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Weekend Predictions: Will Hunger Remain the Fairest or Feel the Wrath of the Fanboy Effect?

March 30th, 2012

There are two saturation level releases coming out this week, Wrath of the Titans and Mirror Mirror. Even so, there's a 99% likelihood that The Hunger Games will repeat on the top of the chart. Wrath of the Titans would have to nearly double its average prediction and / or The Hunger Games would have to collapse by a near record amount for there to be a new number one this weekend. Additionally, unless there's some catastrophic event that keeps people away from theaters nationwide, the overall box office should see massive growth from last year. In fact, even without The Hunger Games, there could be some growth from last year, as most analysts expect the two new releases from this year to be stronger than the three new releases from last year. The only downside is the lack of depth. John Carter should place sixth with $2 million over the weekend, but that wouldn't even be enough for a top ten finish last year.

After setting many records last weekend, there are two directions The Hunger Games could go. Firstly, it could collapse by more than 50%, and that's on the optimistic side. Don't get me wrong, the movie's reviews are stellar and it will likely be remembered as one of the best blockbusters of the year. However, the word-of-mouth is going up against the Fanboy (Fangirl?) Effect, and usually when that happens, the latter has more effect. This is especially true when a film opens with more than $100 million. The Dark Knight earned 94% positive reviews and it still fell 52.55% during its second weekend of release. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II earned 96% positive reviews and it fell nearly 72%. I don't think The Hunger Games will fall that far, but I can't completely dismiss the possibility either. That gives the film a range of $43 million to $73 million during its sophomore stint. I think it will finish on the very high end of the scale and I'm going with $68 million over the weekend for a total of $258 million after two. At this pace, $400 million is still within grasp, but it will likely fall a bit short.

Wrath of the Titans is the sequel to Clash of the Titans, which in turn was a remake of the 1981 film, Clash of Titans. This latest film is earning reviews that are roughly the same as the previous film. That is to say, they are terrible. Additionally, the reputation of the 2010 Clash of the Titans is really bad and there's little hope that this film will match its predecessor's $61 million opening. In fact, on the low end of expectations, it might not make half of that. On the high end of expectations, it might top $40 million. I'm going with $37 million, but it if can cross $40 million during the next three days, it has a shot at $100 million in total. With a production budget reported at $150 million, even this won't be enough to justify a third entry in the series, unless it performs much better internationally.

The second wide release of the week is Mirror Mirror, which is one of a flood of Snow White inspired movies that are either coming out in theaters of being released direct-to-DVD this year. This one stars Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, along with many other notable actor in other roles. It is a bright and cheerful PG-rated movie that should attract young girls and their families, which is a demographic that is often under-served. The film's reviews have gone from overwhelmingly positive, to good but not great, to good enough for a wide release. The film's box office chances are also good, but not great. Look for the movie to earn in the mid $20 million range and $25 million is a very likely outcome.

21 Jump Street will be pushed into fourth place with about $11 million over the weekend, giving it a total of $88 million after three weeks of release. It might reach $100 million by the end of next weekend, or it might have to wait a few more days.

Up next is Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which should earn about $7 million over the weekend for a total of $188 million after a month of release. It remains on pace for $200 million, barely, but it will be out of the top ten by then.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Doctor Seuss' The Lorax, John Carter, 21 Jump Street, Wrath of the Titans, The Hunger Games, Mirror Mirror