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Saturday, August 30, 2014



Weekend Predictions: Will the New Releases Die at the Box Office?

Maleficent poster

The weekend after a long weekend is never the best time of year to release a new movie, but at this point, summer vacation has begun for a lot of people, so both new releases should still have a lot of potential at the box office. Maleficent is the origin story for the villain from Sleeping Beauty. It should earn first place with ease. A Million Ways to Die in the West is the latest from Seth MacFarlane, but it is not earning as much praise as Ted did and its box office chances are not as strong as a result. The box office will certainly be lower than it was last weekend. However, we are more concerned with the comparison with last year. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases, Now You See Me and After Earth, but neither opened with more than $30 million. Granted, Fast and Furious 6 earned $35 million over the weekend, but that's still lower than usual for a number one film during summer weekend. The top three films this weekend should be better than the top three films last weekend, but I think 2014's depth will hurt it in the year-over-year comparison.

Maleficent tells the origin story about Maleficent, the villain from Sleeping Beauty. It stars Angelina Jolie and reportedly cost nearly $200 million to make. The studio is certainly hoping it will be a huge hit. The buzz isn't bad, but the reviews are mixed, at best. Most critics agree that the film looks great and that Angelina Jolie gives a fantastic performance; however, most also agree that the story isn't that engaging, while the supporting characters have little to add to the movie. On the low end, the film should top $50 million, while on the high end, it could come close to $70 million. I think the lower end is a little more likely and I'm going with $58 million. That's still a solid opening given the film's production budget and if it can perform well internationally, it will be enough to break even sometime during its home market run.

X-Men: Days of Future Past opened with just over $90 million last weekend, but if it is anything like the other monster hits this summer, it will plummet a lot this weekend. Granted, its reviews are great, which should help its legs. However, it is still a comic book movie and a sequel, and both the Fanboy Effect and Sequelitis will hurt its chances this weekend. Likewise, last weekend was a holiday long weekend, which inflated its Friday through Sunday numbers. If the film falls less than 60%, it will be seen as a victory, meaning $36 million is more or less what the film is aiming for. I think it will get there, but barely.

A Million Ways to Die in the West is Seth MacFarlane's look at the Wild West from the eyes of a modern individual. I had high hopes for the film, but the reviews are well below what I was expecting. As a result, I no longer think it will reach $100 million in total, although I'm not willing to completely dismiss that possibility either. On the high end, it could open with more than $30 million, but it could also struggle to earn $20 million over the weekend. I want to say the higher end it more likely, but I think $25 million is the safest bet.

Despite the holiday and despite earning good reviews, Godzilla collapsed during its second weekend. It won't fall as much this weekend, but it should still drop to $13 million over the weekend for a running tally of $173 million. It is still on pace to hit $200 million, but barely.

Neighbors and Blended will be in a battle for fifth place with between $6 million and $7 million. I think Neighbors has a slight edge over the weekend, while it clearly has an edge as far as its running tally goes. In fact, Blended is arguably the biggest box office disappointment for the month.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-05-29

Movies 
 Maleficent
 X-Men: Days of Future Past
 A Million Ways to Die in The West
 Godzilla
 Neighbors
 Blended