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

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two looks to be the number one film for a second weekend in a row, but to do that it will have to hold off Captain America: The First Avenger, which is arguably the most anticipated comic-book movie of the summer.  Another film gets released into theatres as counter-programming and that is the Justin Timberlake//Mila Kunis comedy Friends with Benefits.  It’s going to be quite the battle for first place and it will be interesting to see how big (or small) the percentage drop for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two will be.  Here’s how I see the weekend breaking down:
Captain America: The First Avenger launches into theatres and is looking to stop the downward box office grosses that superhero films have had lately, especially this summer.  Thor was the first superhero film to open this summer and had the best opening weekend in the genre and we thought all was well with the world.  Then X-Men: First Class opened and the results were a little disappointing, considering that the film was part of a well established franchise.  Lastly, we had Green Lantern open and the negative reviews hurt the box office of the film and it had the lowest opening weekend of the three superhero films this summer.  Captain America: The First Avenger will stop that trend from continuing and I’m predicting it will have the highest opening weekend for a superhero movie this summer.  Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans as wimpy Steve Rogers who is injected with a serum that makes him the ultimate super soldier.  His first mission is to stop the HYDRA organization and defeat its leader, who is known as The Red Skull.  The marketing has been strong and Captain America is an “A” list superhero, which should appeal to all audiences.  All signs point towards Captain America: The First Avenger being a hit.  When I came up with my prediction, I took a look at the three superhero films that opened this summer and how they did.  The numbers are below:
Thor – $65.7 million opening weekend
X-Men:  First Class – $55.1 million opening weekend
Green Lantern – $53.1 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – 57.97 million
As I said earlier, Captain America: The First Avenger should gross more than Thor, but it has the big challenge of opening a week after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two which had the biggest opening weekend of all time, so it is hoping that Harry Potter has a massive drop off this weekend, just for a shot to be in first place.  I think Captain America: The First Avenger will need some help from the critics to get non-genre fans into the audience and as of this writing, Captain America: The First Avenger has a 73% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which is a good sign that people will come out to support the film.  Opening in 3,715 theatres, I’m predicting that Captain America: The First Avenger grosses $77 million and finishes in 1st place.

Friends with Benefits stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and the plot is summed up in the title.  Two friends decide to have sex and not let it interfere with their friendship, but as we all know in these types of movies, sex does interfere.  Friends with Benefits is similar to a film that was released earlier this year, and that film would be the Natalie Portman//Ashton Kutcher movie No Strings Attached.  It is also hoping to gain some traction and continue the strong trend of “R” rated comedies doing well at the box office this summer.  In coming up with my comparison, I took at the opening weekends of No Strings Attached and the three “R” rated comedies released this summer.  Here is how they did on their opening weekends: 
No Strings Attached – $19.6 million opening weekend
Bridesmaids – $26.2 million opening weekend
Bad Teacher – $31.6 million opening weekend
Horrible Bosses – $28.3 million opening weekend
Average Opening Weekend – $26.425
Unfortunately, I think that Timberlake and Kunis do not have enough star power to give the film a big opening weekend, but I do think it will have a respectable one.  It is also another “R” rated comedy, and audiences may be getting tired of that genre.  Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 60% positive as of this writing, which is not great, but not awful either.  It will be interesting to see how the film performs in the weeks ahead and if it gets strong word-of-mouth reviews.  Opening in 2,926 theatres, I’m predicting that Friends with Benefits will gross $17 million and finish in 3rd place.
Among last weekends holdovers that will still be in the top five this weekend, here are my predictions:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two set the record for biggest opening weekend of all-time last weekend, but now it has to worry about how well it will do on its second weekend of release.  The fear with sequels is that there is larger up front demand, which leads to a big opening weekend box office, but the audience has been satisfied on the opening weekend and that leads to massive drop-offs on its second weekend.  The Harry Potter franchise has done a great job of having decent holds on its second weekend, so here’s a look at how every film in the franchise has done on week two:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – $57.4 million / Down 36.3%
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – $42.2 million / Down 52.2%
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – $34.9 million / Down 62.7%
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – $54.7 million / Down 46.7%
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – $32.5 million / Down 57.8%
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $29.4 million / Down 62.1%

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One – $49 million / Down 60.7%
Average Second Weekend Gross – $42.87 million
Average Second Weekend Percentage Drop – 54%
The previous record holder for largest opening weekend – The Dark Knight – had a 52.5% second weekend drop off, so there is hope that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two can post a decent hold, but I think that despite the glowing reviews and excellent word-of-mouth, it will post the largest second weekend drop off in franchise history.  I’m predicting that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two will drop 63%, giving the film a gross of $62.6 million and a 2nd place finish.
Horrible Bosses will have some competition with Friends with Benefits this weekend, but nothing that should hurt its box office gross too much.  I’m predicting that Horrible Bosses drops 37% giving the film a gross of $11.1 million and a 4th place finish.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be the blockbuster that suffers the most this weekend as it just will not be the first choice for theatergoers when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two and Captain America: The First Avenger are in theatres.  I’m predicting a drop of 61% this weekend, giving Transformers: Dark of the Moon a gross of $8.3 million and a 5th place finish.
In limited release the following films are opening:  Another Earth; A Little Help; The Myth of An American Sleepover; Sarah’s Key and Singham. 
The Myth of An American Sleepover is the only film in limited release to have a percentage rating above 80% positive at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
1. Captain America:  The First Avenger – $77 million
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part Two – $62.6 million
3. Friends with Benefits – $17 million
4. Horrible Bosses – $11.1 million
5. Transformers:  Dark of the Moon – $8.3 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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