Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of April 8th, 2011

Four new films come into the marketplace this weekend with all of them hoping to dethrone Hop from the top of the box office. The thing is I don’t think any of them have the breakout potential to be the #1 film this weekend. The four new films are: Your Highness, Hanna, Arthur and Soul Surfer. The Jake Gyllenhaal thriller Source Code will try to capitalize on its glowing reviews and post a low decline this weekend, which is not an easy thing for a sci-fi film to do. Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

Arthur is a remake of the Dudley Moore classic about a wealthy man who is threatened to be cutoff from his inheritance by his mother if he does not marry a girl that his mother has selected for him to make their business stronger. Unfortunately for Arthur, he has met a new girl that he actually likes, so the age old question of “For Love or Money” comes into play. Russell Brand, Jennifer Garner and Helen Mirren star in this remake. The film is being sold on Russell Brand’s star power and he really only has one film under his belt where he’s the star (I’m not counting Hop as he’s just the voice). Last year, Get Him to the Greek opened to a gross of $17.5 million, but that film also had the benefit of having a built-in audience from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’m not sold on Russell Brand as a lead, and I certainly do not like what I see in the ad campaign for this film. Critics seem to agree with me as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 19% positive as of this writing. Still, Arthur should do well this weekend as it has the biggest theatre count of any of the new releases this week, and it will be a case of quantity over quality. Opening in 3,276 theatres, I’m predicting that Arthur will finish in 2nd place with a gross of $14 million.

Your Highness stars Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman and is about two brothers who go out to rescue a princess, although this film is decidedly different from most medieval stories (expect a lot of pot references). McBride is known to people for his supporting roles and his work on the TV show “Eastbound and Down”, but he is the leading man in this film and he is not someone who mainstream audiences are really aware of. Luckily, James Franco and Natalie Portman provide some star power, but will it be enough to draw in audiences? The only film I really have as a reference for Your Highness is 2008’s Pineapple Express which had an opening weekend of $23.2 million. That film had the same director as Your Highness and also starred McBride and Franco. I don’t think Your Highness will gross as much as Pineapple Express on its opening weekend, as Pineapple Express was a summer film that got more promotion. Critics are not big fans of Your Highness as the film has a 25% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. Still, the film should have a decent first weekend, but will probably fade away after that. Opening in 2,769 theatres, I’m predicting that Your Highness will gross $13 million and finish in 3rd place.

Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett and is about a young girl who is brought up by her father to be an assassin. When her father’s old employers come looking for them, everyone’s world is about to be turned upside down and people will die. This is not a happy story but an intriguing one because of how dark the subject matter is. Hanna is directed by Joe Wright, who is the director of Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and The Soloist. The premise is definitely a departure Wright, and the ad campaign for the film gives the vibe of a very dark and depressing film. Critics are liking what they are seeing though, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 72% positive as of this writing. Unfortunately, the premise and the low theatre count of the film are going to hurt its chances at the box office this weekend. Opening in 2,535 theatres, I’m predicting that Hanna will gross $8 million and finish in 5th place.

Soul Surfer is the final new release of the weekend and it stars AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt. The film is based on the true story of a young girl who loves surfing, but loses an arm when a shark attacks her. The film follows her struggle to get back on the water and surf once more. Soul Surfer is not getting a major push from TriStar and I think that will definitely hurt its chances at the box office this weekend. Critics are mixed on the film as Rotten Tomatoes lists Soul Surfer at 42% positive as of this writing. The low theatre count and mixed reviews will not help Soul Surfer’s bid for a top five finish. Opening in 2,214 theatres, I’m predicting that Soul Surfer will gross $6 million and finish outside of the top five.

Among last weekends holdovers that will still be in the top five this weekend, here are my predictions:

Hop had a strong debut last weekend, and it should hold up very well this weekend as it is still the choice for kids, and the Easter theme of the film should provide for solid business until the holiday passes. I’m predicting that Hop will drop 37%, giving the film a gross of $23.7 million and a 1st place finish.

Source Code is hoping that strong reviews and great word of mouth will keep it alive at the box office this weekend, and I think it will buck the trend of sci-fi films posting large second weekend declines. I’m predicting that Source Code will drop 44% giving the film a gross of $8.3 million and a 4th place finish.

In limited release the following films are being released: American: The Bill Hicks Story, Blank City, Born to Be Wild, Ceremony, Henry’s Crime, Meek’s Cutoff, Meet Monica Velour, No Eres Tu Soy Yo, Thank You and To Die Like A Man. American: The Bill Hicks Story, which is a documentary on the life of comedian Bill Hicks, Meek’s Cutoff starring Michelle Williams and Bruce Greenwood, Born to be Wild, which is a documentary about animals being rescued from the wild, and Blank City starring Steve Buscemi all have ratings above 75% at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

Hop – $23.7 million
Arthur – $14 million
Your Highness – $13 million
Source Code – $8.3 million
Hanna – $8 million

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

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