Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of July 1st, 2011

Three new films get released this weekend:  the action-adventure Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the romantic-comedy Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and the teenage mistaken identity comedy Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez.  We all know that Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be the box office champion this weekend, but how much will it gross and how will the other new releases perform?  Here’s how I predict the weekend will go down:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the big budget blockbuster that looks to continue the trend the previous two installments have established and that is to absolutely dominate the box office around the Canada Day weekend.  The plot involves the humans hiding from the Autobots the real reason there was a space race back in the day and the Autobots are none too pleased about the information not being shared.  Disaster faces the Earth when evil robots from the moon are awakened, so the Autobots and humans have to team up once again to save the world.  The Transformers franchise is a big performer and here is how the films in the series have done on their opening weekend:
Transformers – $70.5 million opening weekend
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – $108.9 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $89.7 million
That is an impressive number, but what is not impressive is the fact that Transformers: Dark of the Moon opened this past Wednesday to disappointing results (at least compared to the last film).  See below:
Transformers – $27.8 million opening day gross
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – $62 million opening day gross
Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $37.7 million opening day gross
The reason for the high drop off on the opening day gross between the second and third film is that audiences realized that the second film was not very good and were not as excited to see another installment.  Sure, the second film did well at the box office, but that doesn’t mean anything in terms of the quality of the film.  Even actor Shia LaBeouf has acknowledged the second film was crap and promised the third film will be better.  Critics don’t think the series has improved because Transformers: Dark of the Moon has a 37% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.  The film is getting an ultra-wide launch of 4,013 theatres, so that will help its numbers, but I don’t think it will have an opening weekend gross as high as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  I’m predicting that Transformers: Dark of the Moon will gross $82 million and finish in 1st place.

Larry Crowne stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (and is also directed by Tom Hanks) and is about a man (played by Hanks) who loses his job and has to start over, so he goes back to school.  While there, he begins to fall for his teacher (played by Roberts).  The plot does not stand out and the film is hoping that the star power of Hanks and Roberts will draw people into theatres, but Hanks and Roberts are not the big stars they were in the 1990’s anymore.  Here are some films from the past 10 years that they have starred in and how the films did on their opening weekends: 
2004 – The Terminal – $19 million opening weekend
2007 – Charlie Wilson’s War – $9.6 million opening weekend
2009 – Duplicity – $13.9 million opening weekend
2010 – Eat Pray Love – $23.1 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $16.4 million
Those opening weekend number surprised me, when I saw them, but the numbers don’t lie.  The critical reaction to Larry Crowne has also been disappointing, as Rotten Tomatoes has a 33% positive as of this writing.  What the film does have going for it is that it appeals to an older audience, which is a demographic that is not well represented in theatres right now.  Opening in 2,972 theatres, I’m predicting that Larry Crowne will open with a gross of $22 million and finish in 3rd place.

Monte Carlo is the final new release of the weekend and it stars Selena Gomez as a girl on a European trip who ends up resembling a famous European celebrity so her and her friends get caught up living the celebrity lifestyle (until the moment when everyone realizes what’s going on and the girl is not who she says she is).  The film sounds similar to the plot of The Lizzie McGuire Movie which opened with $17.3 million back in 2003.  That film had the benefit of a popular TV show and the Disney brand, and while Selena Gomez also has a popular show that is done by Disney, she is doing a film that is not based on her character from Wizards of Waverly Placeso the tie-in audience is not there.  Monte Carlo is being released by 20th Century Fox and not Disney, so that hurts the potential of the box office gross as Disney is better at marketing these types of films than Fox in my opinion.  Critics are giving the best reviews of the new releases to Monte Carlo with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 42% positive (which is still not very good) as of this writing, but teenage girls should come out and support the film, despite what the critics have to say.  I believe that Monte Carlo should gross less than the $17.3 million that The Lizzie McGuire Movie did.  Debuting in 2,472 theatres, I’m predicting that Monte Carlo will gross $12 million and finish in 5th place.
Cars 2 had a good, but not great debut last weekend (considering it is a sequel to one of the most marketable brands that Disney//Pixar has).  The original film dropped 43.9% on its second weekend, and sequels tend to have more people come out up front and suffer larger drops on the second weekend, so in theory Cars 2 should have a drop off on its second weekend that is higher than 43.9%.  I’m predicting that Cars 2 will drop 48%, giving the film a gross of $34.3 million and a 2nd place finish.
Bad Teacher had an excellent debut last weekend and with no new adult comedies being released this weekend (I don’t think Larry Crowne and Bad Teacher are going after the same audience, as I think Larry Crowne skews older), I think it should be able to post a strong hold.  I’m predicting that Bad Teacher will drop 43%, giving the film a gross of $18 million and a 4th place finish.
In limited release the following films are opening:  Delhi Belly, The Perfect Host and Terri. 
Delhi Belly and Terri both have ratings above 70% positive at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
  1. Transformers:  Dark of the Moon – $82 million
  2. Cars 2 – $34.3 million
  3. Larry Crowne – $22 million
  4. Bad Teacher – $18 million
  5. Monte Carlo – $12 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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