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Weekend Predictions: Take It Away

October 4th, 2012

This weekend, there are two wide releases making their debuts, Taken 2 and Frankenweenie. Plus a previous limited release is aiming for a spot in the top five, Pitch Perfect, and another limited release that could expand into the top ten, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's an all around busy weekend. Taken 2 should easily win the box office race earning more than the original, although it very likely won't have the same legs. More importantly, it should open with more than last year's number one film, Real Steel. The second best wide release should open better than Ides of March did, plus the holdovers this year are better than last year. Am I getting optimistic again? Yes. Keep in mind that I have had the optimism crushed a lot this year.

Taken was not a great film in terms of complex emotional characters, but it was a great revenge / rescue action film. It started out well for a January release, but its legs were incredible and it has a near record-breaking run at the box office. Taken 2 hopes to continue that film's box office success, but I have my doubts that it will. First of all, capturing the same feeling the second time around without coming across as a remake will be very hard and a lot of fans of the first film expressed doubts that the second film would walk this tightrope. Secondly, the reviews are much weaker, so weak that even for a genre that tends to be critic-proof, it will hurt. Finally, while the film is opening on a much better release date and should start a whole lot faster, there's stronger competition going forward and sequels tend to be very front-loaded. There is a chance Taken 2 will open with more than $40 million. Even most low-end predictions are north of $30 million. I'm going to play it safe and go with $37 million, or 50% more than its predecessor. It won't have the same legs, so it won't match the original overall.

After Hotel Transylvania record-breaking September opening, it will look to maintain that momentum going forward. There are some hints that it will do well this weekend, including the historically strong legs family films have. On the other hand, it has to deal with direct competition and merely mixed reviews. A 40% drop-off would leave the film with $25.5 million over its sophomore stint and I think that's a pretty safe bet. This would give the film just over $75 million after just ten days of release and put it on pace to top $100 million by the end of its third weekend of release.

Frankenweenie is the film's direct competition, but its box office chances are not as rosy. As I've said in the past, stop-motion animation is a niche market and opening above the high teens is the best they can do. I think this film will get there in part due to Tim Burton's association with the style, which should help. Also, its reviews are very strong. Maybe it will cross the $20 million market, but $17 million is more likely.

After Pitch Perfect's amazing start in limited release last weekend, it is looking for a spot in the top five during its wide expansion this weekend. An opening weekend average of more than $15,000 should encourage the studio to advertise it more and encourage theater owners to give it more showings. Also, with very strong reviews, the film's word-of-mouth should help. On the other hand, is A Cappella mainstream enough to carry a film to wide audiences? I'm not sure. Perhaps it will fizzle out during its wide expansion and miss the $10 million mark. Perhaps it will shine earning third place with close to $20 million. Splitting the difference gets us $14 million, which is probably a safe bet.

Looper opened with $20 million, which is not bad, while its reviews were much, much better. The film does have to deal with direct competition, which will hurt, but I think it will avoid a 50% drop off. It might even avoid a 40% drop-off. I'm going with just over $12 million during its second weekend of release, pushing its running tally to $40 million. That's enough to be considered a midlevel hit, especially given its reported $30 million production budget. It could double that domestically and is even bigger internationally.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is expanding further this weekend and given how weak the lower half of the top ten is, it could find itself landing there. $2 million is not out of the question, especially if its reviews continue to translate into strong word-of-mouth. Even $1.5 million should be enough to grab tenth spot. Making it to the top ten will also boost its visibility among box office watchers and could help it last even longer in theaters.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, Frankenweenie, Looper, Taken 2, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pitch Perfect, Tim Burton