Three films look to overtake Takers from the top of the box office this weekend. For action fans there is the Robert Rodriguez film Machete, for romantic comedy fans there is the Drew Barrymore film Going the Distance and for fans who like a good thriller there is George Clooney in The American. It is the Labour Day long weekend, which is a very slow weekend for moviegoers, so I wouldn’t expect any blockbuster debuts. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
Robert Rodriguez brings us the grind house film Machete starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Jessica Alba and Robert De Niro. The film is about a man who is hired to kill a politician but gets double-crossed and goes out to exact revenge on the people who wronged him. The plot is not why you are going to see the film, but you should not be expecting a lot considering Machete began as a fake trailer in front of the Robert Rodriguez//Quentin Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse. I took a look at how some of Rodriguez’s films have done on their opening weekend, and here’s what I’ve come up with.
2007 – Grindhouse – $11.5 million opening weekend
2003 – Once Upon A Time in Mexico – $23.4 million opening weekend
1996 – From Dusk Till Dawn – $10.2 million opening weekend
1995 – Desperado – $7.9 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $13.25 million
Even though the Labour Day long weekend is a typically slow weekend for moviegoers, I think audiences are in the mood for a film they can go and leave their brains at the door and see carnage unfold on the screen. The film is geared towards men, and I think they will respond. Reviews have been surprisingly good as Rotten Tomatoes lists the film at 70% positive as of this writing. Opening in 2,670 theatres, I’m predicting that Machete will finish in 1st place with a gross of $15 million.
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star in the romantic comedy Going the Distance which is about a guy and girl starting to fall in love, but knowing that soon they will either have to break-up or do a long distance relationship. Barrymore is a pretty steady performer in romantic comedies as proven by this list below:
2007 – Music and Lyrics – $13.6 million opening weekend
2005 – Fever Pitch – $12.4 million opening weekend
2001 – Riding in Cars with Boys – $10.4 million opening weekend
1999 – Never Been Kissed – $11.8 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $12.05 million
The studio is showing some faith in Going the Distance as it is getting the widest theatre count of any of the new releases with 3,030, but I don’t think people are in the mood for a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, I think that because the film is being released this weekend, it will not do well. I believe the film is geared towards younger woman more so than older woman, and the young woman are focused on going back-to-school or getting their kids ready for back-to-school. Reviews have been on the negative side as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 40% positive as of this writing. I’m predicting a 2nd place finish and a gross of $11 million, which is right around the average of the films listed above.
George Clooney stars in the thriller The American, which is about an assassin going after a target in Italy. This is not a big budget film, and with Anton Corbijn as the director (most noted for directing U2 videos and the Joy Division biopic Control) this is not going to be a film with lots of explosions that moves along quickly. It’s an introspective film that takes its time to get to where it wants to go. Critics have noted this, and say that it will divide audiences as Rotten Tomatoes lists the film at 59% positive. This George Clooney film should not come as a surprise to fans of his, because he is known for doing “non-commercial” projects. See below:
2009 – The Men Who Stare at Goats – $12.7 million opening weekend
2007 – Michael Clayton – $10.3 million first weekend in wide release
2005 – Good Night, and Good Luck – $3 million first weekend in wide release
2005 – Syriana – $11.7 million first weekend in wide release
2002 – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind – $5.8 million first weekend in wide release
2002 – Solaris – $6.7 million opening weekend
Average First Weekend in Wide Release – $8.37 million
The difference with the films listed above and The American is that most of the films listed above started as a limited release and then expanded, building word-of-mouth. I think that Focus Features should have done this with The American as I don’t think it is going to have a big opening weekend. It’s easy to play armchair quarterback, but I think the wide release of the film was not the way to go. The film opened on Wednesday grossing $1.67 million, making it the #1 film on Wednesday, but I don’t think it will play that well on the weekend. Also, I question any studio that releases a film on the Labour Day long weekend, as I think Focus Features knows that they do not have a hit on their hands. Opening in 2,823 theatres, I’m predicting that The American will gross $7 million and finish in 5th place.
With Machete, Going the Distance and The American making the top five, I’m predicting that The Expendables, Eat Pray Love and The Other Guys will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:
Takers surprised everyone with the strong debut at #1 last weekend, but its ride at the top will come to a screeching halt this weekend. Its audience is back-to-school now, and I really do think it was a one weekend wonder. The films that I used to make my prediction last weekend (which I know you are now saying “Scott – why are you mentioning those films again as you were way off in your prediction on Takers last weekend”) are going to help me this weekend as here is the 2nd weekend drops those films suffered:
2010 – The Losers – 37.4% second weekend drop
2009 – Armored – 46.2% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 41.8%
I think Takers will have a higher drop than the average listed above as I’m predicting a drop of 47%, giving it a gross of $10.8 million and a 3rd place finish.
The Last Exorcism was almost the #1 film last weekend. The estimates on Sunday had it in 1st place, but it fell to 2nd place when the final numbers came out on Monday. Horror films usually suffer big declines on their second weekends, as the genre brings out people on opening weekends, and unless there is a lot of buzz surrounding the film, it quickly fades away. Here are the films that I used last week to make my predictions for The Last Exorcism and how they did on their second weekend:
2009 – The Final Destination – 54.9% second weekend drop
2009 – Halloween II – 64.9% second weekend drop
2007 – Halloween – 63.9% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 61.2%
I think the drop will not be as large as the average above, but it will be fairly high. I’m predicting that The Last Exorcism will drop 56% giving it a gross of $8.9 million and a 4th place finish.
The Expendables will drop 38% giving it a gross of $5.89 million and a 6th place finish.
Eat Pray Love will drop 41% giving it a gross of $4 million and a 7th place finish.
The Other Guys will drop 46% giving it a gross of $3.5 million and an 8th place finish.
Inception will drop 35% giving it a gross of $3.1 million and a 9th place finish.
Nanny McPhee Returns will round out the top ten by dropping 44% giving it a gross of $2.6 million.
Opening in limited release, we have the following films:
A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop – This film is by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou (Hero, Curse of the Golden Flower and House of Flying Daggers) and is a remake of the film Blood Simple. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 36% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 – This film is part two of a two-part biopic that stars Vincent Cassel and is about a legendary French gangster. The film does not have an official theatre count and has an 81% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
My Dog Tulip – This animated film is about the relationship of a man and his dog. The film does not have an official theatre count and has a 91% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Max Manus – This film is about a Norwegian who fought in World War II. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 72% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Winning Season – This films stars Sam Rockwell as and is about a man who becomes the coach of a girls’ high school basketball team. Think The Mighty Ducks except with basketball. This film will be released in 3 theatres and has a 50% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Last Train Home – This documentary is about migrant workers in China. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Our Beloved Month of August – This documentary is about a director who attends many music festivals and tries to make a film about it. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Prince of Broadway – This film is about hustlers in New York’s fashion district. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
White Wedding – This film is about a groom trying to make his wedding on time. This film does not have an official theatre count and has a 50% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
- Machete – $15 million
- Going The Distance – $11 million
- Takers – $10.8 million
- The Last Exorcism – $8.9 million
- The American – $7million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!