Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of February 18th, 2011

Three new films come out this weekend, and all three have a legitimate shot at being the new #1 film. Will audiences go for the sci-fi adventure I Am Number Four, the comedy sequel Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son or the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown? Chances are slim that Just Go With It repeats as box office champion, and I expect most of last weekend’s news releases to suffer big drops. In limited release, there are quite a few entries, but this being the doldrums of February, there is no film that is receiving a ton of acclaim. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

Martin Lawrence returns to one of his most successful franchises with Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son
(his most successful franchise would be Bad Boys, but one could argue that Will Smith is probably the more valuable actor in that series). I don’t think the film needs much of a plot explanation, as Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson both dress up in drag to help solve a murder. The first question that comes to mind is why make another sequel to a franchise that is over ten years old, and is not really a popular franchise? I soon discovered how popular the first two films were. See below:

2000 – Big Momma’s House – $25.6 million opening weekend
2006 – Big Momma’s House 2 – $27.7 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend = $26.65 million

Impressive numbers to be sure (and shows how wrong my first impressions can be). I then thought about another franchise that also happened to start in the year 2000, and that was the “Focker” franchise. I thought using the two previous films in the Big Momma’s House franchise, plus the release of Little Fockers (it being the third film in that franchise, so it makes sense in my head to use), to see what the average opening weekend would be. The results are below:

2000 – Big Momma’s House – $25.6 million opening weekend
2006 – Big Momma’s House 2 – $27.7 million opening weekend
2010 – Little Fockers – $30.8 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend = $28 million

The number above is quite a bit high for my liking. The fact that Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son is being released in February, and is really a sequel that no one is really excited for, makes me believe that this film will flop at the box office. Fox knows it has a flop on its hands, as it is not showing the film to critics. Opening in 2,821 theatres, I’m predicting that Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son will gross $10 million and finish in 6th place.

I Am Number Four is a science-fiction thriller, directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) and follows a teenager who has special powers, but has to move from town to town to avoid his enemies that want him dead. What makes things more complicated is that he has fallen in love for the first time, and he wants to lead the life he has, without jeopardizing anyone else’s life in the process. I Am Number Four lacks star power, but the trailers were good, and teenagers are looking forward to seeing a film geared towards them, as the past couple of months have definitely catered more to the adults than teens (The Roommate being the only notable exception). When coming up with predictions, I used the films of D.J. Caruso as well as some non-traditional super-hero films. Here is how those films did:

2007 – Disturbia – $22.2 million opening weekend
2008 – Jumper – $27.3 million opening weekend
2008 – Eagle Eye – $29.1 million opening weekend
2009 – Push – $10 million opening weekend
2010 – Kick-Ass – $19.8 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend = $21.68 million

I Am Number Four will have the advantage of being shown in IMAX screens, which will make the ticket prices even higher. Reviews of I Am Number Four are not strong as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 29% positive as of this writing. I think the premise, strong marketing campaign, and teenage demographic of the film will make this the big hit of the weekend. Opening in 3,154 theatres, I’m predicting that I Am Number Four will open with a gross of $31 million, giving the film a 1st place finish.

Unknown is a thriller that stars Liam Neeson and follows his character, who gets into a car accident in Berlin. When he awakens, he finds out that his wife doesn’t recognize him and someone else has assumed his identity. Then assassins show up to try and kill him, which is when Neeson decides to take matters into his own hands and get back his life. Unknown has a style that feels very similar to some other films, so I picked a spy thriller, and two of Neeson’s films in the action//thriller genre to come up with my predictions. Here is what I came up with:

2002 – The Bourne Identity – $27.1 million opening weekend
2009 – Taken – $24.7 million opening weekend
2010 – The A-Team – $25.6 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend = $25.8 million

Neeson is proving to be a more consistent box office performer, and the fact that this film is in a genre that is right up his alley should give it a decent opening weekend. The negative I have is that the trailer for Unknown is not as attention grabbing as Taken, which might hurt its box office. Taken was released around this time of year in 2009 (to be exact, it was released on January 30, 2009), so Taken is definitely the film to compare it with. Reviews are the best of any of the new releases this weekend, but they are still not strong. Rotten Tomatoes has Unknown listed at 45% positive, but the star power of Neeson should help the overall box office. Opening in 3,043 theatres, I’m predicting that Unknown grosses $18 million and finish in 2nd place.

With I Am Number Four and Unknown entering the top five, I’m predicting that The Eagle and The Roommate will be leaving the top five. Here is how I see the rest of the films breaking down:

Last week’s #1 film, Just Go With It looks to post a decent hold this weekend as its main competition comes from Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son. I think audiences will want to see Adam Sandler over Martin Lawrence in drag so I’m predicting a drop of 42%, giving Just Go With It a gross of $17.7 million and a 3rd place finish.

Gnomeo and Juliet was a definite surprise at the box office last weekend and it should post a decent hold as it really is the only kid’s film in town. I’m predicting that Gnomeo & Juliet will drop 37%, giving the film a gross of $15.9 million and a 4th place finish.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never looks to suffer a pretty big drop this weekend, as the hardcore fans will have already checked out the film and it’s definitely not going to attract much in the way of new business. I’m predicting a drop of 61% giving Justin Bieber: Never Say Never a gross of $11.5 million and a 5th place finish.

The King’s Speech will continue to play well with adults, as the Oscars are just over a week away. With studio marketing campaigns for Oscars in full gear, audiences who have not seen the film yet feel that they should will check it out before the ceremony. The King’s Speech will drop 12% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $6.3 million and a 7th place finish.

The Eagle had a very weak debut last weekend, and I predict it will have a very weak second weekend as well. I’m predicting that The Eagle will drop 56% giving the film a gross of $3.8 million and an 8th place finish.

No Strings Attached should drop 37% giving the film a gross of $3.7 million and a 9th place finish.

The Roommate should again suffer a big drop this weekend as I’m predicting that The Roommate will drop 56% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $3.6 million and finish in 10th place.

In limited release:

I Am – This documentary is from director Tom Shadyac (best known for directing Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty) and focuses on how he changed his life following a bicycle accident. He got rid of most of his possessions and views the world in a different light. I Am is being released in one theatre and does not have a rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Immigration Tango – This film is a comedy about a foreign couple who can no longer legally stay in the U.S. so they convince their best friends to swap partners with them, while trying to outsmart the immigration officers. Immigration Tango is being released in 30 theatres and has a 17% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing

The Last Lions – This documentary, narrated by Jeremy Irons, follows a lioness that will do anything to protect her cubs. The Last Lions is being released in 4 theatres and has a 92% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Now & Later – This sexually charged drama follows an illegal immigrant and a disgraced banker, who start a passionate relationship that opens each others minds to new ideas and outlooks on life. Now & Later is being released in 1 theatre and has a 20% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Putty Hill – This drama deals with a small town coming together over the death of one of their own. They realize that they don’t know very much about the young man who died, so they decide to recreate his life as best they can. Putty Hill is being released in 1 theatre and has a 67% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Vanishing on 7th Street – Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo star in this thriller about a city that suffers a blackout and when the sun rises, only a handful of people have survived. These survivors head to a bar to regroup, and realize that they may not last another night. Vanishing on 7th Street is being released in 1 theatre and has a 50% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Brotherhood – This film is about pledges trying to get in a fraternity. When one prank goes horribly wrong, a pledge must stand up to the fraternity and do what’s right to save his fellow pledge’s life. Brotherhood is being released in 1 theatre and has a 46% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

I Am Number Four – $31 million
Unknown – $18 million
Just Go With It – $17.7 million
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – $15.9 million
Gnomeo & Juliet – $11.5 million

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

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