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Weekend Predictions: Will a Strange Tide Lift the Box Office?

May 19th, 2011

Not to put too fine a point on it, but so far 2011 has been a terrible year at the box office. Granted, the past month or so have been better, but if we were to extrapolate the total box office based on how we've done so far, we'd have the worst year in a decade in terms of dollars, and way longer than that in terms of tickets sold. This really should change this weekend with the release of On Stranger Tides, which should earn more than Shrek Forever After, last year's number one film, with relative ease. In fact, it might earn more than the top five combined did last year.

The first three installments of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise earned a combined $1.04 billion domestically and $2.68 billion worldwide. If On Stranger Tides can maintain the franchise's average, then Disney should be more than just a little happy. Unfortunately, I don't think that is likely for a couple reasons. Firstly, I think pirate fatigue has set in, as At World's End made $100 million less than Dead Man's Chest and barely more than The Curse of the Black Pearl. Secondly, its reviews are the weakest in the franchise and have dipped below the 40% positive level, which is the minimum I like to see for a popcorn flick. That said, even the low end predictions have the film earning about $90 million, which more than Fast Five did during its opening weekend and it was the fastest opening film of the year. On the high end, it could open with $130 million, which would be fantastic. The lower end is more likely, especially in light of the reviews, but it should still come within a rounding error of $100 million.

Bridesmaids has taken over top spot on the daily chart since Monday and while its reign on top of the charts will end on Friday, it should still perform well over the weekend. Given its midweek numbers and its reviews it could earn $18 million during its sophomore stint, which would have been a good figure to open with. If it does manage this, its running tally would be $56 million, meaning it will have topped its original expectations in just ten days. Simply awesome.

With direct competition, Thor should see its box office number sliced in half this weekend. However, even a 55% drop-off would leave the film with close to $16 million. It will probably avoid that fate, but will still drop to third place with $17 million over the weekend giving it $147 million after three.

Fast Five has one more weekend in the top five and should celebrate it with $11 million in ticket sales and lift its running tally to $186 million. It's already the biggest hit of the franchise and has made significantly more than initially predicted, so the studio should be ecstatic.

Priest will be hurt by direct competition, as well as its terrible reviews. Additionally, with a mediocre opening, it's unlikely to hold on very well. It should add in $6 million over the weekend for a total of $25 million after two.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Thor, Priest, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Fast Five, Bridesmaids