Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of March 4th, 2011

Four new films get released into theatres this weekend and at least two of them should have an opening weekend strong enough to dethrone Hall Pass from the top of the box office. As for the other two films, well, let’s just say if they can make the top ten, then that would be considered a success. The new releases are the Johnny Depp animated adventure Rango, the Matt Damon thriller The Adjustment Bureau, the Topher Grace comedy Take Me Home Tonight and the modern day “Beauty and the Beast” tale Beastly. Here is how I see the weekend breaking down:

Rango is an animated adventure that features the voice talent of Johnny Depp and is directed by Gore Verbinski, who is most famous for directing the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy. The film follows a chameleon that ends up in an old west town called “Dirt”, where he is encouraged by the locals to stand up to the outlaws of the town, including the evil Rattlesnake Jake. What is difficult to predict about this film is the fact that it is being released by Paramount Pictures, which is not known for releasing animated films. If my numbers are correct, the last time that Paramount released an animated film (without the DreamWorks Animation label) was in 2006 with the film Barnyard, which opened with $15.8 million. Rango has a very “barren” look in the trailers, and is striking in its visuals for the amount of open spaces that I have seen (I find with Pixar or DreamWorks Animation films that every frame of the screen can be very busy and filled with bright colours, and that does not seem to be the case for Rango). I do not love the ad campaign for Rango either, but this film will be the #1 film at the box office this weekend. Why? Because it is being released in 3,917 theatres, which is by far and away the highest theatre count of any film in release. Reviews have been glowing, with Rotten Tomatoes listing Rango at 83% positive. I still don’t get the feeling that it is going to be a monstrous hit, but I’m predicting a 1st place finish for Rango with a gross of only $31 million and it will have its work cut out for it if it hopes to make back its reported $135 million budget.

The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is the film that I’m most excited to see this weekend. This Hitchcockian thriller (at least the posters have a very Hitchcockesque feel to them) is about a young politician who falls in love with a ballerina, except that is not part of “their” plan, and “The Adjustment Bureau” is sent in to keep the lovers apart at all costs. As the trailers say, if you believe in free will, if you believe in chance, if you believe in choice, fight for it (I think that that is a catchy slogan for the film, but I’m a sucker for that sort of stuff). The Adjustment Bureau is based on a Philip K. Dick short story, which really doesn’t mean anything when you think about it, but I was surprised that the film was based on one of Dick’s short stories. When coming up with my prediction, I looked at some of Damon’s more medium sized films to see how they opened. See below:

2005 – The Brothers Grimm – $15 million opening weekend
2009 – The Informant! – $10.4 million opening weekend
2010 – Green Zone – $14.3 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend = $13.2 million

I think the premise of the film is intriguing and I think the marketing campaign has been pretty slick, which leads me to believe that The Adjustment Bureau will have an opening weekend that is higher than the films listed above. Reviews are good with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 69% positive. The theatre count is normal as The Adjustment Bureau is being released in 2,840 theatres. I’m predicting that The Adjustment Bureau will gross $17 million and finish in 2nd place.

Take Me Home Tonight is a comedy that stars Topher Grace and is about a recent M.I.T. grad that is wasting his life away in a meaningless job until the night of his life happens. It feels like a combination of American Pie meets The Hangover (as I write that, I realize that I don’t even like that comparison, even though I love both those films). Topher Grace is not a person who can open a film at the box office, and although I do like the trailer, the film doesn’t quite stand out in a crowded marketplace. Relativity is releasing the film, but they don’t have a lot of faith in it as it is only being released in 2,003 theatres. Critics aren’t high on Take Me Home Tonight either, as Rotten Tomatoes lists the film at 39% positive. I’m predicting that Take Me Home Tonight will gross $5 million and finish in 11th place.

Beastly is the final new release of the weekend and it stars Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer (who is also in the film I Am Number Four). Beastly is a modern day version of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale. This film has to be a flop because it has been pushed back so often. The first teaser trailer for Beastly was released back in 2009 when The Twilight Saga: New Moon was in theatres. CBS Films is releasing Beastly and the theatre count is even lower than Take Me Home Tonight which tells me that the studio realizes it has a bomb on its hands. Beastly is being released in 1,952 theatres. Critics are tearing apart the film as it only has an 18% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. I’m predicting that Beastly will open with a gross of $5.5 million and finish in 10th place.

With Rango and The Adjustment Bureau entering the top five, I’m predicting that I Am Number Four and Just Go With It will be leaving the top five. Here is how I see the rest of the films breaking down:

Gnomeo and Juliet might be in a little trouble this weekend with the release of Rango but I think it will be able to hold its own, as I’m predicting that Gnomeo & Juliet will drop 34%, giving the film a gross of $8.8 million and a 3rd place finish.

Hall Pass ended up being the #1 film last weekend, but it will lose that title this weekend. I’m predicting a drop of 40%, giving Hall Pass a gross of $8.1 million and a 4th place finish.

Unknown had a higher than expected drop last weekend and will be in direct competition with The Adjustment Bureau this weekend, so I’m predicting that Unknown will drop 42% at the box office, giving the film a gross of $7.25 million and a 5th place finish.

The King’s Speech should post a decent hold this weekend with it being named the Best Picture of the year at Sunday’s Academy Awards. I’m predicting that The King’s Speech will drop a very tiny 2% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $7.15 million and a 6th place finish.

Just Go With It continues to do well for Adam Sandler, and I’m predicting that the film will drop 39%, giving Just Go With It a gross of $6.4 million and a 7th place finish.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never held up very well last weekend, and I think it should be able to repeat that trend this weekend. I’m predicting that Justin Bieber: Never Say Never will drop 35%, giving the concert-documentary a gross of $6 million and an 8th place finish.

I Am Number Four is not resonating with audiences so I’m predicting that the film will drop 46% from last weekend, giving I Am Number Four a gross of $5.9 million and a 9th place finish.

In limited release:

The Human Resources Manager – This film is about a human resources manager who goes to great lengths to save the bakery he works for by trying to stop the publication of a negative article. The Human Resources Manager is being released in 4 theatres and has an 85% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – This film is about a dying man who spends his last days with his family in the country and is also surrounded by the ghosts of his past. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is being released in 3 theatres and has an 87% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing

HappyThankYouMorePlease – This film is about a group of young people trying to find their place in this world and the meaning for their own existence (it’s a comedy). HappyThankYouMorePlease is being released in 2 theatres and has a 44% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

I Saw The Devil – This film is about a psychopath who kills just for the pleasure of killing people. When the daughter of a special agent is one of his victim’s, the agent seeks out revenge on the murderer by any means necessary. I Saw The Devil is being released in 2 theatres and has a 75% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

Rango – $31 million
The Adjustment Bureau – $17 million
Gnomeo & Juliet – $8.8 million
Hall Pass – $8.1 million
Unknown – $7.25 million

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

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