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Weekend Predictions: Will Summer go to the Dogs?

August 9th, 2013

The Dog Days of summer have begun; in fact, they began last weekend. There are four films trying to find an audience that is distracted with other concerns like back-to-school, or the last family outing before back-to-school, etc. Will any of the films find an audience? Elysium has the best chance. It is earning the best reviews of the week. We're the Millers opened on Wednesday and did quite well, earning first place, but it's far from a monster hit. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters cost $90 million to make, but barely topped The Smurfs 2's Wednesday opening from last week. That's not a good sign. Finally there's Disney's Planes, a film that started production as a direct-to-DVD film and the reviews reflect that. The Bourne Legacy opened this week last year with $38.14 million, which is something Elysium might match.

Elysium is a message movie / sci-fi allegory written and directed by Neill Blomkamp. Blomkamp's previous film was District 9, which was also a message movie / sci-fi allegory. District 9 earned amazing reviews, but had very little star power. Elysium is earning good reviews, but not great reviews, and could finish with a similar box office. If it is lucky, it will open with just over $40 million and extend summer by one more week. If it is unlucky, it could fail to top $30 million and might not earn first place. I think the lower end is slightly more likely and I'm going with $34 million.

Disney's Planes started production as a direct-to-DVD film, but somewhere along the line, someone promoted it to a theatrical release. The reviews suggest it should have stayed out of theaters. Critics are complaining about the lazy story writing and the cheap-looking animation (especially compared to Pixar films). Had it been released direct-to-DVD, then these issues would have been brushed aside, because it would be par for the course. It is earning better reviews than The Smurfs 2 earned and it should have a better start at the box office. An opening weekend of $25 million is a good result for a kids movie at this time of year, but not a blockbuster release.

We're the Millers opened on Wednesday with $6.78 million, which is a fine result for a movie that cost $37 million to make. It might reach that figure by the time the weekend is over. On the other hand, for an R-rated comedy, the humor is really tame, which is hurting its reviews. According to many critics, the film is wasting the talented cast on a sitcom level comedy and that the edgy aspects of the film are wasted. If they took more risks, it would have been a funnier movie. If people go in expecting a movie like This is the End, they will be disappointed. Perhaps it will collapse quickly and finish with less than $20 million over the weekend. I'm going with $23 million over the weekend and $35 million overall.

The final new release of the week is Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which debuted in second place on Wednesday with $5.45 million. This is a little better than The Smurfs 2's Wednesday opening, but that's damning it with faint praise. The Smurfs 2 failed to crack $20 million during its opening weekend, and I think this one will do the same. The reviews are weak with many critics calling it bloated and dull. The first film didn't earn good reviews, but they were better than this. Look for $19 million over the weekend and $28 million overall. That's not enough for a film that cost $90 million to make.

If 2 Guns is going to make $100 million, it will need to make about $16 million over the weekend, maybe even $17 million. I don't think that's going to happen. It might fall to under $12 million. It does have good reviews, but it has direct competition. Denzel Washington's films tend to have long legs, so that's a good sign. I still think the negatives outweigh the positives, so I'm going with a $14 million sophomore stint.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, We're the Millers, Elysium, The Smurfs 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, This is the End, 2 Guns, Disney Planes, Denzel Washington, Neill Blomkamp