March begins with two wide releases, although there's no real suspense which one will lead the way at the box office. Doctor Seuss' The Lorax should have no trouble earning first place. The real question is whether or not it will top Rango, which opened with $38 million last year. Not everyone is convinced it will. The only other wide release is Project X, which has a range of expectations going from the low teens to the mid-twenties. If both films land in the high end of expectations, then 2012 should continue its winning streak, as this year has slightly better depth than last year.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax hopes to build on the early success of two different firsts. The Lorax is just the second digitally animated film released by Universal and the first such film, Despicable Me, was a big hit. It is also only the second digitally animated film based on a Dr. Seuss book. The first was Horton Hears a Who, which was also a hit, but not as large as Despicable Me was. Unfortunately, this film's reviews have softened and are now barely above the overall positive level. This is good enough that it likely won't hurt its opening too much, while there's no direct competition till The Pirates! Band of Misfits comes out at the end of April. Look for an opening of $42 million and an easy first place win.
The only other new wide release is Project X, a not quite found footage release. Found footage implies the person who shot the footage is no longer around, which is why it was "found". In this movie, the footage is shot by characters in the film and I assume they survive till the end. It's a teenage sex comedy and not a teenage slasher, after all. The film's reviews have sunk to just 26% positive, which is weak enough that even the target audience might avoid the film once the word-of-mouth gets out. Additionally, not only are the reviews overwhelmingly negative, they are often aggressively negative. This is not a movie that will appeal outside of its target demographic, unfortunately, the target demographic isn't technically allowed to see R-rated movies, and this could result in the film bombing completely. There is a chance this film could open with more than $22 million over the weekend, but $18 million is more likely.
Last week's winner, Act of Valor, could take a pretty big hit at the box office this weekend. Its reviews were pretty bad and midweek numbers are not giving me a lot of confidence. A 50% drop-off is likely and that would leave it with $12 million over the weekend giving it a total of $43 million overall.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island should grab fourth place with just over $7 million. It does have to deal with direct competition from The Lorax, but it has done well to hold onto its audience thus far. Just over $7 million over the weekend would give it $86 million after four, keeping it on pace to reach $100 million.
Tyler Perry's Good Deeds will likely collapse, as most films by the director see sharp declines after the opening weekend. A 60% decline is not out of the question, which would leave it with just over $6 million over the weekend lifting its total to $25 million. It is barely keeping pace with Daddy's Little Girls and it might struggle to break even. It only cost $14 million to make, but with prints and advertising, and very limited box office potential internationally, it will need to do well on the home market to show a profit.
While Safe House will be knocked out of the top five this weekend, it did reach $100 million on Wednesday, becoming the second film released in 2012 to do so.
Date posted: 2012-03-02