Four new releases enter the marketplace this weekend in the hopes of dethroning Shrek Forever After from the top of the box office. There’s a little bit of something for everyone as Get Him to the Greek appeals to fans of comedy, Killers is for the date crowd, Marmaduke is for the kids and Splice is for horror fans. Then we have the holdovers in Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. These seven films are battling for five positions. This will be a big challenge for me in terms of how accurate I will be in my predictions this weekend, so let’s see how I do. Here is how I see the weekend breaking down:
Get Him to the Greek reunites Russell Brand and Jonah Hill in a story that follows Jonah Hill’s character trying to get Russell Brand’s character from London to Los Angeles in 72 hours, so Brand can perform at the Greek theatre for his band’s 10th anniversary concert of their famous album. Hill and Brand previously starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Nick Stoller – returns to direct Get Him to the Greek), and the chemistry between them was so good, that the creators of Forgetting Sarah Marshall wanted to have a film with the two actors in leading roles, and so we get Get Him to the Greek. What is interesting is that Russell Brand is playing the same character as he did in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, while Jonah Hill’s character is completely different and in no way related to his Forgetting Sarah Marshall character. I don’t think the majority of audiences will know or care about that detail, but I thought I would bring it up. There has not been a big comedy geared towards men for quite some time (sorry MacGruber), so Get Him to the Greek looks to take advantage of that. Here were the films I picked in coming up with my number on how Get Him to the Greek will do this weekend:
2009 – Funny People – $22.6 million opening weekend
2009 – I Love You, Man – $17.8 million opening weekend
2008 – Role Models – $19.1 million opening weekend
2008 – Forgetting Sarah Marshall – $17.7 million opening weekend
Average opening weekend – $19.3 million
I’m torn about the Get Him to the Greek, because I think people will go see it, but then I have to remind myself that Russell Brand and Jonah Hill are not proven stars that can open movies at the box office. Then again, with the exception of Funny People, the films above starred people who are not on the “A” list, but they did manage to open reasonably well. The film is receiving some decent reviews, as Rotten Tomatoes has Get Him to the Greek listed at 70% positive as of this writing. Opening in 2,696 theatres, I’m predicting that Get Him to the Greek will open in 3rd place with $19 million.
The classic comic strip Marmaduke gets the big screen treatment, and hopes to follow in the paths of other famous animal movies. The timing of the release is a little suspect, as Shrek Forever After came out two weeks ago, and two weeks from today Toy Story 3 will be coming out, so Marmaduke is not really going to get a big share of the family audience pie. Owen Wilson is the voice of Marmaduke (which is smart casting considering how popular the film Marley and Me was, so he has some association with animal films), and the film does have a pretty impressive voice-cast in Sam Elliot, Ron Perlman, Jeremy Piven, Kiefer Sutherland and Damon Wayans. In coming up with my prediction for Marmaduke, I thought back to some other animal related films (mostly ones that have animals that talk), and here is my list of films:
2009 – G-Force – $31.7 million opening weekend
2008 – Marley and Me – $36.3 million opening weekend
2008 – Beverly Hills Chihuahua – $29.3 million opening weekend
2004 – Garfield: The Movie – $21.7 million opening weekend
Average opening weekend – $29.75 million
Marmaduke does have recognition but I think the marketing campaign has been terrible, and the reviews are even worse. Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 10% positive as of this writing. Still, in the back of my head, I cannot discount the popularity of talking animal films, and that family films do well in the summer. Despite all the negativity in my head, I think that Marmaduke will open at #1 film this weekend. Marmaduke has the highest theatre count with 3,213, and that will play a big role in why it will do so well. My prediction is that Marmaduke will gross $26 million.
Splice is the first major horror film to be released since A Nightmare on Elm Street and it looks to go after an underserved audience. The film stars Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody in a story about two biochemists that splice together the DNA of a human with that of other animals. The result is a fascinating specimen that is a scientific miracle. Unfortunately, for the biochemists, their success is short lived as the new creature soon turns on them. The film has some credibility with audiences because of the actors involved and because Guillermo Del Toro is a producer. It was hard to come up with a comparison for Splice but I remembered that the film Orphan opened in the summer last year, and it had an opening weekend of $12.8 million. Despite the amazing premise, and the reviews for Splice are good, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 70%, I think the over-crowded marketplace will hurt its chances of success this weekend. Splice opens in 2,450 theatres this weekend (which is the lowest theatre count of any new release this weekend), and I’m predicting that it will debut in 6th place with a gross of $10 million.
The final new release of the weekend is the Ashton Kutcher//Katherine Heigl action-comedy Killers. This film has bomb written all over it. The trailer for the film is not very good, as it tries to play up the action-comedy vibe, but the jokes fall flat, and the marketing has been subpar. The studio knows it has a bomb on its hands as it is not screening the film for critics (hence – no reviews have been posted on Rotten Tomatoes). Kutcher and Heigl can open a film, but this is not the right vehicle for either of them. Expect this to be the big disappointment of the weekend. Opening in 2,859 theatres, I’m predicting that Killers will gross $8 million and finish in 8th place.
With Marmaduke and Get Him to the Greek making the top five, I’m predicting that Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood will be knocked out. Here’s how I see rest of the top five turning out as well as films just outside the top five shaping up:
Shrek Forever After will give up its reign as king of the box office in its third weekend. It is going to face some competition in the form of Marmaduke because both films are going after the same audience – families. The buzz about Shrek Forever After is just not as high as the other films in the franchise, and I think people are happy to see the tales of Shrek end, and not sad (you should always leave audiences wanting more). My prediction is that Shrek Forever After will drop 48% and gross $22.5 million this weekend, giving it a 2nd place finish.
Sex and the City 2 has its work cut out, because the first film suffered a 62.8% drop in its second weekend. Normally, a sequel will suffer a bigger drop than the first film on its second weekend, because the up front demand is higher, but because Sex and the City 2 had such a disappointing opening weekend, I’m predicting that drop will be a little smaller. I believe that Sex and the City 2 will be down 60%, which will give it a gross of $12.4 million and a 5th place finish.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time also had a disappointing opening weekend considering how much the film cost (reportedly $200 million). I think that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has a better shot at longevity than its counterpart Sex and the City 2 because the film received decent reviews, and it’s a perfect summer popcorn flick. You see a big, loud, effects driven film, and then you leave the theatre and don’t give it a second thought. My prediction for the weekend is that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will drop 56% giving it a gross of $13.2 million and a 4th place finish.
Iron Man 2 should have another small drop, as its only real competition is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Iron Man 2 is the more popular of the two franchises. I’m predicting Iron Man 2 will drop 40% for a gross of $9.8 million, giving it a 7th place finish.
Robin Hood will drop from 5th place to 9th place this week even though I think it will have a good hold at the box office, as it’s the only adult film in theatres worth seeing. I’m predicting that Robin Hood will drop 35% which will give it a gross of $6.8 million.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders – This documentary chronicles the lives of the people who work for Doctors Without Borders. It does not have a theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Whiz Kids – This documentary focuses on three teenagers all battling it out in a national science fair. It does not have a theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Cropsey – Yet another documentary, but this one is about an urban legend of child murderer that turned out to be true. It does not have a theatre count and has an 89% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Double Take – This is a film that takes an unusual look at the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It does not have a theatre count and has a 67% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Ondine – This film is directed by Neil Jordan and stars Colin Farrell in the story of a fisherman who “catches” a beautiful woman. The film does not have an official theatre count, and has a 61% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Finding Bliss – This film stars Leelee Sobieski and is about a film school grad that ends up getting into the world of pornography (It’s a comedy). The film does not have an official theatre count, and has a 14% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Boyband – This film follows a quarterback in high school, who quits the team to become part of the first boy band back in 1982. The film is being released in one theatre and has not been rated at Rotten Tomatoes.
Convention – I don’t know anything about this film except that it is being released in one theatre and has not been rated at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
- Marmaduke – $26 million
- Shrek Forever After – $22.5 million
- Get Him To The Greek – $19 million
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $13.2 million
- Sex and the City 2 – $12.4 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!