Two new films open this weekend, one a thriller called The Next Three Days that stars Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson while the other is the highly anticipated blockbuster Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that I’m going to predict that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One will be the box office champion and dethrone Megamind from top spot. The question that needs to be asked is how much money will Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One gross? Here is how I see the weekend breaking down:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One is opening to a lot of hype as it is the second last film of the popular franchise. Much has been made of the fact that the film series split the last book into two parts, as critics have said that it is a money grab. Fans of the series disagree, as the final book was so dense, it would have been very difficult to make it into a 2.5 hour film. The film follows Harry, Ron and Hermione on a quest to locate Voldemort’s horcruxes, which are parts of his soul spread around the world. If they are all found, Voldemort can be destroyed. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One was originally supposed to be released in 3-D, but after the lackluster transfer of films that were post-converted in 3-D (Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender), Warner Bros. decided to make the surprising decision to just release the film in 2-D. What is surprising about this is that Warner Bros. would definitely be losing money because of this decision, because 3-D screenings mean higher ticket prices, which means higher box office grosses. This leads me to my next point, how will this installment do? Here’s how the other films in the franchise have done on their opening weekend:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – $90.2 million opening weekend
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – $77.1 million opening weekend
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – $102.6 million opening weekend
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – $88.3 million opening weekend
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – $93.6 million opening weekend
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $77.8 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $88.2 million
Some of the films listed above opened on a Wednesday, so their opening weekend gross is not as high (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince actually grossed $58.1 million on its first day of release on Wednesday July 15th, 2009, which is pretty close to what its opening weekend grossed). I think this weekend Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One will set a new record for the franchise in terms of opening weekend grosses. The film is definitely critic proof, as audiences are definitely going to turn out in droves to see the film. Having said that, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One is receiving good reviews as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 77% positive as of this writing. Getting an ultra-wide release of 4,125 theatres, I’m predicting that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One will gross $130 million and finish in 1st place.
The other new release of the weekend is the Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson thriller The Next Three Days. The film follows Crowe’s character as he tries to break his wife out of prison, as he believes she was wrongly convicted. The film is from acclaimed writer/director Paul Haggis (wrote Million Dollar Baby and was the writer/director for Crash and In the Valley of Elah). I like the cast and I like the trailer for the film, but LionsGate seems to be leading the film to a premature death by releasing it this weekend. I’m sure the reason for the release is counterprogramming to Harry Potter so adult audiences have a choice to see something this weekend, but I don’t think the film is going to be a big hit. I took a look at some of Russell Crowe’s and Paul Haggis’ films in coming up with my prediction, and here are the films I selected and how they did on their opening weekend:
2009 – State of Play – $14 million opening weekend
2008 – Body of Lies – $12.8 million opening weekend
2007 – 3:10 to Yuma – $14 million opening weekend
2005 – Cinderella Man – $18 million opening weekend
2005 – Crash – $9.1 million opening weekend
2001 – A Beautiful Mind – $16.5 million first weekend in wide release
Average First Weekend of Release – $14 million
I think the average is around what the film is going to gross. Reviews are mixed as Rotten Tomatoes lists the film at 47% positive as of this writing, and that is not going to help bring in adult audiences. Debuting in 2,564 theatres, I’m predicting that The Next Three Days will gross $12 million and finish in 3rd place.
With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One and The Next Three Days making the top five, I’m predicting that Skyline and Morning Glory will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:
Megamind is definitely going to lose its box office crown this weekend, and its going to lose a lot of money as well as audiences will be going in droves to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One. I had a look at how DreamWorks Animation’s non-Shrek films did on their third weekend to see if that would help my prediction. Here are the numbers:
2010 – How to Train Your Dragon – 14.3% third weekend drop
2009 – Monsters vs. Aliens – 33.1% third weekend drop
2008 – Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa – 55.3% third weekend drop
2008 – Kung-Fu Panda – 34.7% third weekend drop
2007 – Bee Movie – 45.2% third weekend drop
2006 – Over The Hedge – 23.7% third weekend drop
2005 – Madagascar – 38.9% third weekend drop
2004 – Shark Tale – 29.8% third weekend drop
Average Third Weekend Drop – 34.375%
The average is almost identical to the second weekend average, and most of these films did not have such a mega-blockbuster to go up against on their third weekend of release. Megamind does have one thing going for it, and that is the fact that it is still the only major release in 3-D, which will help its box office total. Still, I think Megamind is going to come back down to earth as I’m predicting a drop of 52% giving Megamind a gross of $14 million and a 2nd place finish.
Unstoppable had a good debut last weekend, but people in the mood for an adrenaline rush might be going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One instead. When coming up with my prediction for this weekend, I used the same films to make my prediction from last weekend for Unstoppable and took a look at their second weekend percentage drops. Here are the results:
2009 – The Taking of Pelham 123 – 48.5% second weekend drop
2006 – Déjà Vu – 46.8% second weekend drop
2004 – Man of Fire – 34% second weekend drop
1995 – Crimson Tide – 38% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 41.825%
Unstoppable will appeal to adults who don’t want to be in a theatre with kids, and because of that it should be good counter-programming to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One, but a part of me also thinks that it is going to be going head-to-head against The Next Three Days, so the two films will be splitting their audience. I’m predicting that Unstoppable will drop 48% and gross $11.7 million, and finish in 4th place.
Due Date did not hold up well in its second weekend, and I don’t think it will do very well this weekend either. Word of mouth does not seem to be very strong for Due Date and because of that I’m predicting a drop of 55% which gives Due Date a gross of $6.9 million and a 5th place finish.
Morning Glory had a disappointing debut last weekend, but I think the Rachel McAdams film does have a positive going for it this weekend, in that it is the only female skewed film that audiences would want to see this weekend (For Colored Girls just keeps plummeting each week). This should give it a decent hold as I’m predicting that Morning Glory will drop 38% giving it a gross of $5.7 million and a 6th place finish.
Skyline also did not have a strong debut, and sci-fi films perform like horror films and usually suffer big second weekend drops as their core audience has seen the film, and it is very hard to convert non-sci-fi fans to go see a genre film. Skyline should drop 63% giving it a gross of $4.3 million and a 7th place finish.
Red continues to be the surprise hit of the fall having taken in over $80 million in five weeks of release. I expect that trend to continue as I’m predicting a drop of 45% giving Red a gross of $2.69 million and an 8th place finish.
For Colored Girls had a disastrous second weekend, dropping 66.6% which was the highest drop of any film in the top ten. Expect the trend to continue this weekend as I’m predicting For Colored Girls will drop 59% this weekend, giving the film a gross of $2.66 million and a 9th place finish.
10th place will be quite the battleground for the second consecutive weekend as Jackass 3-D looks to stay in 10th place, but Secretariat, Saw 3-D and Paranormal Activity 2 are hoping for one last week in the upper echelon of top grossing films. Here’s how I think the four films will do:
Jackass 3-D should drop around 55% giving it a gross of $1.23 million and a 10th place finish.
Secretariat should drop around 47% giving it a gross of $1.16 million and an 11th place finish.
Like I said last weekend, Paranormal Activity 2 should have another big drop because fans do not want to see horror films right now. I’m predicting a drop of 62% giving Paranormal Activity 2 a gross of $1.13 million and a 12th place finish.
Saw 3-D is a franchise that is dying. There has been no green light for a sequel for next Halloween (Paranormal Activity 3 has been green lit for Halloween 2011) and I think Saw 3-D will suffer the biggest percentage drop of the 13 films I have giving predictions on. I’m predicting a drop of 67% which would give Saw 3-D a gross of $940,000 and a 13th place finish.
In limited release:
Heartless – This film stars Jim Sturgess who plays a man with a disfiguring birthmark on his face, which cause him to become an outcast. He finds acceptance by a group of thugs, but this new bond comes at a price. The film is being released in one theatre and has a 70% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
Made in Dagenham – This film is based on the true story of a group of women in 1960’s England who helped get women equality at the work place. It stars Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Rosamund Pike. The film is being released in 3 theatres and has an 86% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
White Material – This film stars Isabelle Huppert and is about a French women running a coffee plantation in Africa. Soon, the civil unrest in the country finds them and they are made targets and told to leave the country or else. White Material is being released in 3 theatres and has a 90% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – $130 million
Megamind – $14 million
The Next Three Days – $12 million
Unstoppable – $11.7 million
Due Date – $6.9 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!