Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of February 25th, 2011

Two new films get released into theatres this weekend with the hope of dethroning Unknown from the top spot. Owen Wilson stars in The Farrelly Brothers new comedy Hall Pass while Nicolas Cage seeks revenge on the men who are responsible for killing his daughter in Drive Angry. What you may be surprised at is that I think Unknown is going to repeat as box office champion. In limited release, there are a few films, but none that have a lot of buzz. Here is how I see the weekend breaking down:

Hall Pass is a comedy about two men who are given a week off from being married by their wives, so they can let their freak flag fly. They soon realize that what they think the single life is like compared to the reality of being single are two wildly different things. The film stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis and is directed by The Farrelly Brothers. Wilson and The Farrelly Brothers have not done very well as of late with their comedies, as I found out when I was looking at films to compare Hall Pass with. Here’s how the last three films of the Farrelly’s have done as well as two of Owen Wilson’s more recent comedies.

2003 – Stuck on You – $9.4 million opening weekend
2005 – Fever Pitch – $12.4 million opening weekend
2007 – The Heartbreak Kid – $14 million opening weekend
2008 – Drillbit Taylor – $10.3 million opening weekend
2010 – How Do You Know? – $7.4 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $10.7 million

The premise should get people to come to the theatre, but I don’t think it’s going to gross a number that is higher than the $14 million of The Heartbreak Kid. Critics are not fans of the film as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 34% positive as of this writing, so I really don’t think that Hall Pass will be a big hit with moviegoers. Opening in 2,950 theatres, I’m predicting that Hall Pass will gross $12.5 million and finish in 3rd place.

The other new release of the weekend stars Nicolas Cage in the revenge flick Drive Angry (which was shot in 3D, in case you didn’t notice from the ad campaign). The film follows Cage seeking vengeance on the people responsible for killing his daughter. He teams up with Amber Heard along the way to cause as much mayhem as possible. Cage has had a very bad run of films lately. To come up with my prediction, I looked at Nicolas Cage films that were not big-budget blockbusters, but were more low key films that had him as the lead actor. Here’s how those films did on their opening weekend:

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
2010 – Season of the Witch – $10.6 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $8.86 million

That average opening weekend number seems like a good representation of where Drive Angry will end up. Critics are divided, as it has a 45% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, but what is the real telling factor is that Summit Entertainment must not have a lot of faith in the film because it is only releasing it in 2,290 theatres. That is not going to help its chances of success at the box office. I’m predicting that Drive Angry will gross $7.5 million and finish in 7th place.

With Hall Pass entering the top five, I’m predicting that Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son will be leaving the top five. Here is how I see the rest of the films breaking down:

Unknown was the box office champion last weekend, and it looks to continue its winning ways this weekend. When coming up with my prediction for the gross this weekend, I looked at one film only, and that was the Liam Neeson thriller Taken. I wanted to see how well that film held up on its second weekend, and the answer is below:

2009 – Taken – 16.9% second weekend drop

Unknown didn’t open as strong as Taken, but was in the same ball park. I’ll expect a little higher drop for Unknown this weekend, but it will not be much larger than the drop of Taken. I’m predicting that Unknown will drop 22% at the box office, giving the film a gross of $17 million and a 1st place finish.

Gnomeo and Juliet is becoming the surprise hit of 2011, as it held up very well last weekend, and did excellent business on the holiday Monday, as it was the #1 film in release. I’m predicting that Gnomeo & Juliet will drop 28%, giving the film a gross of $13.8 million and a 2nd place finish.

Just Go With It faces some new competition this weekend with Hall Pass, but Sandler is the biggest name in comedy (you can debate me on it, but he is the only comedian who has had consistent hits at the box office over the years), so I don’t think Just Go With It will suffer that much against Hall Pass. I’m predicting that Just Go With It will drop 35%, giving Just Go With It a gross of $12 million and a 4th place finish.

I Am Number Four was a disappointment to me, as well to studio executives last weekend as I thought it had a strong marketing campaign and an interesting premise that would draw audiences in to theatres. I was wrong, as audiences rejected the sci-fi thriller, and I’m expecting to see a significant drop-off this weekend because of it. I’m predicting that I Am Number Four will drop 47% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $10.1 million and a 5th place finish.

Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son had a better than expected debut last weekend, but it was by far the weakest opening weekend in the franchise, which means interest is not as high in the Martin Lawrence series as it once was. What is also going to be a factor this weekend is that there are two other comedies that are competing for the same audience, and to me, Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son is the least appealing comedy of the three films. Therefore, I’m predicting that Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son will drop 44%, giving the film a gross of $9.1 million and a 6th place finish.

The King’s Speech should post a decent hold this weekend as it is gaining 300 theatres to its theatre count, and people who have not seen the Oscar front runner, will want to see it before Sunday’s Academy Awards. I’m predicting that The King’s Speech will drop 5% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $6.2 million and an 8th place finish.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never looks to suffer another hefty drop this weekend, as I’m predicting a fall of 55%, giving the concert-documentary a gross of $5.9 million and a 9th place finish.

The Roommate will round out the top ten as I’m predicting that the film will drop 54% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $1.8 million and a 10th place finish.

In limited release:

Of Gods and Men – This film follows eight Christian monks who have to deal with an outside conflict that will affect their lives and what they stand for. Of Gods and Men is being released in 3 theatres and has an 85% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing

Diary of a Country Priest (Re-Release) – This classic film is about a priest who explores his faith in a small French village. Diary of a Country Priest (Re-Release) is being released in 1 theatre and has a 90% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing

Heartbeats – This film follows a young couple who meet a man that they both want to impress that leads to both comedic and dramatic results. Heartbeats is being released in 1 theatre and has a 65% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

Public Speaking – Martin Scorsese directs this documentary about acclaimed author Fran Lebowitz. The film captures a show she had with author Toni Morrison and you get to hear Lebowitz’s views on a variety of different issues. Public Speaking is being released in 1 theatre and has an 83% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

Unknown – $17 million
Gnomeo & Juliet – $13.8 million
Hall Pass – $12.5 million
Just Go With It – $12 million
I Am Number Four – $10.1 million

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

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