The final weekend in March is a busy one with two wide releases, possibly two wide expansions, and a semi-wide release that could reach the top ten. Noah is the wider of the two wide releases and should have little trouble earning first place over the weekend. On the other hand, there is a chance Sabotage won't reach the top five. Both Bad Words and The Grand Budapest Hotel are expanding wide, or widish. The Grand Budapest Hotel should pop into the top five, but not everyone thinks Bad Words will reach the top ten. Finally, Cesar Chavez is opening in more than 600 theaters and there is a chance it will reach the top ten. This weekend last year was led by G.I. Joe: Retaliation with just over $40 million. Noah could get there, but even if it does, I don't think the other films will hold their end of the bargain and 2014 will finally lose in the year-over-year comparison.
Noah is the latest film by Darren Aronofsky. The director has an amazing track record with critics and only one film he's directed didn't earn overwhelmingly positive reviews, The Fountain. He is also coming off his biggest box office hit, Black Swan, which made $330 million worldwide on a $13 million budget. Noah could earn the same amount worldwide. Its buzz isn't great, but the reviews are the very strong for a wide release. Then again, given its production budget, even earning over $300 million worldwide would be a disappointment. I'm going with a $37 million opening and a final figure of about $100 million.
Divergent didn't win over the majority of critics, but it did open in first place with close to $55 million. This weekend it looks to avoid a serious drop-off. On the low end, it could fall more than 60%, leaving the film with just over $20 million. On the high end, it could earn just over $25 million during its sophomore stint. The low end seems more likely. Look for $22 million over the weekend while it should be at $100 million by this time next week.
Muppets Most Wanted failed to match expectations last weekend, but if it holds on well this weekend, it could still do well enough to break even, eventually. Excellent reviews should help, plus it has no direct competition this weekend. I think it will earn third place with just over $10 million; however, it could be a close race.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is expanding to 800 theaters, which isn't quite enough to be considered truly wide, but it should be enough to land in the top five with just under $10 million. If it does just a little bit better than expected, or Muppets Most Wanted slips a little bit faster than expected, it should reach third place.
Sabotage is the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger. There was a time when that would be enough to guarantee box office success. However, since Arnold Schwarzenegger left politics, his box office numbers have been really weak. I doubt this film will change that. It's reviews certainly won't help. On the high end, it could top $10 million and earn third place. It could also earn less than $7 million and struggle to earn a spot in the top five. Fifth place and $8 million seems like the safest bet.
Cesar Chavez is a biopic of the union activist, who helped the cause of farm workers, among other causes. Its reviews are not good with the term Hagiography thrown around by more than a few critics. It is opening in 664 theaters and would need a per theater average of about $5,000 to reach the top ten. That's doable. In fact, it looks to be on track to earn $4 million over the weekend.
Finally there's Bad Words, which is expanding to about 600 theaters. Its reviews are good, but not amazing, while it only managed a per theater average of $5,805 while playing in 87 theaters last weekend. Given that, it will likely fail to make the top ten with $2 million to $3 million. If it did make the top ten, it wouldn't be a total shock.
Date posted: 2014-03-27