The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will be the #1 film at the box office this weekend. There is absolutely no doubt about that. The question is will it reach the heights that The Twilight Saga: New Moon achieved on its opening weekend? While audiences will flock to see the vampires vs. werewolves tale, movie fans will also be interested to see how M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film The Last Airbender does this weekend. Is it a return to form for the director, or does it continue his recent slide of bad films? Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse officially opened on Wednesday and broke records in the process. It had the highest midnight gross ever with the estimates placing it above $30 million; but it did not have the highest single day gross ever. When Wednesday ended, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse grossed $68.5 million, putting it in second place behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon which has the largest single day gross with $72.7 million. The third entry in the franchise will be very hard to predict, because this is the first time a film in the franchise has opened on a Wednesday, and the films are very front loaded. Here’s a look at how the first two films did on their first three days of release:
Friday’s Gross – $35.9 million
Saturday’s Gross – $21.2 million (Down 40.8%)
Sunday’s Gross – $12.3 million (Down 41.9%)
Total Opening Weekend Gross – $69.6 million
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Friday’s Gross – $72.7 million
Saturday’s Gross – $42.2 million (Down 41.8%)
Sunday’s Gross – $27.8 million (Down 34.2%)
Total Opening Weekend Gross – $142.8 million
What’s weird is that on their second day of release, both films had drops of more than 40%. Normally Saturday does better business than Friday, so you can see the importance of the opening day to this franchise. A benefit the film does have going for it is that it is the July 1st//July 4th long weekend, so I don’t think the drops will be that heavy. Critics have no impact on this franchise, but reviews are quite decent for the series, as the film is listed at 50% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. Summit Entertainment is leaving nothing to chance, as the film is being released in a record high 4,468 theatres, which beats the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which was released in 4,455 theatres. The high theatre count means lots of screenings, which means lots of money. I’m very torn about how The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will perform on the weekend. Part of me says it should easily gross more than $100 million from Friday-Sunday, but then I have the front-loaded argument with myself, which would make this weekend’s gross much smaller. I’ve decided to stick to my gut on this one, and go with my original thought, which is to predict a $115 million opening from Friday-Sunday for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse making it the #1 film.
M. Night Shyamalan returns to theatres with his first film since The Happening with the action-adventure film The Last Airbender. Based on the popular animated series Avatar (no relation to the James Cameron film), the film follows a young hero named Aang who can control Earth, Air, Wind and Fire. The Fire Nation decides to declare war on the other three element nations and it’s up to Aang to save the day. The film is a big departure of Shyamalan, as he normally doesn’t do big-budget films, but he’s trying something different, which is always to be commended. Shyamalan films usually do all right at the box office. Here’s how his major films have fared on their opening weekend:
2008 – The Happening – $30.5 million opening weekend
2006 – Lady in the Water – $18 million opening weekend
2004 – The Village – $50.7 million opening weekend
2002 – Signs – $60 million opening weekend
2000 – Unbreakable – $30.3 million opening weekend
1999 – The Sixth Sense – $26.6 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $36 million.
Unfortunately, The Last Airbender is receiving terrible reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 8% positive. Kids would rather see The Twilight Saga: Eclipse or Toy Story 3 than this film, and I don’t think the fact the film is in 3-D is going to make a huge difference. The Last Airbender is opening in 3,169 theatres, and I’m predicting a gross of $18 million and a 4th place finish.
With The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Last Airbender making the top five, I’m predicting that The Karate Kid and The A-Team will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:
Toy Story 3 did well in its second weekend, but with increased competition, the film should suffer the biggest third weekend drop in Pixar’s history (among its films that started in wide release). Here’s the percentage drop on Pixar’s wide release films on their third weekend:
1995 – Toy Story – 31.2% third weekend drop
2001 – Monsters Inc. – 50.1% third weekend drop
2003 – Finding Nemo – 39.1% third weekend drop
2004 – The Incredibles – 47.2% third weekend drop
2006 – Cars – 31% third weekend drop
2007 – Ratatouille – 37.9% third weekend drop
2008 – Wall-E – 42.2% third weekend drop
2009 – Up – 30.3% third weekend drop
Average percentage drop on the 3rd weekend of Pixar films – 38.6%
Toy Story 3‘s drop is going to be much higher than 38.6%. Even though it has the long weekend going for it, I’m predicting a drop of 52%, giving Toy Story 3 a gross of $28.5 million, and a 2nd place finish.
Adam Sandler looks to have a strong hold with his latest film Grown Ups, and I think that because it is the only major comedy in town, the film should post a strong hold this weekend. Here’s the list I used last weekend, which now shows the percentage drop the selected films had on their second weekend:
2009 – Paul Blart: Mall Cop – 32.1% second weekend drop
2008 – Bedtime Stories – 25.3% second weekend drop
2008 – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan – 57.5% second weekend drop
2007 – I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry – 44.1% second weekend drop
2006 – Click – 50.2% second weekend drop
2005 – The Longest Yard – 45.2% second weekend drop
2004 – 50 First Dates – 48.7% second weekend drop
2003 – Anger Management – 40.8% second weekend drop
2002 – Mr. Deeds – 50.5% second weekend drop
2000 – Little Nicky – 51.7% second weekend drop
1999 – Big Daddy – 51.8% second weekend drop
1998 – The Waterboy – 38% second weekend drop
1998 – The Wedding Singer – 35.2% second weekend drop
Average second weekend drop – 43.9%
I think this film is better than some of Sandler’s more recent work, and I think its hold will be around the average listed above. I’m predicting a drop of 46%, giving Grown Ups a gross of $21.8 million and a third place finish.
The battle for fifth place should be interesting as Knight and Day should be able to round out the top five in its second weekend. Unfortunately for the Tom Cruise vehicle, The Karate Kid has been neck and neck with Knight and Day throughout the early part of the week. Here are the grosses for both films:
Knight and Day – $2.16 million
The Karate Kid – $2.13 million
Knight and Day – $2.12 million
The Karate Kid – $2.11 million
Knight and Day – $1.75 million
The Karate Kid – $1.79 million
For Knight and Day, I think the best way to predicate how it will do is by looking at the performance of Tom Cruise films on their second weekends. Here’s the list I used last week, and the drops those films suffered on weekend number two:
2008 – Valkyrie – 33% second weekend drop
2006 – Mission: Impossible III – 47.6% second weekend drop
2005 – War of the Worlds – 53% second weekend drop
2004 – Collateral – 34.5% second weekend drop
2003 – The Last Samurai – 42% second weekend drop
2002 – Minority Report – 39.5% second weekend drop
1999 – Eyes Wide Shut – 53.6% second weekend drop
Average second weekend drop – 43%
I think that is a fair number of what Knight and Day will do, so I’m predicting that Knight and Day will drop 43% for a gross of $11.5 million and a 5th place finish.
The Karate Kid is the only other film with a legitimate chance of making the top five, but I’m predicting a drop of 48%, which will give The Karate Kid a gross of $8.1 million and a 6th place finish.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
Only When I Dance – This documentary is about two Brazilian dancers. This film does not have a theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector – This documentary is about the rise and fall of legendary record producer Phil Spector. This film does not have a theatre count and has a 77% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes
Great Directors – The title says it all as this documentary features interviews with Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch and Agnes Varda among others. This film does not have a theatre count and has a 69% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes
Love Ranch – This film stars Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci and is about a couple who run a brothel. This film is being released in 11 theatres and has a 15% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $115 million
Toy Story 3 – $28.5 million
Grown Ups – $21.8 million
The Last Airbender – $18 million
Knight and Day – $11.5 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!