Welcome to the start of the movie studio dumping ground season. Five films kick off the annual tradition, and they are all looking to dethrone The Expendables from the top of the box office, but I would be shocked if any of them are able to do it. The new films are Vampires Suck, Lottery Ticket, Nanny McPhee Returns, Piranha 3-D and The Switch. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
Vampires Suck is the highest profile title of the week and it is mainly a parody of the Twilight films. The film comes from the guys who brought you Epic Movie, Date Movie and Disaster Movie. Here’s how some of their other films have done on their opening weekend:
Disaster Movie – $5.8 million
Meet The Spartans – $18.5 million
Epic Movie – $18.6 million
Date Movie – $19 million
Average Opening Weekend – $15.4 million
Vampires Suck opened on Wednesday with a gross of $4 million, which was the highest grossing film of the day. These parody films are not as popular as they once were, so I would expect an opening weekend that is pretty close to the average listed above, and not the $18-$19 million these parody films made in their heyday. Reviews are typically terrible as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 3% positive, but that will not make a difference for the audience. Opening in 3,233 theatres, I’m predicting a gross of $14 million and a 2nd place finish.
Nanny McPhee Returns is a sequel to the British film that was not a big hit at the box office. The original had an opening weekend gross of $14.5 million back in 2006, and I don’t think there’s very high demand for this film. The plot centres around a group of kids who have to leave the city and live on a farm. Nanny McPhee teaches the kids about life on the farm and teamwork. Reviews have been strong, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 76% positive. Unfortunately, I don’t think kids want to see this film in theatres, and even though it’s getting a decent release of 2,783 theatres, I’m predicting a gross of $10.5 million and a 4th place finish.
Piranha 3-D stars Elisabeth Shue and Jerry O’Connell and is about a deadly group of piranhas that are awoken after a tremor in the sea and begin attacking residents. The only film that I can say is comparable is Splice, which opened with $7.3 million earlier this summer. It’s being released in 2,470 theatres, and I truly don’t think the 3-D factor will be a big deal for this film, as audiences know that films released at this time of year are being dumped onto movie-goers. Reviews have been good so far, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 82% positive. I’m predicting an opening weekend gross of $9 million for Piranha 3-D and a 6th place finish.
Lottery Ticket is a comedy about a man who wins the lottery and does his best to keep this hidden from his neighbourhood. Unfortunately, his efforts are thwarted and everyone wants a piece of his winnings. The film has a decent cast that includes Ice Cube, but you can tell the studio has very little faith in the film as its being released in 1,973 theatres. It will not draw any adult audiences because reviews are weak, with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 32% positive. I’m predicting that Lottery Ticket will open with $8 million and finish in 7th place.
The Switch is a romantic-comedy that stars Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman and is about a man dealing with the fact that the girl he has always loved might have birthed his son, after he switched sperms on her when she was trying to get pregnant. This film reminds me a lot of the Jennifer Aniston film Love Happens – which opened with $8 million from 1,898 theatres. The Switch is being released in 2,012 theatres, and I don’t think many people are intrigued by the premise. Aniston and Bateman are not stars at the box office, and reviews have not been that great with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 53% positive. I’m predicting that The Switch will gross $6 million giving it a 9th place finish.
With Vampires Suck and Nanny MacPhee Returns making the top five, I’m predicting that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Inception will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:
The Expendables looks to hold onto its title as king of the box office, and I think it will do it with ease. The big reason is that there is no other film in release that poses a threat so it should repeat easily. The concern that I have for The Expendables is that the film might have already appealed to its target audience, and it will suffer a big second weekend drop. The Expendables reminds me of Freddy vs. Jason and Alien vs. Predator in that regard because we are seeing people (or characters) on screen together for the first time. Freddy vs. Jason suffered a drop of 63.9% in its second weekend while Alien vs. Predator suffered a drop of 67.6%. I don’t think the drop will be that big for The Expendables as I’m predicting a drop of 59% giving The Expendables a gross of $14.2 million and a 1st place finish, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a poor second weekend.
Julia Roberts had a strong debut last weekend with Eat Pray Love and she’s hoping that this weekend the film will be able to overcome the negative reviews, and post a decent hold at the box office. Here are two of the films that I used last week to make my prediction with and how they did on their second weekend (I didn’t use Mona Lisa Smile as the film was essentially flat on its second weekend because of the Christmas release it received):
The Time Traveler’s Wife – 47.7% second weekend drop
Duplicity – 45.1% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 46.4%
The average is exactly where I think the film will finish this weekend. Roberts still has star power and should be able to keep attracting females to the film. Dropping 45%, I’m predicting a gross of $12.7 million for Eat Pray Love and a 2nd place finish.
The Other Guys did all right last weekend, posting a 51% drop, and I think the drop will be a bit lower this weekend, with the lack of quality films in release. I’m predicting a drop of 44% giving The Other Guys a gross of $9.7 million and a 5th place finish.
Inception should be able to post another strong hold as it is the only thriller that is still relevant to movie-goers. I’m predicting a drop of 35%, giving Inception a gross of $7.3 million and an 8th place finish at the box office this weekend.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had an all right debut last weekend, but I would expect it to suffer a big drop this weekend. Here are the films I used last weekend to make my prediction:
Kick-Ass – 52.9% second weekend drop
Youth in Revolt – 56.4% second weekend drop
Zombieland – 40.2% second weekend drop
Year One – 69.3% second weekend drop
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – 43.2% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 52.4%
I think the percentage drop will be quite a bit higher for this film, just because I think the fan base rushed out to see it on its first weekend, and I don’t think it will be able to draw in a large audience in the coming weeks. I’m predicting a 61% drop for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World giving it a gross of $4.1 million and a 10th place finish.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
Army of Crime – This is a thriller about the French Resistance in World War II. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 90% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
A Film Unfinished – This film is about a long lost Nazi propaganda film. The film does not have an official theatre count and has an 89% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Tillman Story – This documentary is about the life and death of football player/Army Ranger Pat Tillman. The film will be released in 4 theatres and has an 89% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Soul Kitchen – This comedy is about the weird people that come to a cook’s kitchen. This film will be released in 2 theatres and has an 80% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Mao’s Last Dancer – This film is a rags-to-riches tale of a dancer. It has been out in Canada for quite awhile, but is now being shown in the U.S. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 59% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Calvin Marshall – This drama is about a college basketball player determined to make the pros, even though he is only an average talent. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 50% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Making Plans for Lena – This film is drama about a family reunion. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 43% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
The Expendables – $14.2 million
Vampires Suck – $14 million
Eat Pray Love – $12.7 million
Nanny McPhee Returns – $10.5 million
The Other Guys – $9.7 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!