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Weekend Predictions: The Box Office is Going to Get Schooled

September 6th, 2012

The weekend after the Labor Day long weekend is often the worst weekend of the entire year at the box office. This certainly seems to be the case this year. There are two wide releases, or to be more accurate, one wide release, The Words, and one semi-wide release, The Cold Light of Day. Neither film is expected to top $10 million. The last time the number one film over the weekend earned less than $10,000,000 was way back in 2008 with the release of Bangkok Dangerous, which opened in the weekend after Labor Day. There is a slim chance The Words will earn less than Bangkok Dangerous did. This weekend last year wasn't actually pretty good with Contagion dominating the chart. There's almost no chance any film opening this weekend will match the $22.40 million that film earned. The top three films combined probably won't match that figure. 2012 will start the autumn with a pretty big fall.

The Words will hopefully come out on top at the box office this weekend, because if it doesn't, we are in trouble. The film stars Bradley Cooper, who is a good actor, but isn't a proven box office draw yet. The film is aimed at a more mature target demographic, which will likely hurt its opening weekend, but could help its legs. On the other hand, its reviews won't help with anything. Perhaps it will start stronger than expected with over $10 million, but $8 million is more likely.

There are some who think The Possession will repeat on top of the chart. It did get off to a faster than expected start last weekend and the competition is particularly weak this weekend. However, its genre and its reviews suggest a 60% drop-off, or close to it. I'm going with second place and just over $7 million, but that's close enough that it could squeak out a win should The Words stumble even a little bit.

Lawless did not get off to a faster than expected start, but with good reviews, it could hold on a bit better than the rest of the films in the top five. It should avoid a 50% drop off during its sophomore stint giving it just under $6 million over the weekend and about $24 million after two.

The Expendables 2 should fall to just under $5 million over weekend lifting its total to just over $75 million.

The Bourne Legacy should cross the $100 million mark this weekend adding $4 million to its bottom line.

The second new release of the week is The Cold Light of Day, which is opening in about 1,500 theaters and with 8% positive reviews. There's little hope that it will be a hit at the box office. In fact, there are some who are predicting it will miss the Mendoza Line and earn less than $3 million over the weekend. I think just over $3 million is more likely, but that's hardly a significant difference at this point.

One last note, The Raiders of the Last Ark is being re-released on IMAX screens this weekend and there are some who think it will place in the top ten. It might even have a short at the top five. If it does reach the top ten, look for more films to get the IMAX treatment in the future.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Cold Light of Day, The Bourne Legacy, The Possession, The Expendables 2, Lawless, The Words