It’s a battle of the sexes weekend at the box-office. In the women’s corner, from New York City, wearing silver, we have Sex and the City 2. In the men’s corner, from parts unknown (ok, it’s Persia, but I always like when wrestling announcers say that), wearing brown, we have Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. For the women, their favourite role models return for another big screen adventure in the hopes of making more money than the first film. For the men, one of the most popular video game franchises of all-time comes to the big screen, and looks to avoid the video game curse (i.e. – video games that become movies are usually terrible films). Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
Jake Gyllenhaal takes the lead in what he hopes will become a franchise with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The story focuses on a hero (Gyllenhaal) who is charge of a magical dagger that can alter time. He does his best to make sure that it does not fall into the wrong hands. The story is not why people are going to see this film. They will see it because it is a special-effects driven, Jerry Bruckheimer film. The question is how will it do? It has one strike against it because as most people know, there really has never been a film based on a video-game that audiences and critics have fallen in love with. Unfortunately, as you will find out later, that trend continues, although the mixed reviews the film is receiving is better than most video game adaptations. When I was coming up with a number for the film, I decided not to compare it to past films based on video games, because very few of those films had a budget like Prince of Persia’s, as well as the expectations of being a release on Memorial Day weekend. Here are the films that I used to come up with my prediction, and how they did on their opening weekend:
2010 – Clash of the Titans – $61.2 million opening weekend
2009 – Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – $54.1 million opening weekend
2009 – Terminator: Salvation – $42.5 million opening weekend
2008 – The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – $40.4 million opening weekend
2008 – The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – $55 million opening weekend
2007 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $44.7 million opening weekend
2004 – National Treasure – $35.1 million opening weekend
2003 – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – $46.6 million opening weekend
1999 – The Mummy – $43.3 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend For The Above 9 Films – $46.98 million
I think all the films above had about the same amount of hype as Prince of Persia, so my prediction is just slightly higher than the $46.98 million. Reviews have been mixed, with Rotten Tomatoes listing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time at 45% as of this writing. Men will not care about what critics have to say, because it gives them an excuse to not see Sex and the City 2 with their girlfriends. Opening in 3,646 theatres, I’m predicting Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will open with $48 million, giving it a 2nd place finish.
Sex and the City 2 is going to be the #1 film this weekend. I’m sure most men will be upset at that because it means they are going to be dragged to see it against their will, but women love this franchise. The sequel has the girls dealing with different struggles in their lives (unhappy marriage, kids that drive them up the wall), so they end up going to Abu Dhabi to live the good life for awhile. Unfortunately for one of the characters, an old flame appears, and the question audiences will want to find out the answer to is will she fall for him again, or be faithful to her husband? It’s hard to compare Sex and the City 2 with any other film except the original, because there are not many female franchise pictures. The original grossed $57 million on its opening weekend back in 2008, and sequels usually have stronger opening weekends than the original films. However, the only new release that was against the original Sex and the City back in 2008 was the horror film The Strangers which did relatively well grossing $20.9 million and finishing in 3rd place. This time there is better competition and Sex and the City 2 will be in a battle for 1st place. I have no doubt that the sequel is going to make more than the original, but it won’t be by very much because of Prince of Persia. I think that to an extent, they are going to hurt each other’s box office. That’s my take on the audience, but what about the critics? If the critics had their way, they would send you to see Prince of Persia because as of this writing, Sex and the City 2 has a 14% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Women will not be deterred by this, and go to the theatre in droves to see it anyways. My prediction for Sex and the City 2 is as follows. It is opening in fewer theatres than Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Sex and the City 2 is only in 3,445 theatres), but it will have a higher gross, as I think it will make $62 million over the Friday-Sunday period, and be the #1 film at the box office.
With Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time both making the top five, I’m predicting that Just Wright and Letters to Juliet will be leaving the top five. (Both films will be leaving the top five in their 3rd weekend of release). Here’s how I see rest of the top five shaping up:
Shrek Forever After just does not seem to have the buzz factor to me. I think it will do better than I might originally have predicted (my original prediction was a 55% drop) because of the Memorial Day long weekend in the U.S. Still, it does have the highest theatre count of any film in release with 4,367, which will be of some benefit. It is also the only major release in 3-D, which will help the bottom line. I’m predicting a drop of 44% from last weekend, which will give Shrek Forever After a gross of $39.6 million and a 3rd place finish.
Iron Man 2, like Shrek Forever After, probably would have had a bigger drop at the box office this weekend, if it were not for the Memorial Day long weekend. I think that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will take away a fair chunk of Iron Man 2’s audience, but it could have been a lot worse. I’m predicting Iron Man 2 will drop 43% for a gross of $14.9 million, giving it a 4th place finish.
Robin Hood will drop from 3rd to 5th this week because of a 41% drop at the box office. It will give Robin Hood a gross of $11 million. Even though Robin Hood is not a big hit in North America, it is doing very well overseas. I’m not giving any other predictions for films that could be close to making the top five; because there is no way that I am going to be wrong this week about what films are in the top five – Absolutely no way.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
Breathless (Re-Issue) – The classic film by Jean-Luc Godard gets a re-release in 4 theatres. I watched the DVD a couple of months ago, and it holds up very well.
George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead – This film deals with two opposing families who battle over how to deal with the zombies on their island. I know the premise sounds comical, but it’s definitely not a comedy. It does not have an official theatre count, and has a 35% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Micmacs – This film is by acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (of Amelie fame) and is about a video store clerk who turns a dump into a place of wonder and magic. The film does not have an official theatre count, and has an 81% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Mademoiselle Chambon – This is a French film about a schoolteacher who has a romance with the father of one of her students. The film does not have an official theatre count, and has a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Picasso and Braque Go To The Movies – This is a documentary about how art, history, and film all came together in the early 20th century. The film does not have an official theatre count, and has an 80% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Agora – This film stars Academy Award Winner Rachel Weisz and is a drama about the Egyptian philosopher Hypatia. The film does not have an official theatre count, and has a 65% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
- Sex and the City 2 – $62 million
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $48 million
- Shrek Forever After – $39.6 million
- Iron Man 2 – $14.9 million
- Robin Hood – $11 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!