Pixar looks to dominate the box office this weekend, while a comic book hero hopes to be the #2 film in theatres this weekend (which may not happen). Toy Story 3 will be the box office champion, but will it have the highest opening weekend in Pixar history? Will Jonah Hex be a break-out hit, or will it flop? These are the big questions and here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
11 years after the last instalment of the franchise, Disney/Pixar brings us Toy Story 3. Normally any film that has to wait 11 years between instalments almost guarantees box office doom (yes there are exceptions like Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, but I think those are few and far between). Toy Story 3 is not a normal film. First off, it’s a Toy Story film, and they hold a special place in people’s hearts as they have some of the most beloved characters in recent film history with Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Second, it’s a Pixar film, and the track record for Pixar films is like nothing else in film. They have not had a single flop in their entire existence, and even Pixar films that are not highly regarded, are still better than the vast majority of films that have been released. Finally, the story is an honest, natural progression of the characters. Andy has grown up and is going to college, which means he is going to be getting rid of his toys. The story then shifts gears to Sunnyside Daycare where some of the toys are happy to start over, as they will get to be with kids that love toys. Unfortunately for our heroes, Sunnyside is not entirely what it seems to be. When coming up with predictions on Toy Story 3 one needs to look back at the other Pixar films to see how they did. Here were the opening weekends of selected Pixar films [Note: Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life were only released on one screen their opening weekend, so they are excluded from the list]:
1995 – Toy Story – $29.1 million opening weekend
2001 – Monsters Inc. – $62.1 million opening weekend
2003 – Finding Nemo – $70.2 million opening weekend
2004 – The Incredibles – $70.4 million opening weekend
2006 – Cars – $60.1 million opening weekend
2007 – Ratatouille – $47 million opening weekend
2008 – Wall-E – $63 million opening weekend 2009 – Up – $68.1 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $58.75 million
It’s also worth noting that the re-release of Toy Story/Toy Story 2 in late 2009 grossed an additional $30.7 million. I really think that Toy Story 3 will have the highest opening weekend in Pixar’s history. It is being shown in 3-D and IMAX 3-D, and reviews have been universally excellent. Although it is still early, Rotten Tomatoes has Toy Story 3 listed at 100% positive as of this writing (from 77 reviews). My prediction is that Toy Story 3 will gross $105 million this weekend from 4,028 theatres, shattering the previous best for Pixar (which was 2004’s The Incredibles with an opening weekend gross of $70.4 million), and will easily be the #1 film of the weekend.
The other new release of the weekend is the comic book adaptation Jonah Hex starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, Will Arnett and John Malkovich. The film is about a cowboy who was horribly disfigured by a madman and gets the chance for revenge when the U.S. military asks for his help. Jonah Hex was plagued with bad buzz throughout its filming, and the end result is terrible, at least according to critics. Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 0% as of this writing (from 22 reviews). Talk about polar opposites in terms of critical reception from the two main releases this week. Most reviews give credit to Josh Brolin, as his performance is entertaining, and the running time of the film is only one hour and 21 minutes, so it’s not a huge chunk of time. Having said that, most everyone agrees that your time should be spent doing something else. When coming up with my prediction, I looked at underperforming comic book films. Here is my list:
2008 – The Spirit – $6.4 million opening weekend
2008 – Punisher: War Zone – $4.2 million opening weekend
2008 – Max Payne – $17.6 million opening weekend
2005 – Elektra – $12.8 million opening weekend
2004 – The Punisher – $13.8 million opening weekend
2004 – Hellboy – $23.1 million opening weekend
2003 – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – $23 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $14.4 million
I think Jonah Hex will open higher than the average, because there is not a lot of choices in theatres that audiences want to see right now, and the very short running time will be to its advantage. Opening in 2,825 theatres, I’m predicting that Jonas Hex will gross $18 million and finish in 3rd place.
With Toy Story 3 and Jonah Hex making the top five, I’m predicting that Get Him to the Greek and Killers will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:
The Karate Kid debuted with a surprising opening weekend gross of $55.6 million, and I think the film will post a decent hold this weekend. It will face some competition in the form of Toy Story 3 because they will essentially be going after the same audience (kids, families, and nostalgia of previous films from the past) so it will be interesting to see how strong the hold will be. I’m predicting a drop of 41%, which will make The Karate Kid the #2 film at the box office with a gross of $32.8 million.
The A-Team had a surprisingly weak opening weekend as it only grossed $25.6 million. I think The A-Team should post a decent hold because word-of-mouth is decent and it is a good summer popcorn flick where you can leave your brain at the door. Even though Jonah Hex will be going after the same audience, I’m predicting that The A-Team will drop 45% giving it a gross of $14 million and a 4th place finish.
Shrek Forever After will take the biggest hit at the box office this weekend because the film has been out for almost a month and audiences want to see a new family film. This weekend will not be kind to DreamWorks Animation as it will see its animation rival – Pixar – post a record opening weekend for a sequel whose first film was in 1995 and it still has legs, while the Shrek franchise launched in 2001 and the franchise is coming to the end of its theatrical run. Also, Shrek Forever After will be losing a large number of 3-D screens to Toy Story 3. I’m predicting a 56% drop this weekend, giving Shrek Forever After a gross of $6.9 million.
Get Him to the Greek should drop 49% this weekend giving it a gross of $5 million and a 6th place finish while Killers should drop 55% giving it a gross of $3.6 million and a 7th place finish.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
8: The Mormon Proposition – This documentary is about the church’s involvement in Proposition 8 in California (For those who don’t know, Proposition 8 was California’s anti-gay marriage legislation). This film does not have a theatre count and has a 36% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Cyrus – This films stars John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill and is about an older man getting into relationship, but having to battle her overprotective son in the process. This film is being released in 4 theatres and has an 81% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
I Am Love – This film stars Tilda Swinton and is about a family dealing with their father’s death. It does not have a theatre count and has a 79% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Killer Inside Me – This film stars Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, and Jessica Alba and is about a small town sheriff who is also a sociopath in the 1950’s. This film is being released in 1 theatre and has a 51% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Let It Rain – This is a dramedy about an authour who becomes a politician. The film is being released in 2 theatres and has an 87% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Nature of Existence – This is a film about a director going around the world asking questions about the meaning of life. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 60% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Stonewall Uprising – This is a documentary about a riot that helped bring the gay rights movement to the forefront. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 77% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wah Do Dem – This comedy is about a hipster in love who is stuck in Jamaica. The film does not have an official theatre count and there are no reviews published on Rotten Tomatoes.
Raavan – This is a film about an outlaw who kidnaps the wife of a policeman (who was responsible for the death of his sister), and ends up falling in love with her. The film does not have an official theatre count and there are no reviews published on Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
- Toy Story 3 – $105 million
- The Karate Kid – $32.8 million
- Jonah Hex – $18 million
- The A-Team – $14 million
- Shrek Forever After – $6.9 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!