Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of July 23rd, 2010

Women hope to rule the box office this weekend, but the question is, will it be moms or their daughters who make the biggest impact? Angelina Jolie stars in the action-thriller Salt while Selena Gomez appeals to the young kids with Ramona and Beezus. Let’s not forget that Inception had a big opening last weekend, and looks to post a decent hold this weekend to stay in 1st place. Here’s how I think the weekend will break down:

Who is Salt? That question will finally be answered this weekend as the Angelina Jolie spy thriller finally comes to the big screen. The story follows CIA agent Evelyn Salt as she is accused of being a Russian spy and the lengths she goes to in order to clear her name. The trailers give the film a “Jason Bourne” vibe, and the marketing campaign has been building like a crescendo, reaching its high point today. Angelina Jolie is the only female action star who can be counted on to perform at the box office consistently, and I think Salt will continue the trend for her. When coming up with predictions, here are the films I used:

2010 – Knight and Day – $20.1 million opening weekend
2009 – Taken – $24.7 million opening weekend
2008 – Wanted – $50.9 million opening weekend
2007 – The Bourne Ultimatum – $69.2 million opening weekend
2005 – Mr. and Mrs. Smith – $50.3 million opening weekend
2004 – The Bourne Supremacy – $52.5 million opening weekend
2003 – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – $21.7 million opening weekend
2002 – The Bourne Identity – $27.1 million opening weekend
2001 – Lara Croft: Tom Raider – $47.7 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $40.5 million

Although Jolie’s last two action films (Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) both grossed over $50 million on their opening weekend, I think Salt’s opening will be more in line with the average. Jolie is the only star power that Salt has, and there is no source material the film is drawing from that has a built-in fan base. Also, adult-oriented action films have failed to ignite the box office this summer, so I have my doubts. Reviews have been good, as Salt has received a 60% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Salt is getting a wide release, as it will be in 3,612 theatres, but I don’t think it will have enough power to dethrone Inception from 1st place. My prediction is a $38 million opening, which will give Salt a 2nd place finish.

Ramona and Beezus is aimed towards young girls and hopes to be a surprise hit at the box office. Based on the popular Beverly Cleary novels, the film follows the adventures of the sisters in the title as they try to save their home. The film boasts a recognizable face for young girls in Selena Gomez, best known for her work in Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, but this is not a Disney film and outside the Disney brand, Gomez does not have much star power. The film has a decent cast with John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sandra Oh and Josh Duhamel, but they are not being heavily promoted in the ad campaign. It wasn’t easy to come up with films that I think are good comparisons for Ramona and Beezus but here is the list I used:

2010 – Marmaduke – $11.5 million opening weekend
2010 – Diary of a Wimpy Kid – $22.1 million opening weekend
2007 – Nancy Drew – $6.8 million opening weekend
2006 – Aquamarine – $7.4 million opening weekend
2006 – Material Girls – $4.6 million opening weekend
2004 – New York Minute – $5.9 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $9.7 million

Unfortunately, I think that there are too many better options for kids in theatres right now, and I think they would rather see Despicable Me or Toy Story 3 over Ramona and Beezus. Reviews have been mixed as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 41% positive. If this were a Disney film, I would have made a higher prediction, but I don’t think 20th Century Fox and Walden Media hold as much cache in the children’s market. Opening in 2,719 theatres, I’m predicting that Ramona and Beezus will gross $8 million this weekend giving it a 5th place finish.

With Salt and Ramona and Beezus making the top five, I’m predicting that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Toy Story 3 will be the films making room for them. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:

Inception has been the talk of the town for the past week, and the film is likely to post a solid hold this weekend because of the amount of buzz that still surrounds it. Using the films that I made my first weekend prediction with for Inception, here are the second weekend drops for those films:

2010 – Shutter Island – 44.8% second weekend drop
2006 – The Departed – 29.2% second weekend drop
2005 – Batman Begins – 43.4% second weekend drop

Average Second Weekend Drop – 39.1%

I believe that Inception will have a better hold than what the average is indicating. I’m predicting a drop of 32%, giving Inception a gross of $42.6 million and a first place finish.

Gru and his Minions had a very solid hold last weekend as Despicable Me only fell 41.8%. I would expect another strong hold this weekend, despite the fact that Despicable Me will have some competition with Ramona and Beezus. I’m predicting a drop of 47%, which will give Despicable Me a gross of $17.3 million and a 3rd place finish.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice had an extremely disappointing debut, and I’m predicting that it will have a very disappointing second weekend as well. The film did not resonate with audiences or critics, and has no hope of making back its budget, which is reportedly around $150 million. Using the films that I used last week to come up with my prediction, here is how those films did in their second weekend:

2010 – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – 53.4% second weekend drop
2007 – Enchanted – 52.4% second weekend drop
2007 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets – 20.3% second weekend drop
2004 – National Treasure – 8.5% second weekend drop
2003 – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – 27% second weekend drop

Average Second Weekend Drop – 32.3%

Unfortunately, there is no way that I think The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will have a second weekend drop that low, and I expect the drop to be more in line with Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time. I’m predicting a 54% decline giving The Sorcerer’s Apprentice a gross of $8.1 million, and a 4th place finish. It is very close with my prediction of Ramona and Beezus and if Ramona and Beezus does outperform The Sorcerer’s Apprentice this weekend, I would consider that to be one of the most shocking things to happen at the box office this summer, as I doubt anyone would think that Ramona and Beezus opening weekend would be able to outperform The Sorcerer’s Apprentice second weekend at the start of the summer.

Toy Story 3 will be the number six film, as I’m predicting a drop of 40% giving it a gross of $7.14 million.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will finish in 7th place thanks to a 54% drop giving it a gross of $6.16 million.

Opening in limited release, we have the following films:

Life During Wartime – This film is from director Todd Solondz and is a sort-of sequel to his film Happiness. The film is being released in 1 theatre and has a 70% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Spoken Word – This drama follows a spoken word artist who returns home to be with his dying father, but falls back into the life that he once escaped from. The film is being released in 1 theatre and does not have a rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Mugabe and the White African – This film is a documentary about the Zimbabwean dictator’s land reform policies. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child – This film is a documentary on the famous artist’s tragic life. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 90% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Farewell – This film is a cold-war spy thriller. This film does not have an official theatre count and has an 81% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Countdown to Zero – This is a documentary about nuclear weapons and the threat of a nuclear war in the future. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 67% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Tirador – This is a film that deals with the slums of Manila. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 67% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

So to recap, here are my predictions:
Inception – $42.6 million
Salt – $38 million
Despicable Me – $17.3 million
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – $8.1 million
Ramona and Beezus – $8 million

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

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