Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of April 22nd, 2011

Two new films open on Friday with the hopes of dethroning Rio from the top of the box office this weekend.  First is the comedy Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family while the other is the romance Water for Elephants which is based on the very popular book.  Disney Nature continues their trend of releasing a documentary on Earth Day with the release ofAfrican Cats yesterday, but that will not be in the battle for first place.  African Cats should make the top ten, but I would be shocked if it made the top five.  Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family is the latest film that follows the trials and tribulations of Tyler Perry’s most famous character – Madea.  In this film, Madea’s niece has received bad news and wants her daughters to come join her so she can tell the news to everyone together at once.  Unfortunately, the daughters are selfish and too wrapped up with their own problems to care, so Madea swings into action to get the family to unite so they can hear the news together.  Tyler Perry films have a very loyal following.  Here’s a look at some of his films and how they did on their opening weekend (please notice the theatre counts for all the films and how low they are):
2005 – Diary of a Mad Black Woman – $21.9 million opening weekend // 1,483 theatres
2006 – Madea’s Family Reunion – $30 million opening weekend // 2,194 theatres
2007 – Daddy’s Little Girls – $11.2 million opening weekend // 2,111 theatres
2007 – Why Did I Get Married? – $21.3 million opening weekend // 2,011 theatres
2008 – Meet The Browns – $20 million opening weekend // 2,006 theatres
2008 – The Family That Preys – $17.3 million opening weekend // 2,070 theatres
2009 – Madea Goes To Jail – $41 million opening weekend // 2,032 theatres
2009 – I Can Do Bad All By Myself – $23.4 million opening weekend // 2,255 theatres
2010 – Why Did I Get Married Too? – $29.2 million opening weekend // 2,155 theatres
2011 – For Colored Girls – $19.4 million // 2,127 theatres
Average Opening Weekend – $23.47 million opening weekend
Average Theatre Count – 2,044.4
It’s hard to argue with the consistency of those numbers.  Also worth noting is that films that have Madea in the title do a lot better than any other Tyler Perry film, so while the average of the films listed above is around $23.5 million, I would predict an opening around $30 million.  Rotten Tomatoes does not have a rating for the film as of this writing, but I don’t think it will make much of a difference as Tyler Perry films do well, regardless of the reviews.  Opening in 2,288 theatres, I’m predicting that Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family will gross $32 million and finish in 1st place.

Water for Elephants stars Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz and is about a young man in college who runs away from university after the death of his parents and joins a travelling circus.  While in the circus, he falls in love with one of the performers, but has to hide his love from her husband, who is extremely protective of her.  The star power is strong, but Pattinson and Witherspoon don’t usually perform that well at the box office when they star in dramas.  See below:
1998 – Pleasantville – $8.8 million opening weekend
1999 – Cruel Intentions – $13 million opening weekend
2005 – Just Like Heaven – $16.4 million opening weekend
2005 – Walk the Line – $22.3 million opening weekend
2007 – Rendition – $4 million opening weekend
2010 – Remember Me – $8 million opening weekend
2010 – How Do You Know – $7.4 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $11.4 million
It might be a stretch to call Just Like Heaven a drama, but for arguments sake, we’ll say it is.  Although Witherspoon and Pattinson are not draws in dramas, I think Water for Elephants will perform well for both of them because of the fact that the source material is popular.  If I had a film to compare it to, it would actually be The Time Traveler’s Wife which had an $18.6 million opening weekend back in 2009, and itself was based on a popular book.  I think Water for Elephants will open right around that mark.  Critics will have an impact on this film and right now Rotten Tomatoes has Water for Elephants listed at 45% positive as of this writing, which I think will hurt the film in the long run.  Opening in 2,817 theatres, I’m predicting that Water for Elephants grosses $18.5 million and finishes in 3rd place.

African Cats is the latest release from Disney Nature and it follows three animal families and how they survive the wilds of Africa.  The families that are followed are a lion cub that is learning to grow up and survive in the wild, a cheetah raising five baby cheetahs and a lion that is fighting a banished member of the tribe.  These Disney Nature films definitely have there niche audience and do all right at the box office.  Here is how the previous two installments have done at the box office:
2009 – Earth – $8.8 million opening weekend // 1,804 theatres // 5th place finish
2010 – Oceans – $6 million opening weekend // 1,206 theatres // 8th place finish
Average Opening Weekend = $7.4 million
I think African Cats will open around where Oceans grossed as the theatre count is around the same, and because the film is the third in what is becoming a yearly tradition.   For Disney Nature, I would be worried that the trend of releasing the Earth themed documentaries is becoming a little stale, and because of that I think that African Cats will gross just a little less than what Oceans did last year.  Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 68% positive, but that should not make a difference in its total box office.  Opening in 1,220 theatres, I’m predicting that African Cats will gross $5.5 million and finish in 6th place.
Among last weekends holdovers that will still be in the top five this weekend, here are my predictions:
Rio had a strong opening weekend and it should post a decent hold this weekend because of the long weekend as families will come out a little heavier this weekend than normal.  Here’s how the films I used last weekend when I made my prediction for Rio did on their second weekend:
2002 – Ice Age – 35.1% second weekend drop
2005 – Robots – 41.7% second weekend drop
2006 – Ice Age:  The Meltdown – 50.3% second weekend drop
2008 – Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who – 45.4% second weekend drop
2009 – Ice Age:  Dawn of the Dinosaurs – 33.8% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 41.26%
As I said above, because of the Easter long weekend, I think the drop will be a lower than normal, so that will definitely help Rio.  Dropping 35% from last weekend, I’m predicting that Rio will gross $25.5 million and finish in 2nd place.
Hop should post a decent hold because of the Easter long weekend.  In fact, I would expect Hop to have the lowest decline of any film in the top ten because of this fact.  Dropping 22% from last weekend, I’m predicting that Hop will gross $8.3 million and finish in 4thplace.
Scream 4 had a disappointing opening weekend last weekend and the bad news is that it doesn’t look like things are going to get better this weekend.  Here is how the three previous films in the series did on their second weekend:
1996 – Scream – 42.8% second weekend increase
1997 – Scream 2 – 57.7% second weekend drop
2000 – Scream 3 – 53% second weekend drop
Average Second Weekend Drop – 22.63% drop
Average Second Weekend Drop for Scream 2 and Scream 3 – 55.35% drop
The first film posted an increase in its second weekend mainly because it was released around Christmas time.  I honestly think that Scream 4 will set a new high for the series when it comes to a second weekend drop.  I’m predicting that Scream 4 will drop 60% from last weekend, giving the film a gross of $7.4 million and a 5th place finish.
In limited release the following films are opening:  Deep Gold, Dum Maaro Dum, Incendies, The Legend of the Fist:  The Return of Chen Zhen, POM Wonderful Presents:  The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Stake Land, The Warring States and Zokkomon. 
Incendies and Stake Land both have ratings above 80% at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
  1. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family – $32 million 
  2. Rio – $25.5 million
  3. Water for Elephants – $18.5 million
  4. Hop – $8.3 million
  5. Scream 4 – $7.4 million 
Think you can do better than me in making predictions?  Go to and sign up for “The Box Office Derby”.  Make your predictions and see if you can beat the man with the I.D. “ScottyG”.
Remember to check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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