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Weekend Predictions: Will Bourne Live Up to Its Legacy?

August 9th, 2012

The Bourne Legacy should have no trouble dominating the box office this weekend and it might become the last $100 million hit of the summer. On the other hand, it might not be the only $100 million hit opening this week. The Campaign is an R-rated comedy, which should do better than most and at least has an outside shot at reaching the century club. Hope Springs is counter-programming aimed at a more mature target demographic and its chances over the weekend are not great, but its legs could be strong. Finally, there's Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D, which is only playing in about 800 theaters, but it could squeeze into the top ten. This week last year the new releases were led by The Help while a returning film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, topped the chart. Neither film made $30 million over the weekend, which is something The Bourne Legacy should do with ease, so 2012 should pull out a win. Hopefully that is the case, because year-over-year, 2012 has been losing big time lately.

The Bourne Legacy is the latest in the Bourne Franchise. The previous three films earned more than $500 million domestically and nearly $1 billion worldwide. Trying to extend the franchise makes complete sense; however, there's quite a lot of risk involved in this film. Firstly, it is a sequel without its main star, and these usually struggle compared to their predecessors, even if they remain massively profitable (take, for example, X-Men: First Class and The Amazing Spider-Man). Secondly, while it is loosely based on a book, the book wasn't written by Robert Ludlum, so it might not have the same appeal. Thirdly, it feels like a reboot more than a sequel, and people are kind of getting sick of those. I didn't think the film would live up to its predecessors box office, but I did think it would top the first film's total. However, with reviews that are a little weaker than expected and buzz that isn't as strong, I'm downgrading my predictions. It could still open in first place with more than $40 million, but just under $40 million is more likely now. Assuming its legs are not bad, it should still get to $100 million, but it won't match The Bourne Identity.

The Campaign is the latest R-rated comedy to come out this summer. There have been a number of these films released this year and only Ted has reached the century mark. (Magic Mike also reached $100 million, but it is a totally different target audience and it is impossible to compare it to the average R-rated comedy.) The film's reviews are very good, it has excellent star power, especially within the genre, and it is topical. There is a chance it will open with more than $30 million over the weekend. If it opens with $25 million and has the same legs as Ted, then it will get to $100 million domestically. I think a $27 million opening is likely, but asking for such long legs is asking too much, so it will end with just shy of $100 million.

The Dark Knight Rises will finally get knocked out of top spot, but should still manage close to $20 million over the weekend for a total of $390 million after four. It will get to $400 million, but it might be out of the top five before then.

Hope Springs hopes to follow in the same footsteps as The Help, which opened last year and rode amazing legs to an outstanding box office total. It does have nearly identical reviews and a mostly similar target demographic. However, it doesn't have as much buzz, nor is it opening as wide. During its opening day, Wednesday, it only made $2.27 million. By comparison, The Help made $5.54 million. There is a chance it will recover a bit during the weekend, but $13 million from Friday through Sunday and $17 million in total is still a soft opening.

Total Recall will likely take a huge hit at the box office this weekend and it could fall more than 60% to just $10 million. That's probably a little too pessimistic, but falling more than 50% to just $11 million is not. This is not good for a film with a production budget north of $100 million.

Finally, there's Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D. It is easiest to compare this film to Jackass 3D, only this film is opening in far fewer theaters, with much less star power in the cast, and much quieter buzz, and with much weaker reviews. So it is just like Jackass 3D, only weaker in every regard. It could earn a per theater average of around $5,000, which would be enough to land in the top ten, but it could also miss the Mendoza Line. Its opening day was $665,000 in 800 theaters, which gave it a per theater average just below Hope Springs' average, and given its target demographic, it will be a lot more front-loaded. Because of this, the lower end seems much more likely, and I'm going with an opening of just over $2 million. Then again, the Jackass films were surprisingly successful, the emphasis is on "surprising," and that could be the case here as well. Perhaps not enough of the target audience knew the film was opening two days early.

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Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, Hope Springs, The Bourne Legacy, Ted, The Campaign, Magic Mike, Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D