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Monday, July 28, 2014



Weekend Predictions: Will Transcendence Rise Above the Competition?

Transcendence poster

It's a busy weekend with four wide releases opening this week, but only one of them, Transcendence, has a real shot at opening in first place, but its reviews will likely prevent that. Heaven is for Real is aiming for a midlevel hit, to match its midlevel reviews. A Haunted House 2 hopes to match its predecessor, but it is unlikely to get there. Finally there's Bears, which has the best reviews, but the weakest box office potential. Despite the number of new releases, top spot will likely be a battle between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2. Family films tend to have better legs, so that could give Rio 2 the edge, but movies also tend to drop the most during their sophomore weekend. (That is unless their theater count collapses shortly afterward.) Last year, Oblivion opened with $37.05 million, which is a figure no film will match this year. On the other hand, 42 was the only other film to earn more than $10 million last weekend. 2014 will lose on the top of the chart, but it also has better depth than 2013 did, so that should help it come out on top in the end.

Rio 2 only earned mixed reviews, but it is a family-friendly film, so that should help this weekend. It does have direct competition, but its direct competition is the weakest of the four new releases this weekend. I think it will avoid falling 50% during the weekend; in fact, it could avoid falling 40%, which would give it first place with just over $24 million over the weekend. I think that's a little to optimistic, but first place with $22 million is a safer bet.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier will likely have the best reviews in the top ten this weekend, but it also has the strongest direct competition to deal with. It does have a shot at earning first place with $24 million, but second place with $21 million is more likely. It will leave the film with $196 million after just three weeks of release.

At the beginning of the month, I thought Transcendence would be a sizeable hit. However, I also thought it would be a good movie. It is not. In fact, it's reviews are at just 17% positive, which is better than they were earlier in the day, but still abysmal. The buzz is also quieter than expected and there is a chance the film will bomb earning fourth place with $15 million or so. It could also surprise earning first place, but that seems very unlikely now. I'm going with third place and $18 million. That's not enough, especially if reports are true and it cost $100 million to make.

Next up is Heaven is for Real. The film opened in first place on Wednesday with $3.70 million, just above Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It will likely fall to third place on Thursday, on the other hand. The reviews are only mixed and while Easter could boost the film's box office numbers, there is still a lot of direct competition at the box office. There's a chance it could grab third place if Transcendence fails to meet lowered expectations, but fourth place and $17 million over the weekend is still good.

A Haunted House 2 is a follow-up to last year's A Haunted House. That film was a surprise January hit opening with $18.10 million and finishing with $40 million on a $2.5 million budget. This film likely won't match that figure for a couple of reasons. Firstly, while it has a better release date, it also has more competition. Secondly, the original movie's reviews were awful, so a lot of people who saw it won't want more of the same. Finally, this film's reviews might be worse. Granted, there are only three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, but they are all negative. Not only are they negative, they are aggressively negative. (Two of the three critics give the film half a star.) Maybe it will match its predecessor, but $13 million seems more likely at this point.

Finally there's Bears, the latest from DisneyNature. Like most previous films from this label, its reviews are excellent, but its box office chances are not. Documentaries are so rarely box office hits that most of them can only dream of $1 million. Even those that open wide struggle to become midlevel hits. Given the reviews, I think this will perform better than African Cats, but not quite as good as Chimpanzee. It very likely won't reach the top five during its opening, but $8 million over three days is still a fine start.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-04-17

Movies 
 Rio 2
 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
 Transcendence
 Heaven is for Real
 A Haunted House 2
 Bears