Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of January 21st, 2011

Only one new release comes out this weekend to try and stop The Green Hornet from repeating as box office champion and that film is the Natalie Portman//Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy No Strings Attached.  Do I think it will have enough support from audiences to be the #1 film?  You’ll have to read a bit more to find out.  Also, some decent films come out in limited release this weekend (if you’re a fan of the work of John Wells or Peter Weir, then you’ll most definitely be interested in those films).  There shouldn’t be too much change at the box office this weekend, so I’ll get right to my predictions on how I see the weekend breaking down:
No Strings Attached is a romantic comedy that asks the question “Can two people have sex without falling in love?” Well, I would be surprised if the answer at the end of the film turned out to be “yes”, but I have a feeling it will be “no”. Maybe the question is supposed to be like a modern day When Harry Met Sally which asked the question (as per the tagline of that film) – “Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?” Critics say that the two films have nothing in common in terms of quality as No Strings Attached has a 51% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. Adults will probably not be interested in a film with mixed reviews, but the quality of the people involved is another story. The film is directed by Ivan Reitman, who holds a special place with me for directing Ghostbusters and the film stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. Portman is riding high on all the Oscar buzz for her performance in Black Swan, so people might go see this film to see more of her. Ashton Kutcher is not someone I think people go to see, and it is cruel of me to say, but I always feel that the roles he plays could be played by anyone. Kutcher is at this best when the film is a romantic comedy as you will see in the list below, while this genre is new territory for Portman. When coming up with the films to help my prediction I did the following: For Kutcher, I picked romantic comedy films that he was the lead actor in and for Portman, I picked her three most recent films that opened with a theatre count above 1,000. Here are the films that I’m using of theirs to come up with my prediction:

2003 – Just Married – $17.5 million opening weekend
2005 – A Lot Like Love – $7.5 million opening weekend
2007 – Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium – $9.6 million opening weekend
2008 – The Other Boleyn Girl – $8.2 million opening weekend
2008 – What Happens in Vegas – $20.1 million opening weekend
2009 – Brothers – $9.5 million opening weekend
2010 – Killers – $15.8 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $12.6 million

I think that No Strings Attached will open higher than the average listed above just because Natalie Portman is definitely an actress that people want to see more of right now. Debuting in 3,018 theatres, I’m predicting that No Strings Attached will gross $14.5 million and finish in 2nd place.
With No Strings Attached entering the top five, I’m predicting that Black Swan will be leaving the top five (so Portman is knocking out Portman). Here is how I see the rest of the films breaking down:

The Green Hornet had a better than expected debut last weekend, and with the lack of new releases this weekend, it should repeat as box office champion. It was the only film in the top five last weekend that was being shown in 3-D, and that trend will continue this weekend. I was way off in my prediction of The Green Hornet last weekend, so this weekend I decided to use the same films as last weekend (I know your probably asking why after how bad I was last weekend) and see how big the percentage drop-offs were for those films. Here are the numbers:

2007 – Knocked Up – 36% second weekend drop
2007 – Superbad – 45.4% second weekend drop
2008 – Pineapple Express – 57.8% second weekend drop
2008 – Zack and Miri Make a Porno – 37.7% second weekend drop
2009 – Observe and Report – 62.1% second weekend drop
2009 – Funny People – 64.8% second weekend drop
2010 – Kick-Ass – 52.9% second weekend drop

Average Second Weekend Drop – 50.9%

The numbers above do not help me because they are all over the map in terms of second weekend drop, but I’ve decided to pick a number that is not too far away from the average. Since reviews on The Green Hornet are mixed, the drop will be above 50% and it actually should be closer to 60% BUT because the film is in 3-D and is the only event film in the top five, I’ll split the difference and predict a 55% drop for The Green Hornet. This will give The Green Hornet a gross of $15.1 million, which allows it to hold on (barely) as box office champion for the second weekend in a row.

True Grit should post another strong hold this weekend as it is still the primary choice for adult audiences and with no new dramas coming out this weekend, I really can’t see it losing a lot of audience this weekend. I’m predicting a drop of 28% giving True Grit a gross of $7.9 million and a 3rd place finish.

The Dilemma delivered one of the worst opening weekends in both Vince Vaughn and Kevin James careers, and this weekend looks to be much of the same thanks to the terrible word-of-mouth on The Dilemma and the fact that another comedy is coming out that deals with relationships. Those two factors lead me to believe that The Dilemma will drop 57%, giving the film a gross of $7.7 million and a 4th place finish.

The King’s Speech will build on the momentum from last weekend’s Golden Globe win for Best Actor as audiences will want to see what all the hype for this film is about. I’m predicting that The King’s Speech will drop 18% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $7.5 million and a 5th place finish.

Black Swan will also benefit from its Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Drama, but not as much as it should, as Black Swan has to deal with Natalie Portman’s other film coming out this weekend. Still, Black Swan should post a strong hold as I’m predicting a drop of 25%, which gives the film a gross of $6.2 million and a 6th place finish.

The Fighter is yet another film that will benefit from its Golden Globe wins for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, so it should post a decent hold. I’m predicting a drop of 28% from last weekend giving The Fighter a gross of $3.7 million and a 7th place finish.

Little Fockers will again suffer a drop as another new comedy comes out in release this weekend, which diminishes the amount of people who want to see Little Fockers. I’m predicting that Little Fockers will fall 49% giving it a gross of $3.6 million and an 8th place finish.

Yogi Bear will suffer a fair size drop as I don’t think families want to see this film anymore. I’m predicting that Yogi Bear will drop 44%, giving the film a gross of $2.968 and a 9th place finish.

Tron: Legacy is nearing the end of its run as it is going into its sixth weekend and the big budget blockbuster will be on the back burner for audiences as they will want to see films that are Oscar hopefuls. I’m predicting that Tron: Legacy will drop 48%, giving the film a 10th place finish and a gross of $2.912 million.

In limited release:

The Way Back – This film is from acclaimed director Peter Weir and stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and Mark Strong and is about a group of prisoners who escape from a Soviet labour camp and try to make their way back home without being caught or killed by the land that they have to cross. The Way Back is being released in 650 theatres and has a 78% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

The Company Men – This film has a great pedigree as it is written and directed by John Wells and stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones. Affleck’s character is a high-powered executive who gets laid off and has to start his life over again and do jobs he was not trained for. The Company Men is being released in 106 theatres and has a 74% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance – This animated film follows some pilots battling against a group called the “Angels”. The film is being released in 14 theatres and the film does not have any reviews posted at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

The Housemaid – This foreign film is about a young woman who is hired as a housemaid and begins an affair with the father of a family. She soon becomes pregnant with his child and is forced to have an abortion, which leads the housemaid on a path of revenge. The film is being released in 2 theatres and has a 64% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:

The Green Hornet – $15.1 million
No Strings Attached – $14.5 million
True Grit – $7.9 million
The Dilemma – $7.7 million
The King’s Speech – $7.5 million

Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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