Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of July 9th, 2010

Kids and adults look to defeat teenagers at the box office this weekend as Despicable Me and Predators hope to dethrone The Twilight Saga: Eclipse from the top of the box office. I think Despicable Me has a really legitimate shot of doing that while I have concerns about Predators. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

Steve Carell leads an all-star cast of voices in the film Despicable Me. This is the first of two animated releases this year that have a super-villain as its lead character (Megamind comes out later this year). The difference between the two films is that Despicable Me focuses on Carell’s character being a bad guy as well as being a dad to three annoying young children. I think the film should do fairly well, as films aimed at kids have done pretty well this summer. When thinking of films to come up with my prediction, I decided that the films could not be from Pixar or sequels. Here’s the list I came up with:

2010 – How to Train Your Dragon – $43.7 million opening weekend
2009 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – $30.3 million opening weekend
2009 – Monsters vs. Aliens – $59.3 million opening weekend
2008 – Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! – $45 million opening weekend
2006 – Happy Feet – $41.5 million opening weekend
2005 – Madagascar – $47.2 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $44.5 million

I think the opening weekend will be a little higher than that. If The Last Airbender can open at $40 million, Despicable Me should be able to exceed that gross. Like The Last Airbender, Despicable Me is being released in 3-D, and animated films do have big opening weekends. Universal Pictures is releasing the film and they are not known for their animated films, but the premise and star power is appealing, and I must say that I love the Minions. The list above contains five films above $40 million and I think the buzz has been steadily growing for the film. Reviews have been excellent with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 87% as of this writing. The film is also receiving the biggest release of the two new releases this weekend as Despicable Me will be shown in 3,474 theatres. With the high theatre count, the film being released in 3-D and a running time that is around 90 minutes, audiences will have many screenings to go and see Despicable Me. I think Despicable Me will finish in 1st place with a gross of $51 million.

Men get represented this weekend with the film Predators starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne. The plot of the film focuses on a bunch of mean individuals who are captured and all wake up to realize that they are being hunted by an alien race. Films geared towards men have not done well this summer (The A-Team and Knight and Day spring to mind), but will Predators buck the trend? I have doubts because the franchise is not exactly popular. Here’s a look at how the last two films that featured the Predator character did:

2007 – Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem – $10 million opening weekend
2004 – Alien vs. Predator – $38.2 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $24.1 million

I don’t think that this film will come close to the heights of Alien vs. Predator but it won’t do as poorly as Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. I like the cast in this film very much, but they are not box office draws, but then again, they don’t have to be as the star of this film are the Predators. Reviews have been surprisingly strong for the film with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 72% positive. Still I think that films geared toward men have underachieved this summer, and Predators will continue the trend. Opening in 2,669 theatres, I’m predicting that Predators will open with $18 million and finish in 3rd place.

With Despicable Me and Predators making the top five, I’m predicting that Grown Ups and Knight and Day will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has been doing great business over the course of the week and hopes to continue the trend this weekend. The best way to predict how The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will do is to look at how the first two films in the franchise did on their second weekend. Here are the percentage drops those films suffered:

Twilight – 62.2% second weekend drop
The Twilight Saga: New Moon – 70% second weekend drop

Average Second Weekend Drop – 66.1%

I think the drop will be big, but not as big as The Twilight Saga: New Moon. My prediction is a drop of 68% which will give The Twilight Saga: Eclipse a gross of $20.7 million and a 2nd place finish.

Toy Story 3 will be in for a battle this weekend with Despicable Me slightly eating into its theatre count. Toy Story 3 only dropped 49% last weekend when it had to battle The Last Airbender and I think a drop in the same neighbourhood will happen this weekend with Despicable Me being its main competitor. I’m predicting a drop of 45% for Toy Story 3 this weekend, which will give it a gross of $16.6 million and a 4th place finish. Also of note, Toy Story 3 is inching closer to being Pixar’s highest grossing film of all time. Here’s the total box office number for the film up to and including Wednesday July 7th:

1) Finding Nemo – $339.7 million
2) Toy Story 3 – $313 million

The Last Airbender should do what recent M. Night Shyamalan films have done and that is to suffer a big second week decline. Here are Shyamalan’s films and how they did on their second weekend:

2008 – The Happening – 65.7% second weekend drop
2006 – Lady in the Water – 60.4% second weekend drop
2004 – The Village – 67.5% second weekend drop
2002 – Signs – 51% second weekend drop
2000 – Unbreakable – 52.4% second weekend drop
1999 – The Sixth Sense – 3.4% second weekend drop

Average Second Weekend Drop – 50%
Average Second Weekend Drop (without The Sixth Sense) – 59.4%
Average Second Weekend Drop (three most recent films) – 64.5%

That final average is around where I’m predicting The Last Airbender to drop. I’m predicting a 65% drop, which will give The Last Airbender a gross of $14.1 million and a 5th place finish.

Grown Ups has an outside shot of making the top five, depending on how poorly The Last Airbender does, but I’m predicting a drop of 44%, giving Grown Ups a gross of $10.5 million which will make it the 6th place film.

Opening in limited release, we have the following films:

The Girl Who Played With Fire – The second film in “The Millenium Trilogy” that follows the continuing adventures of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. The main plot surrounds Salander being accused of the brutal murders of two journalists. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 62% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Grease (Sing-A-Long Re-Issue) – The classic musical starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John gets re-released with the lyrics on the screen. The film is being released in 12 theatres and has a 83% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes

The Kids Are All Right – This film is not a biography of “The Who” but instead it stars Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo and is about a lesbian couple dealing with the sperm donor of their kids appearing and wanting to be a part of their life. The film is being released in 7 theatres and has a 93% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes

Winnebago Man – This is a documentary about a man who became famous for swearing while shooting a commercial for Winnebago’s. He became a YouTube star this decade and the filmmakers go on the hunt to find the man who became famous for his expletive filled sales pitch. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 93% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

[REC] 2 – This is a sequel to the original film [REC], which inspired the film Quarantine. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 74% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Around A Small Mountain – This film is about the dramas of a travelling circus. It is being released in one theatre and has a 57% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes

So to recap, here are my predictions:

Despicable Me – $51 million
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $20.7 million
Predators – $18 million
Toy Story 3 – $16.6 million
The Last Airbender – $14.1 million

Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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