The battle for first place will continue to be between True Grit and Little Fockers, even with two films coming into the marketplace this weekend. The first film is the Nicolas Cage action-horror Season of the Witch and the second film is the expanding from limited release drama Country Strong with Gwyneth Paltrow. Both Season of the Witch and Country Strong are receiving terrible reviews, which means audiences will continue supporting films that are already in theatres. Nothing major is coming out in limited release and the January movie “blahs” are in full effect. Here is how I see the weekend breaking down:
Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman star in Season of the Witch, an action-horror film that follows a warrior who has to escort a woman who is accused of being a witch to a monastery. My plot synopsis is not very strong, and neither are the reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 4% positive as of this writing, making Season of the Witch a very early contender for the title of worst film of 2011. Nicolas Cage can be very hit and miss at the box office, so I’m going to be using his bombs to come up with my prediction. See below:
2005 – Lord of War – $9.3 million opening weekend
2006 – The Wicker Man – $9.6 million opening weekend
2007 – Next – $7.1 million opening weekend
2008 – Bangkok Dangerous – $7.7 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $8.425 million
I like the average above as I think that is around where Season of the Witch will open. Debuting in 2,816 theatres, I’m predicting that Season of the Witch will gross $8.1 million and finish in 4th place.
Country Strong with Gwyneth Paltrow is going into wider release this weekend, up-ing its theatre count from 2 theatres to 1,424 theatres. Country Strong follows a fading country artist who is trying to make a comeback (think a lower quality version of Crazy Heart). The film has performed really well in its two weeks of limited release and that can be attributed to the star power of Gwyneth Paltrow because the critics are tearing this film apart. Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 17% positive and that is not going to help the masses come out and support it. Even the amount of theatres the film is playing in suggests that Sony/Screen Gems does not have a lot of faith in the film as it is not even close to 2,000 theatres. Paltrow does have her fans, but they won’t be enough to get Country Strong into the top five. I’m predicting that Country Strong will gross $4.5 million and finish in 10th place.
True Grit finished in 2nd place last weekend (again), but this time I really do think it will be the #1 film this weekend. It has been the number one film at the box office on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and this is really the type of film that audiences who have not seen the film yet over the holidays will go out and support this weekend due to the weak crop of new releases. I’m predicting a drop of 33% giving True Grit a gross of $16.3 million and a 1st place finish.
Little Fockers two week reign as box office champion will be coming to an end. The holiday themed sequel will suffer a higher drop than True Grit because Little Fockers is a sequel and it also has a holiday theme to the movie. Once a new year starts, those two things are usually a sign of box office decline. I’m predicting that Little Fockers will fall 41% giving it a gross of $15.1 million and a 2nd place finish.
Tron: Legacy should also suffer a fairly big drop as audiences just do not seem to be excited about this event film from Disney. I’m predicting a drop of 42% and a gross of $10.8 million giving Tron: Legacy a 3rd place finish for the third weekend in a row.
As I said last weekend, The Fighter will continue to benefit from strong word-of-mouth and tons of acclaim from many film critics, and with awards season in full swing, I expect audiences to come out and find out what all the buzz is about. I’m expecting a 22% drop from last weekend giving The Fighter a gross of $7.8 million and a 5th place finish.
Black Swan will be another film that benefits from all the awards buzz this weekend, and will be rewarded with a small percentage drop this weekend. I’m predicting that Black Swan will drop 18% from last weekend, giving it a gross of $7.2 million and a 6th place finish.
The King’s Speech adds 58 theatres to its total theatre count this weekend, and that should get it up in the standings as I’m predicting a small drop of 15% giving The King’s Speech a gross of $6.5 million and a 7th place finish.
Yogi Bear will suffer a large decline as its target audience is back in school and doing homework again. I’m predicting that Yogi Bear will drop 49%, giving the film a gross of $6.2 million, and an 8th place finish.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will also lose a fair amount of business this weekend with kids going back to school and people no longer interested in the event film. I’m predicting that The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will drop 53% giving the film a gross of $4.7 million and a 9th place finish.
In limited release:
The Time That Remains – This drama is about a group of Palestinians living in their homeland even though they are considered a minority. The Time That Remains is being released in one theatre and has a 77% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
No One Killed Jessica – This drama is about a cocktail waitress who is killed at a party by a man with political influence and power. He should be sentenced to death for his crime, but his connections may help him go free. It’s up to the dead girl’s sister and a reporter to stop that from happening. No One Killed Jessica is being released in 48 theatres and has yet to be reviewed at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune – This is a documentary about musician Phil Ochs and the albums he recorded. Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune is being released in one theatre and has a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
True Grit – $16.3 million
Little Fockers – $15.1 million
Tron: Legacy – $10.8 million
Season of the Witch – $8.1 million
The Fighter – $7.8 million
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!