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Weekend Predictions: Dealing with the Devil

January 5th, 2012

After the depressing box office results of 2011 (to be fair, the box office did reach $10 billion for the third time in a row, which is no small amount of money, but week after week we saw year-over-year declines) the industry is pretty desperate to turn things around and we do have some reasons to be hopeful this weekend, mainly because the comparable weekend last year was so bad. Most analysts think The Devil Inside will top last year's lone wide release, Season of the Witch, so if the holdovers can do their part, maybe we can start the year with a win. Then again, I've been hopeful before the weekend many, many times recently, only to be crushed when the box office numbers come in.

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol is going for the hat-trick and there's plenty of reasons to conclude it will complete the threepeat. First of all, its reviews are amazing, so the word of mouth is fantastic. Also, there's very little competition this weekend. Perhaps The Devil Inside will win, but Ghost Protocol will probably take top spot with just under $17 million.

Predictions for The Devil Inside are all over the place with mid-$20 million on the high end to less than $10 million on the low end. I find the low end a lot more likely that the high end, especially since the high end would result in a per theater average above $10,000. That doesn't happen very often in January. It's the latest film in the Found Footage / Based on an UNTRUE Story genre, while Exorcism films have also been popular of late. That said, there's always a concern that the latest film in a popular trend will be one film too many. Additionally, the movie is opening in less than 2,300 theaters and only has one review on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. (It is a positive review, but it is also from a genre critic, so its predictive powers are limited.) I would love to see the film earn first place with $20 million or so, but second place with $12 million is more likely. This means it will be in a very close race for second place, so much so it could trade places with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows over the weekend.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, it too should earn $12 million over the weekend lifting its total to $155 million. With more than $100 million internationally, the film is well on its way to showing a profit.

Up next is Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which just crossed $100 million on Wednesday. This is a disappointing running tally, but the milestone should be enough to save someone's job. Look for fourth place with $10 million over the weekend.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo should be right behind with just under $10 million. It is starting to pick up some major award nominations, while the studio is continuing with plans for the sequels.

One last note, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is expanding into more than 800 theaters and should grab a spot in the lower half of the top ten. Despite excellent reviews, the film has been all but ignored during Awards Season, at least this side of the pond. Because of this, the buzz is not as strong as many were anticipating, so $4 million to $5 million is probably as good as it will get.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Devil Inside