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Weekend Predictions: New Releases Need to be Hungry

March 22nd, 2013

This is one of those weekends where it is really hard to get excited about the box office. That's not to say there's nothing opening that isn't either earning good reviews or has a solid shot at the box office, there are. However, this weekend last year is the weekend The Hunger Games debuted. No film opening this weekend will compete with that. The entire box office this year won't make as much as that one film made last year. 2013 is going to be crushed in the year-over-year comparison and it could be more than a little depressing. As for this year, The Croods should walk away with the number one ranking and might even make more than twice as much as the number two film, which will probably be Olympus Has Fallen. The last new release of the week is Admission, but it might not make the top five. In fact, Spring Breakers is expanding to a little more than 1,000 theaters, but still has a better shot at the top five than Admission has.

The Croods is the latest digitally animated film from Dreamworks, but unlike most of their previous releases, this one is being distributed by Fox. The film is earning the best reviews of the three new releases this week, but at just 64% positive, they are only good, but not great. Most critics agree that it is not among the best of the genre, but it is entertaining for families, in a disposable way. The buzz is good for a family film and it should open with a solid $42 million over the weekend on its way to a $125 million total.

Olympus Has Fallen should be in quite the battle for second place with Oz the Great and Powerful. Its reviews are only mixed, but mixed is good enough for a film that is essentially "Big Explosion Theatre". (And yes, the British spelling there is intentional.) There are some big names in the film, but most of them have not been asked to lead a movie recently, or if they have, those films have struggled. For instance, Gerard Butler was in 300, which made more than $200 million domestically. On the other hand, in the past three months, he has been in three films that have opened wide, but made less than $30 million combined. There is a chance this film will open with more than that, which would allow it to fight for first place. There is also a chance it will struggle with less than $20 million earning third place in the process. $22 million is the most likely outcome.

After two weeks on top, Oz the Great and Powerful will likely fall to third place with just over $20 million. Direct competition will take its toll, but the studio should still be very happy with the numbers so far.

Here's where things get a little more confusing. There are three films battling for the final two spots in the top five and depending who you listen to, any one of them could place fourth and any one of them could end up on the outside. These three films are Admission, Spring Breakers, and The Call.

The Call opened better than expected last weekend and there's not a lot of direct competition opening this weekend, although Olympus Has Fallen will borrow a few moviegoers. The reviews and the genre suggest a 50% drop-off is probably as good as it gets, but there are some predicting it will earn just over $10 million over the weekend. That's too bullish for me, but just over $8 million is probably a safe bet.

Spring Breakers is expanding wide this weekend, or semi-wide, depending on your definition. Its reviews are the best out of the four new releases, although it is only "newish". After earning the best per theater average last weekend, it could turn that buzz into serious success this weekend. Just over $10 million isn't out of the question; however, there are some who think it won't make half of that. I'm a little more bullish than most, but I'm going with fifth place with $8 million.

Admission is the only true wide release of the week, which some think will give it the advantage over the competition. It also has some star power. On the other hand, it is also earning 39% positive reviews, which is the weakest of the new releases. Additionally, its buzz simply isn't there. Maybe it will compete for fourth place with just over $8 million, but sixth place with $7 million seems more likely.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Croods, Oz the Great and Powerful, Spring Breakers, Admission, Olympus Has Fallen, The Call, Gerard Butler, Tina Fey, Paul Rudd