Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of July 16th, 2010

Adults hope to have their minds blown this weekend as Christopher Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio team up to bring us Inception, while Nicolas Cage brings a classic Disney short film to life in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Despicable Me hopes to stay in the #1 spot for a second weekend in a row but has stiff competition with these two new releases. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

Inception is a film that audiences are very aware of thanks to a great marketing campaign, but know very little about. The film boasts some major star power with DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine. Sure they might not all be box office draws, but to cinephiles this is a great cast. The plot has something to do with a special group that has the ability to go inside the minds of people and find out their deepest thoughts and steal them. The premise is intriguing, but will it bring in audiences? The vast majority of films targeted to adults this summer have not met expectations. Sex and the City 2, The A-Team and Robin Hood have all underperformed, so will Inception continue that trend? It was not easy to come up with a list of films to compare, so I picked only a few films from Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan:

2010 – Shutter Island – $41 million opening weekend
2006 – The Departed – $26.8 million opening weekend
2005 – Batman Begins – $48.7 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $38.8 million

I think Inception will exceed that total for a few reasons:

1) The strong marketing campaign that has gotten audiences interested.
2) This is Christopher Nolan’s first film since The Dark Knight so film fans want to see his latest film.
3) Leonardo DiCaprio’s last film Shutter Island gave him the highest opening weekend of his career, so he’s bankable.
4) It’s being shown in IMAX.

Inception is receiving excellent reviews with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 84% positive as of this writing. Opening in 3,792 theatres, I’m predicting that Inception will gross $54 million this weekend and be the #1 film.

The other new release this weekend is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina. The Jerry Bruckheimer produced film is inspired by the classic Disney short film and follows the adventures of a young college student who is recruited by a sorcerer to help battle evil. Much like Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure films were a lower grade version of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, I think the same can be said about The Sorcerer’s Apprentice being a second rate Harry Potter film. It’s not going to be a mega-hit, but it will merely tide us over until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gets released. Don’t knock The Sorcerer’s Apprentice too much though, as Nicolas Cage can draw audiences at the box office. I used some of his films, as well as other Disney and Bruckheimer films to come up with my predictions. The films I used are:

2010 – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $30 million opening weekend
2007 – Enchanted – $34.4 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

Average Opening Weekend – $38.2 million

Unfortunately, I think The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will underperform at the box office. The Wednesday opening did not generate much buzz, as it only had a gross of $3.87 million making it the second highest grossing film of the day (Despicable Me grossed $7.15 million and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse grossed $3.72 million on Wednesday). Reviews have not been kind as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 40% positive. Kids and adults have lots of choices in theatres right now, and this just doesn’t seem to be a film at the top of anyone’s list. Opening in 3,504 theatres, I’m predicting that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will gross of $22 million and a 3rd place finish.

With Inception and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice making the top five, I’m predicting that Predators and The Last Airbender will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:

Gru and his Minions led Despicable Me to a very strong opening weekend gross of $56.3 million last weekend, and it should hold up well this weekend. The film was well-liked by critics and audiences, and its only new competition this weekend is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice which just does not have a lot of buzz around it. Using the list that I had for Despicable Me last weekend to predict its opening weekend gross, here’s how those films did on their second weekend:

2010 – How to Train Your Dragon – 33.7% second weekend drop
2009 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – 17.4% second weekend drop
2009 – Monsters vs. Aliens – 45% second weekend drop
2008 – Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! – 45.4% second weekend drop
2006 – Happy Feet – 10.8% second weekend drop
2005 – Madagascar – 40.5% second weekend drop

Average Second Weekend Drop – 32.1%

I actually think that the drop listed above is around where Despicable Me will be this weekend. I’m predicting a drop of 35%, giving Despicable Me a gross of $36.6 million and a 2nd place finish.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse had a decent hold in its second weekend, which went against the trend of how the films in the franchise had been holding in their second weekend. There’s no reason not to think that this weekend’s drop will be much different. I’m predicting a drop of 48%, giving The Twilight Saga: Eclipse a gross of $16.5 million and a 4th place finish.

Toy Story 3 was able to post solid numbers despite the opening of Despicable Me last weekend, and I still think that people will want to see those two animated films over The Sorcerer’s Apprentice so I’m expecting another small drop off this weekend for Toy Story 3. I’m predicting that Toy Story 3 will drop by 39% giving it a gross of $12.8 million and a 5th place finish.

Predators did better than expected on its first weekend, but we’ll find out this weekend if adult audiences want to see an adult action film like Predators or a thriller that will make you think with Inception. My money’s on Inception so I’m predicting a drop of 51% for Predators giving it a gross of $12.1 million and a 6th place finish, with a realistic chance of being the #5 film. Grown Ups should be the #7 film, as I’m predicting a drop of 37% giving it a gross of $9.9 million while The Last Airbender will have another steep decline, dropping 53% giving it a gross of $7.8 million and a 7th place finish.

Opening in limited release, we have the following films:

Standing Ovation – This film is about a group of tweenagers entering a music video contest. The film is being released in 623 theatres and has not yet been reviewed at Rotten Tomatoes.

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno – This is a documentary about the making of a film from the famous French director. The film is being released in 1 theatre and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes

Alamar – This film is a documentary about a father and a son who go on a fishing trip. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 90% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes

Kisses – This film is about a pair of Irish siblings who live on the streets. This film does not have an official theatre count and has an 86% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Valhalla Rising – This is a film about a Viking warrior. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 78% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

So to recap, here are my predictions:
Inception – $54 million
Despicable Me – $36.6 million
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – $22 million
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $16.5 million
Toy Story 3 – $12.8 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!

Leave a Reply