January 15th, 2013
It is a rather shallow week on the home market. Taken 2 should come away with an easy win, but after that, there's almost nothing that will reach the top 30 for the week. Also, Taken 2 is not Pick of the Week material. I don't know if there is anything that is truly Pick of the Week material. Wake in Fright comes the closest, but the DVD or Blu-ray is still late, I hate giving this title when I'm still waiting for the screener.
October 8th, 2012
Taken 2 took the competition and went to work on them. It opened much, much better than its predecessor did, doubling its opening weekend haul. It also made nearly twice as much as Hotel Transylvania and easily more than last year's number one film, Real Steel. This helped the overall box office grow by 20% from last weekend to $142 million, which is nearly 50% higher than the same weekend last year. Finally there's a reason to celebrate the box office again. One win could have been a fluke, but two is officially a streak. Year-to-date, 2012 is ahead of 2011 by 3.2% at $8.24 billion to $7.99 billion. Granted, that's off its peak from earlier in the year, but I'm happy the bleeding has stopped.
October 1st, 2012
September ended on a record-breaking note as Hotel Transylvania finally bumped Sweet Home Alabama out of top spot on the September weekend list. That record lasted a full decade, which is amazing given the total ticket price inflation since 2002. Not only did Hotel Transylvania crush predictions, Looper also did a little bit better than predicted, a tiny bit better than predicted. This is true of just about every film in the top ten, and every little bit helps. Overall, the weekend box office surged 30% from last weekend to $118 million, which was 19% higher than the same weekend last year. Let's hope this is more than a momentary blip and the beginning of a new winning streak.
September 30th, 2012
Hotel Transylvania will set a new September weekend record by a big margin this weekend, according to Sony's estimate released on Sunday morning. The film's expected $43 million debut is more than 20% bigger than Sweet Home Alabama's opening exactly ten years ago, although a 38% increase in ticket price in the last decade means it's a bit more of a marketing record than a real one. Still, $43 million is a very useful boost to the industry, which has been in the doldrums in September. In fact, this will be the first weekend of the month to record a win on the 2011 year-on-year comparison. Also helping is a great opening weekend for Looper, which will itself end up in the top 30 September weekends, with Sony projecting $21.2 million right now. All-in-all, it's a great weekend for the studio.
September 27th, 2012
There are two wide releases coming out this week that should be in a relatively close race for first place, plus an also-ran that will mostly be forgotten. Last week I thought Looper would win the weekend over Hotel Transylvania; however, that's probably not going to happen. Looper is definitely the better movie, but Hotel Transylvania is opening in more theaters than expected, while Looper is opening in less than expected. Both should do decent business, at least compared to the rest of September's new releases. On the other hand, Won't Back Down will likely struggle just to reach the top five. There's one more new release with a shot at a spot in the top ten, Pitch Perfect. It's opening in more than 300 theaters, which is a risky proposition. If it does open in the top ten, it could expand wide next weekend. I don't think it is very likely, but I'll have more to say with the limited release report. Last year there were four wide releases, but none of them cracked $10 million. The number one film was Dolphin Tale at just under $13 million. If we don't top that this year, we are in a world of trouble.
September 21st, 2012
The final weekend of September features three wide releases: Hotel Transylvania, Looper, and Won't Back Down. When it comes to the target film, I think we can dismiss Won't Back Down, as it is opening in the fewest theaters and has the least amount of buzz. Hotel Transylvania is opening in the most theaters, but early reviews are only mixed and the buzz isn't much louder than Frankenweenie, despite opening a week earlier. Looper is earning near perfect reviews so far and it has a lot of buzz, but it has a lot of internet buzz, which often fails to translate into ticket sales. I really, really, really want Looper to be a hit, but I'm afraid that is clouding my judgment. Even so, I think it will be the number one film next Friday and will just have enough to stay ahead of Hotel Transylvania. As such, I'm making it 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 Looper.
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 Glee: Season Three on Blu-ray.
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 In Time on Blu-ray. (It's the closest thing I had to a Time Travel film I had in the prize pool.)
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
September 1st, 2012
August is over and let's just be glad we never have to talk about that month again. It is too early to tell how a couple of the wide releases from the month will do, but of the other fourteen we have solid numbers for, none of them were a pleasant surprise. There were a few that were mildly disappointing, but likely still profitable. There were also a few that were "What were they thinking?" level of box office bomb. This September, there about a dozen films opening wide, depending on your definition of wide. (Plus, For A Good Time, Call might expand wide on the 14th, while The Master is opening in limited release on the 14th, but might expand wide before the end of the month. "Might" is the key here. I don't think either will get it done.) None of the dozen films are likely to get to $100 million. In fact, there's a good chance no film opening this month will get to $75 million in total. The biggest film of the month could be Finding Nemo, which is getting a 3D Re-release. As long as the movie going public hasn't tired of 3D re-releases, it should be a hit, but there are signs that the trend might be ending soon. There are a few others that should become midlevel hits, but most will struggle to find an audience. Last September was not terrible with one $100 million film and a few other midlevel hits. For 2012 to come out ahead, it will have to rely on depth, and I'm more than a little worried in that regard.