Four films open for the American Thanksgiving weekend with the hopes of doing decent box office. I say decent, because there is absolutely no way that any of the films will be able to dethrone Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One from the top of the box office. With the long weekend, we should see some big box office numbers, but because a lot of these films are being released mid-week, I would think that they would be a little more front loaded on the weekdays than on the weekend. Here is how I see the weekend breaking down:
Tangled has the highest profile of any of the new releases as it is a computer generated animated film from Walt Disney Pictures (no Pixar involvement on this one). The film is a retelling of the Rapunzel story and has the voice talents of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. Disney is a powerhouse when it comes to animated films and I expect that Tangled will be the highest grossing new release of the weekend. To come up with my prediction, I looked at the opening weekends of some other Disney films, and here is what I came up with:
2009 – The Princess and the Frog – $24.2 million first weekend in wide release
2008 – Bolt – $26.2 million opening weekend
2007 – Enchanted – $34.4 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $28.3 million
I think Tangled will have an opening weekend that is a little higher than that, but it does have very tough competition in the forms of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One and Megamind. Reviews have been glowing for Tangled, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 89% positive. The film is being shown in 3-D, so that should help its gross as well. Debuting in an ultra wide 3,603 theatres, I’m predicting that Tangled will finish in 2nd place with a gross of $35 million.
Cher and Christina Aguilera team up in the dance musical Burlesque about a small town girl who travels to the big city to follow her dream of becoming a singer. The trailer for the film pretty much gives away the story, but even from my first sentence, I think you could probably guess how this film is going to end. Musicals have done moderately well on their opening weekend this decade, and to prove my point, here’s a list of some and how they performed:
2009 – Fame – $10 million opening weekend
2006 – Dreamgirls – $14.1 million first weekend in wide release
2005 – Rent – $10 million first weekend in wide release
2002 – Chicago – $8.2 million first weekend in wide release
Average Opening Weekend – $10.575 million
Reviews have not been strong, with Rotten Tomatoes listing Burlesque at 31% positive, but I don’t think many people are surprised by this, and the two stars are not exactly draws at the box office. Opening in 3,037, I’m predicting that Burlesque will gross $10 million and finish in 4th place.
Dwayne Johnson returns to the action genre with the revenge flick Faster. The plot follows Johnson’s character as he gets out of prison and is hell bent on killing the people responsible for murdering his brother. The film also stars Billy Bob Thornton. Johnson should be a much bigger star than he is. He’s charismatic, can kick-ass and has comedic chops. With Faster, he is returning to the types of films he did when he first started getting out in. He can be a decent draw at the box office. Here’s a look at the opening weekend of some of his films:
2006 – Gridiron Gang – $14.4 million opening weekend
2005 – Doom – $15.4 million opening weekend
2004 – Walking Tall – $15.5 million opening weekend
2003 – The Rundown – $18.5 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $15.95 million
Reviews for Faster are mixed with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 43%, but I think the film is a good alternative as it really is the only hardcore action film in release. This film will not put Johnson on the A-List, but it will hopefully put him back in the limelight when it comes to action films. For this reason, I’m predicting Faster to be the #3 film at the box office this weekend with a gross $11 million from 2,454 theatres.
Love and Other Drugs is the final new release of the weekend and it stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. It follows a salesman, who is selling Viagra as it first came out, falling for a girl who should hate him after he pretends he was a doctor when she was getting examined. The two begin to fall in love, but she has a secret, which means she doesn’t want to fall in love. The film is being promoted as a dramedy, but I’ve read it focuses more on the drama aspect. Edward Zwick directs the film, which is definitely a departure for him (he of Glory, Defiance, Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai and Legends of the Fall). Unfortunately the strong talent did not seem to make a film that critics liked, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 42% positive as of this writing. It also doesn’t seem to be a film that will stand out to audiences, especially this weekend, and that means it is going to get lost in the shuffle. Opening in 2,455 theatres, I’m predicting that Love and Other Drugs will open in 6th place with a gross of $8 million.
With Tangled, Burlesque and Faster making the top five, I’m predicting that Unstoppable, The Next Three Days and Due Date will be knocked out of the top five. Here’s how I see rest of the top five unfolding:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One had an absolutely huge opening weekend, and now it has the challenge of repeating as box office champion. It faces a new problem, as the opening weekend gross was so strong, it tells me that this film was very heavily front-loaded, which means a sizeable drop is in store this weekend. Before I make my prediction, I looked at how the other films in the franchise have done on their second weekend, as some of them have opened around this time of year:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – $57.4 million / Down 36.3%
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – $42.2 million / Down 52.2%
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – $34.9 million / Down 62.7%
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – $54.7 million / Down 46.7%
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – $32.5 million / Down 57.8% Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $29.4 million / Down 62.1%
Average Second Weekend Gross – $41.8 million
Average Second Weekend Percentage Drop – 52.9%
I think the second weekend percentage drop will be the highest in franchise history as I’m predicting a drop of 64%, which would give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One a gross of $45 million and a 1st place finish.
Megamind is in for a big battle this weekend as now it has another animated film looking to take away its audience in Tangled. If that’s not bad enough, Tangled is also being released in 3-D, which will take away even more screens and more of Megamind’s audience. However, because it is the Thanksgiving weekend, I don’t think the drop will be as large as if this were a normal weekend. For that reason, I’m predicting Megamind will drop 39% giving it a gross of $9.76 million and a 5th place finish.
Unstoppable has been a steady performer in its short release, and I think it should hold up well this weekend as Faster appeals more to a younger adult audience than Unstoppable and because the two films will not be battling each other for audience, I’m predicting that Unstoppable will fall 43% from last weekend, giving it a gross of $7.4 million and a 7th place finish.
Due Date continues to be the only true comedy in release, and I think people will be in the mood to laugh this Thanksgiving weekend, so I’m being kind on the percentage drop for the film. I’m predicting that Due Date will drop 38% giving it a gross of $5.5 million and an 8th place finish.
Morning Glory will be in a little trouble this weekend as it has Love and Other Drugs going after its audience and I think it will suffer because of that. I’m predicting that Morning Glory will drop 47%, giving it a gross of $2.7 million and a 9th place finish.
The Next Three Days crashed and burned on its first weekend, and its long term prospects are very dim. With so many other options in theatres now, this film is going to get lost in the shuffle starting this weekend, so it will be on DVD shelves in early 2011 (at least I’m predicting that). I believe that The Next Three Days will drop 59% giving it a gross of $2.6 and a 10th place finish.
In limited release:
Break Ke Bad – This film features two of India’s most popular young stars in a film about finding love while being on two different continents. The film is being released in 85 theatres and does not have a review posted at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
The Nutcracker in 3D – The title says it all for this one. The film is being released in 42 theatres and has a 0% positive rating (from 13 reviews) at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
The King’s Speech – This film stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter and follows the true story of King George VI, who had a debilitating speech impediment, which made him come across as weak when he spoke. His wife encourages him to see a speech therapist in order to overcome this problem and lead England during a time of crisis. The film received much acclaim at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The King’s Speech is being released in 4 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 – $45 million
Tangled – $35 million
Faster – $11 million
Burlesque – $10 million
Megamind – $9.7 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!