Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of April 29th, 2011

Three new films open this weekend, and one of them will definitely be the new box office champion.  Two of the new releases are sequels and they are both hoping that fans of their series will come out to support their respective films while the other new release is just praying that people will show up to see it at all.  The new releases are:  Fast FiveHoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil and Prom.  Fast Five will be the #1 film at the box office without a doubt in my mind this weekend.  The real question will be how much does it gross?  Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:

Fast Five debuts in theatres this weekend, trying to jump start the summer box office this season.  The selling point of this instalment is the stars from every previous film in the franchise make an appearance in the film.  Their goal is to pull another heist, this time in Rio de Janeiro.  What stands in their way is a tough Federal Agent, played by Dwayne Johnson, who always gets his man.  The Fast and the Furious franchise has been a profitable one.  I made a mistake in my prediction with the 4th installment, as I said the franchise was dead and the film would bomb.  How wrong I was.  Here is how the franchise has done on its opening weekend:
2001 – The Fast and the Furious – $40 million opening weekend
2003 – 2 Fast 2 Furious – $50.4 million opening weekend
2006 – The Fast and the Furious:  Tokyo Drift – $23.9 million opening weekend
2009 – Fast and Furious – $70.9 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $46.3 million
Fast Five is receiving excellent word-of-mouth and great reviews.  Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 80% positive as of this writing, and although I don’t think the critics are going to make or break this film on its opening weekend, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have good reviews.  The film is being released in 3,643 theatres, which is by far and away the biggest theatre count of any of the new films being released this weekend.  I’m not going to make the mistake that I did in 2009, and I think all the positives surrounding the film will lead to the franchise’s best opening weekend ever.  I’m predicting that Fast Five will finish in 1st place with a gross of $77 million.

Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil is the sequel to the 2005 animated film that follows the adventures of Little Red Riding Hood.  This time out, Red is being trained as apart of a covert group known as the “Sisters of the Hood”.  When the group finds out that a witch has kidnapped two children named Hansel and Gretel, it’s up to the Red and the gang to put their skills into action and save the day. Hoodwinked Too!:  Hood vs. Evil has a lot going against it, especially because it has been six years between films.  The fact that the first one was only a moderate hit makes me wonder if a sequel was really necessary.  To be fair, legal wrangling has held up the release of the film for years, so the fact that it is seeing the light of day can be considered a victory.  The first Hoodwinked only grossed $12.4 million on its opening weekend in 2005, and even though the sequel is being released in 3-D, I don’t think it will do as well as the first film.  Rotten Tomatoes lists the film at 8% positive as of this writing, which is not going to help the film’s cause.  I don’t think the reviews will make much of a difference anyways as I don’t think that there is a ton of interest in this film.  Opening in 2,505 theatres, I’m predicting that Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil will gross $9 million and finish in 5th place.

The final major new release of the weekend is the comedy Prom.  The film is being released by Disney and follows a group of teenagers as they prepare for the biggest night of their lives.  What’s interesting about this film is that it is an original film, and is not based on a Disney TV series, so there is no pre-existing tie-in to help generate revenue.  The film is getting promoted on a lot of teenager shows, and the timing of the film is great as prom season is starting, but I just don’t see audiences being all that interested in the film.  Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 50% positive as of this writing, but I don’t think the critical reviews will make much of a difference on this film as teenagers don’t really listen to what critics have to say.  Debuting in 2,730 theatres, I’m predicting that Prom will gross $7 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 was able to hold off a couple of strong contenders to stay box office champion for a second weekend in a row, but its reign will come to an end this weekend.  Rio posted a strong hold last weekend, but part of that is due to the fact that it was a long weekend last weekend.  I would expect a larger drop off this weekend and therefore I’m predicting that Rio will drop 41%, giving the film a gross of $15.5 million and a 2nd place finish.
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family had a strong debut last weekend, but unfortunately for Tyler Perry films his second weekends are almost as predictable as his opening weekends.  While the opening weekends for his films are usually around $25 million, the percentage drop off for those same films on their second weekends is usually around 55%-60%.  Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family should continue that trend as I’m predicting a drop of 59% for the film this weekend, which will give Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family a gross of $10.25 million and a 3rd place finish.
Water for Elephants had a decent debut on its opening weekend, and because I had a fair bit of success with my prediction from last weekend, I’m going to continue to use The Time Traveler’s Wife as my template to help my prediction for Water for Elephants.  The Time Traveler’s Wife had a second weekend drop of 47.7% back in 2009, so I’m making a similar prediction for Water for Elephants.  I’m predicting that the Reese Witherspoon // Robert Pattinson circus romance will drop 45% this weekend giving Water for Elephants a gross of $9.24 million and 4th place finish.
In limited release the following films are opening:  13 Assassins, The Arbor, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Dylan Dog:  Dead of NightExporting Raymond and Lebanon, Pa. 
13 Assassins, The Arbor, Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Lebanon, Pa. all have ratings above 80% at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
  1. Fast Five – $77 million 
  2. Rio – $15.5 million
  3. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family – $10.25 million 
  4. Water for Elephants – $9.24 million
  5. Hoodwinked Too!:  Hood vs. Evil – $9 million 
Think you can do better than me in making predictions?  Go to http://www.boxofficemojo.com 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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