February 20th, 2013
This week's list is a little shorter than usual, because of technical difficulties. I've been getting an average of one Blue Screen of Death per day for just over a week. It seems to happen most often when I open too many tabs in Firefox. Worse still, two of the sites that seem to set off the BSOD are YouTube and Rotten Tomatoes. Fortunately I've narrowed the problem down to a driver conflict for either my video or perhaps a Windows system driver. Or it could be bad RAM. Or it could be a bad power supply. Or perhaps a virus or other malware. So when I said I had it narrowed down the problem, I was lying. I don't have time to take the computer to get it fixed, not until the Oscars are over, but I promise to get caught up by the weekend. It is quite a good week for new releases with a number of contenders for Pick of the Week. The two main contender are Argo on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Game of Thrones: Season Two on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack. While Argo is cleaning up during Awards Season, I've given Game of Thrones the edge here.
February 18th, 2013
Fun Size is a live action kids movie with a female star. These tend to struggle at the box office. This one was no exception. Despite opening right before Halloween and having a Halloween theme, the film bombed really hard. It opened well below the Mendoza Line and is one of the weakest openings for a saturation level release of all time. Is the film as bad as its box office performance? Or does it deserve to find a wider audience on the home market?
November 5th, 2012
Wreck-It-Ralph's opening was on the very high end of expectations, which was a pleasant surprise over the weekend. Also, Flight beat all but the most bullish predictions. Even The Man with the Iron Fists did a little better than expected. Overall, the box office soared 49% from last weekend to $138 million. It was also higher compared to this weekend last year by a very impressive 21%. November certainly got off to a great start. Year-to-date, 2012 is ahead of 2011's pace by just under 4.0% at $8.89 billion to $8.55 billion. After a couple weak months, the box office has shown great strength and it would take a disastrous collapse for 2012 to not come out ahead.
October 29th, 2012
It was a really bad weekend for new releases with none of the new films meeting expectations and two of them opening below the Mendoza Line. Argo climbed to top spot over the weekend. It used to be quite common for films to climb to the top of the chart, but the market has changed and opening weekends have become so important, so this feat is now very rare. Cloud Atlas was the best of the new releases, but "Best" here is a dubious title, as it barely grabbed second place. Silent Hill: Revolution 3D barely grabbed fifth place, while the less said about Fun Size and Chasing Mavericks the better. The overall box office collapsed by 28% compared to last week hitting just $93 million. It also fell compared to last year, the box office was down 11%, which is disappointing after a series of wins. However, last year Puss in Boots debuted and it was more of a November release opening a week early. Year-to-date, 2012 is still ahead of 2011 with the margin at $8.71 billion to $8.40 billion, or 3.8%. The goal going forward is to maintain this lead, while any growth would be more than welcome.
October 28th, 2012
A terrible weekend for new releases will leave Argo the weekend winner by default, according to studio estimates released on Sunday morning. The biggest disappointment of the weekend is Cloud Atlas, a pricey ($102 million, according to reports) sci-fi epic from Lana and Andy Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer, that will open with $9.4 million or so, and won't be helped by a C+ CinemaScore. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D confirms that it won't be the new Halloween franchise by opening with a projected $8m, but that looks positively healthy compared to the openings of Fun Size and Chasing Mavericks. With those films projected to open with $4.06 million and $2.2 million respectively, this pre-Halloween weekend looks like a bloodbath.
October 25th, 2012
There are four new films coming out in wide release this week and depending on who you ask, there are four films that have a shot at earning first place. Last Friday, I assumed Cloud Atlas would win, but its reviews have taken a major hit and it will likely finish below the overall positive level. This leaves an opening for Silent Hill: Revolution 3D, which is opening in the most theaters, but it has no reviews and direct competition. Argo has been leading the way on the daily chart and there's a chance it will climb into first place this weekend. There is also a chance that Paranormal Activity will retain first place, although it will have to avoid the predicted collapse. So which film will come out on top? I'm not sure. On the other hand, I'm fairly sure the other two wide releases will fail to find a substantial audience. Fun Size is opening in 2,800 theaters, but very few think it will do well. Even making the top five is likely out of the question. Meanwhile, Chasing Mavericks is opening in just over 2,000 theaters and it is another film that will likely miss the top five, maybe even the top ten. Compared to last year, 2012 is in trouble. Puss in Boots opened with just over $34 million and there's a small chance all four wide releases won't make that much combined this weekend. There's almost no chance 2012 will come out ahead, unless at least two of the new releases are much bigger than expected.
October 18th, 2012
Next week there are four films opening wide, but not really. Cloud Atlas is opening in less than 2000 theaters, while Chasing Mavericks is also in the same range. Fun Size's theater count estimate is 2800 theaters, but it is a live action kids movie with a female lead and these rarely do well. Silent Hill: Revolution could open in more than 3000 theaters, but its buzz is pretty weak. While Cloud Atlas could open in the fewest theaters, it still has the loudest buzz and reviews are amazing. I think it will be the biggest hit of the week and as such, it is the target film in this week's box office prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Cloud Atlas.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a copy of Degrassi: Season 11, Part 2 on DVD.
Meanwhile, whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a copy of Degrassi: Season 11, Part 2 on DVD.
And finally, one additional entrant will be chosen and they will win the final copy of a Degrassi: Season 11, Part 2 on DVD.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
October 1st, 2012
2012 continues its downward path. After a record-breaking spring, thanks to The Hunger Games, and a record-breaking start to the summer, thanks to The Avengers, the box office hasn't been able to maintain any real momentum. For most of the month, September was no better than August and now the year-over-year gains are just a little more than inflation. October will need to improve or 2012 will be in real trouble. Unfortunately, that might be tough. There's not a single film coming out in October that looks like it will be a guaranteed $100 million hit and there are only two films with a realistic chance, Taken 2 and Paranormal Activity 4. (There's also Cloud Atlas, which is a wild card. That movie could bomb or be the biggest hit of the month and I wouldn't be surprised either way.) There is a chance all three will get to the century mark, but there's a better chance none of them will. Last October, two films cracked $100 million: Paranormal Activity 3 and Puss in Boots, with the latter nearly reaching $150 million. I don't see any film coming close to matching that figure. On the other hand, last year there were six films that one could accurately describe as bombs. So while 2012 is weaker at the top, it could have better depth than 2011 did. Let's hope so, because we can't afford more bad news.