that chronicles the life of newborns in different parts of the world. It is being released in 534 theatres and has a 66% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Badmaash Company is a thriller about four friends who start up their own company in Mumbai in the 90’s to both successful and disastrous results. It is being released in 50 theatres and does not have a rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Casino Jack and the United States of Money is a documentary about lobbyist Jack Abramoff. It does not have an official theatre count and has a 92% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Mother and Child is a drama about adoption that stars Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson. It does not have an official theatre count and has an 84% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Multiple Sarcasms stars Timothy Hutton and Mira Sorvino in a story about a man who is trying to fight off a mid-life crisis. It is being released in 15 theatres and has a 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
OSS 117: Lost in Rio is another film in the satirical spy series (that I can honestly say I have never heard of). It is being released in 3 theatres and has a 78% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
Iron Man 2 – $133 million
A Nightmare on Elm Street – $10.5 million
How To Train Your Dragon – $7.6 million
Date Night – $4.7 million
The Losers – $4.2 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!