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Friday, August 1, 2014



Weekend Predictions: Will New Releases Blow Up at the Box Office?

Pompeii poster

There are two wide releases debuting this week, Pompeii and 3 Days to Kill. Neither film were expected to be big hits and I originally predicted $35 million for both films. Now it seems low expectations have dropped even further. Neither film has a shot at first place, which should come as no surprise, but now it looks like the two films will be battling for fifth place. The LEGO Movie will remain supreme over the weekend and will not only crush the competition this week, but will crush the competition from last year as well. Last year the two new releases were Snitch and Dark Skies, but the box office was led by Identity Thief. There's a slim chance The LEGO Movie will earn more than those three films earned combined (roughly $35 million). Even on the low end, it will earn more than the top two films earned last year. 2014 will continue to dominate 2013 in the year-over-year comparison.

The LEGO Movie goes for the threepeat this weekend and unless something stunning happens, it will get there. It should pull in about $34 million over the next three days, lifting its total to $185 million after just three weeks of release. It is on pace to top $200 million next weekend, while $250 million is looking more and more likely.

There could be a tight race for second place. RoboCop has earned second place in the daily chart and has a pretty big lead over both The Monuments Men and About Last Night as of Tuesday. On the other hand, its reviews are only mixed and it has direct competition from the two new releases. A 60% drop-off isn't out of the question, which would leave the film battling for fifth place with just under $9 million. On the other hand, it might avoid a 50% drop-off giving the film a sophomore stint of $12 million or so. I think second place with $11 million is more likely.

About Last Night slipped to fourth place during the weekdays, which suggests its weekend number was really boosted by Valentine's Day. On the other hand, it earned strong reviews and the genre usually has decent legs, plus the two new releases don't share a big target audience, so it could bounce back over the weekend. I think it will land in third place with just under $11 million.

The Monuments Men could remain in fourth place with $9 million over the weekend pushing its running tally to just under $60 million after three weeks of release. It will match its production domestically, which suggests it will break even, eventually.

The bigger of the two wide releases is Pompeii, which reportedly cost between $80 million and $100 million to make. Unfortunately, its buzz is similar to I, Frankenstein or The Legend of Hercules, neither of which managed to hit $10 million during its opening weekend. It is possible that Pompeii will beat that trend, but it is unlikely. Its reviews are not a disaster, but at just 33% positive, they are weak enough that the early buzz won't change. Look for just under $9 million over the weekend and a close race for fifth place.

3 Days to Kill is the other wide release of the week and its reviews and buzz are similar to Pompeii's reviews and buzz. (Last minute update: I just checked the Tomatometer Score and it dropped to 20% positive. Any lower and it is officially a disaster.) If there is a silver lining, it reportedly cost $28 million to make, so an opening of just over $8 million isn't a complete bomb. It won't be enough to match its production budget domestically, so it will likely end up losing money, but it won't be a 100% loss.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-20

Movies 
 The LEGO Movie
 RoboCop
 About Last Night
 The Monuments Men
 Pompeii