Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana
Week Two of the summer movie season asks us the question “Will any of the new releases dethrone Iron Man 2 from the top of the box office?” The new films in release this weekend are Robin Hood, Letters to Juliet, and Just Wright. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up for the fifth time (the previous films being Gladiator, A Good Year, American Gangster, and Body of Lies) to bring us the untold story of Robin Hood. Those looking for a film about the adventures of Robin and his band of merry men in Sherwood Forest will be disappointed because this film is an origin film, and tells us more about what inspired Robin Hood to become an outlaw. I will say straight up that I am a big Russell Crowe fan. His films may not always be box office successes, but every time his name is on the marquee, I’m going to see the film in theatres. What makes Robin Hood interesting to me is that as much as I like Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott films, I don’t think this film is going to do all that well. First, let’s compare the opening weekend of some other films:
2009 – State of Play – $14 million opening weekend
2008 – Body of Lies – $12.8 million opening weekend
2008 – Speed Racer – $18.5 million opening weekend
2007 – American Gangster – $43.5 million opening weekend
2007 – 3:10 To Yuma – $14 million opening weekend
2005 – Cinderella Man – $18.3 million opening weekend
2005 – Kingdom of Heaven – $19.6 million opening weekend
2004 – Alexander – $13.6 million opening weekend
2004 – King Arthur – $15.1 million opening weekend
2004 – Troy – $46.8 million opening weekend
2003 – The Last Samurai – $24.2 million opening weekend
2003 – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – $25.1 million opening weekend
2000 – The Patriot – $22.4 million opening weekend
2000 – Gladiator – $34.8 million opening weekend
1991 – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – $25.6 million opening weekend
Average opening weekend of the 15 films – $23.2 million
The films are mostly period films or films that star Russell Crowe, with the exception of one film, Speed Racer. I think that film will give a good idea of how Robin Hood will do this weekend. In 2008, Speed Racer opened the week after the original Iron Man debuted, and absolutely got demolished, as it ended up being the #3 film that weekend, being beaten by the debut of What Happens in Vegas. Speed Racer was the more hyped film, but mixed reviews ended its run at the box office, as people wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Iron Man. This weekend, the big battle will be for the #2 spot, as Robin Hood will have to fight off Letters to Juliet. I don’t think history will repeat itself, as I’m giving the edge to the Crowe//Scott collaboration, and the tales of Robin Hood give the film a built in audience (I guess I am not learning from history in 2008). Unfortunately, this is a film that is geared for older audiences, as the younger audiences will still want to see Iron Man 2. Older audiences depend on good reviews, which Robin Hood has not been getting. As of this writing, the film is listed at 46% positive at Rotten Tomatoes. That is not good news for the film. The high theatre count will help Robin Hood out, but I’m predicting that the film will open in 2nd place with a gross of $24 million from 3,503 theatres. What is sad about my prediction is that Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves had a higher opening weekend.
Amanda Seyfried stars in the romance Letters to Juliet. The premise follows Seyfried’s character on a vacation to Verona, which is where Romeo & Juliet was set. On her vacation, she discovers a wall, where people write letters in the hopes of finding true love. Seyfried takes one of the letters with her and goes on a quest to make a woman’s hope of finding her true love come true. Letters to Juliety also stars legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave. Seyfried is on the verge of being a big star, but she is not quite there yet, so I did not pick many films to compare Letters to Juliet with. Here is how some recent romantic films have done:
2010 – The Last Song – $16 million opening weekend
2010 – Dear John – $30.4 million opening weekend
2008 – Mamma Mia – $27.7 million opening weekend
Average opening weekend of the 3 films – $24.7 million
I don’t think that Letters to Juliet will get as high as Dear John because I think that the Nicholas Sparks connection had a little bit to do with the better than expected opening for Dear John. Reviews have been mixed for Letters to Juliet, but the critics are saying the film has a certain charm, but that it is incredibly predictable. I don’t think predictability is a bad thing in these films, because you know at the end, the characters are going to find love, and that’s what audiences want to see when they pay money for romance films. As of this writing, the film has a 41% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. My prediction is a close one as Letters to Juliet will be in a tight battle with Robin Hood for 2nd place, but I’m predicting that Letters to Juliet will gross $22 million for a 3rd place finish from 2,968 theatres.
The other new release of the weekend is the romance Just Wright starring Queen Latifah and Common. The film follows a basketball player who suffers a career threatening injury. During his rehab, he falls in love with his physiotherapist and their love helps him return to the basketball court. The critics are saying the same things about Just Wright as they are about Letters to Juliet in that both films are predictable, but I again say that audiences who pay to see these films expect predictability. It’s the ride that they are paying to see. Critics at Rotten Tomatoes have also listed Just Wright at 41% positive. Don’t underestimate Queen Latifah, as she’s an actress who flies under the radar. Here’s a look at the opening weekends of a few of her films:
2006 – Last Holiday – $12.8 million opening weekend
2005 – Barber Shop – $12.8 million opening weekend
No, I don’t think Just Wright will have the same gross as the films listed above. The theatre count is a little low at 1,831, but I expect a decent opening for the film. I’m predicting a 4th place finish with a gross of $9 million.
Iron Man 2 will be the #1 film for the 2nd weekend in a row. The question of interest this weekend will be “How big a drop will Iron Man 2 suffer?” My answer to that is it will have a larger drop than the 48.1% of the original. I’m bringing back the list of films I used last week when I came up with my prediction for Iron Man 2 to see how they all fared on their second weekend. Here’s the breakdown of their 2nd weekend drops at the box office:
2009 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine – 69% second weekend drop
2008 – The Dark Knight – 52.5% second weekend drop
2008 – Iron Man – 48.1% second weekend drop
2007 – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – 61.5% second weekend drop
2007 – Shrek the Third – 56.4% second weekend drop
2007 – Spider-Man 3 – 61.5% second weekend drop
2006 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – 54% second weekend drop 2006 – X-Men: The Last Stand – 66.9% second weekend drop
2004 – Spider-Man 2 – 48.7% second weekend drop
2004 – Shrek 2 – 33.2% second weekend drop
2003 – X2: X-Men United – 53.2% second weekend drop
Average % drops of the 11 films listed = 55%
Iron Man 2 was not loved by critics and audiences are finding the sequel enjoyable, but nowhere near as good as the original. I think the average percentage drop is pretty close to how well the film will do this weekend. I’m going to make a prediction slightly above the average, as I’m predicting that Iron Man 2 will drop 57% for a gross of $55 million, keeping it the #1 film.
With Robin Hood , Letters to Juliet , and Just Wright all making the top five, I’m predicting that Date Night and The Back-Up Plan will be on the outside looking in, which leaves a battle between A Nightmare on Elm Street and How to Train Your Dragon for 5th place. Here’s how I see that battle ending up.
A Nightmare on Elm Street should suffer another big drop this weekend, as horror audiences have already come out to support the film, and people would rather see the summer offerings instead of something that will be heading into its third weekend. I’m predicting a drop of 65% for a gross of $3.2 million and a 7th place finish, as I think Date Night will be down 40% from last weekend, giving that film a gross of $3.2 million and a 6th place finish.
How to Train Your Dragon continues its very strong run, and will stay in the top five thanks to a 35% drop giving it a 5th place finish and a gross of $4.1 million.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
Princess Kaiulani – this film stars Q’Orianka Kilcher and Barry Pepper and is the true story of a young woman who fought for the rights of indigenous Hawaiians. It is being released in 33 theatres and has a 29% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Looking for Eric – this is a film by Ken Loach about a postal worker who goes to weird ends to win back the love of his life. It is being released in 2 theatres and has an 87% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Daddy Longlegs – this film is a drama about a dad and his sons going on a road trip. It is being released in 1 theatre and has an 80% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo – this film is a documentary about Japanese people who are obsessed by bugs. It does not have an official theatre count and has a 92% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Trotsky is a film that stars Jay Baruchel who is a teenager that is inspired by Leon Trotsky. This motivates him to start a revolution at his high school. It does not have an official theatre count and does not have a rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Here and There and Deadfall Trail are also being released this weekend but do not have an official theatre count or a review rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
- Iron Man 2 – $55 million
- Robin Hood – $24 million
- Letters To Juliet – $22 million
- Just Wright – $9 million
- How To Train Your Dragon – $4.1 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!