Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of June 17th, 2011

Two films going after two different audiences open this weekend and look to dethrone Super 8 from the top of the box office. The first film appealing to male audiences and comic book fans is Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds. The second film is targeting family audiences and that is Mr. Popper’s Penguins, starring Jim Carrey. It’s safe to say that Green Lantern should top the box office, but we’ll see how it does compared to other comic-book inspired films. Will it open better than Thor? Here’s how I predict the weekend will go down:

Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds and is directed by Martin Campbell (who directed Casino Royale). The film is based on the comic-book and follows Reynolds character – Hal Jordan – as he becomes the first human ever to be selected to join the Green Lantern Corps, whose job is to keep peace throughout the universe. The film is hoping to do well, as DC Comics would like to see some of the success that Marvel’s comic films have had spill over to their side. I consider Green Lantern to be a “B” comic book character, as he is not as well known as Batman, Spider-Man or Superman, but films that have superheroes in them tend to do well at the box office. See below:

2005 – Fantastic Four – $56 million opening weekend
2006 – Superman Returns – $52.5 million opening weekend
2007 – Ghost Rider – $45.3 million opening weekend
2007 – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – $58 million opening weekend
2008 – Hancock – $62.6 million opening weekend
2011 – Thor – $65.7 million opening weekend
2011 – X-Men: First Class – $55.1 million weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $56.4 million
Average Opening Weekend of Thor and X-Men: First Class – $60.4 million

I think that Green Lantern will finish around the averages listed above. The only thing that is making me waver on that is the reviews, which have been terrible. Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 22% positive as of this writing, and that will definitely play a role on how the film does this weekend, as again, Green Lantern is not an “A” list superhero. The film is getting a massive launch in 3,816 theatres and should have a great opening weekend thanks to the strong marketing campaign. I’m predicting an opening weekend gross of $57 million for Green Lantern, giving it a 1st place finish.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins stars Jim Carrey and it is a film that will be targeting family audiences this weekend. The plot follows Carrey’s character, who is a businessman whose life gets turned upside down when he inherits six penguins to live in his apartment. Comic misadventures follow. The film is based on the classic book and that will definitely appeal to families. The “X” factor of the film is Carrey, whose last live-action family film (and truth be told, it wasn’t really a family film) was Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events back in 2004. His last major studio live-action film was 2008’s Yes Man which didn’t have a spectacular run at the box office. Here’s how both of those films did on their opening weekend:
2004 – Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – $30 million opening weekend
2008 – Yes Man – $18.2 million opening weekend

Average Opening Weekend – $24.1 million

I think the film should gross just a little below that average, because I don’t think the Jim Carrey brand is as strong as it once was (and I’m a Jim Carrey fan, so it does hurt me to say that). Reviews are mixed, as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 46% positive as of this writing, but I don’t think it should hurt it too much this weekend, as families are intrigued by the penguins, I’m sure. In future weeks, reviews and word-of-mouth will be a big factor for the film. Opening in 3,338 theatres, I’m predicting that Mr. Popper’s Penguins will gross $21 million and finish in 2nd place.

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

Super 8 had a decent debut last weekend considering there were no stars and the film was being sold on J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s name and a marketing campaign that revealed very little about the plot. Now we are into the second weekend, and the people who were curious about the film have already seen it and now Super 8 has to position itself as entertainment for all audiences. The strong reviews will help it, but it faces strong competition this weekend against Green Lantern. I think Green Lantern is going to hurt the film a fair bit this weekend, as I’m predicting a drop of 52%, which will give Super 8 a gross of $16.9 million and a 3rd place finish.

X-Men: First Class had a high drop-off last weekend, but I think the film will suffer a slightly smaller drop-off this weekend, even though another comic book film opens this weekend and will be stealing some of it’s audience. I’m predicting a drop of 54%, which will give X-Men: First Class a gross of $11 million and a 4th place finish.

Kung Fu Panda 2 will lose some of its audience this weekend to Mr. Popper’s Penguins but I still think it should post a decent hold. This will be the last decent weekend for the film, as next weekend Cars 2 will open and wipe Kung Fu Panda 2 to the lower tiers of the box office. I’m predicting that Kung Fu Panda 2 will drop 36% giving the film a gross of $10.5 million and a 5th place finish.
In limited release the following films are opening: The Art of Getting By, Buck, Jig and Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times.
Buck and Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times have ratings above 75% positive at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

Green Lantern – $57 million
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $21 million
Super 8 – $16.9 million
X-Men: First Class – $11 million
Kung Fu Panda 2 – $10.5 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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