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Weekend Predictions: Will X-Men's Latest Offering be Top of the Class?

June 2nd, 2011

After a record-breaking Memorial Day long weekend, the industry is hoping to maintain that momentum throughout the summer. There's only one wide release to deal with this weekend, X-Men: First Class, but most analysts expect it to earn more than the four wide releases earned in total this weekend last year. Add in stronger holdovers, and every indication says there should be a solid win for 2011 in the year-over-year comparison.

X-Men: First Class has a very sizable built-in audience, thanks to the success of the franchise so far, but there are also a lot of people worried about this film's quality after both The Last Stand and Wolverine struggled with critics. Fortunately for First Class, it appears the slide in quality is over, as this film is earning 89% positive reviews. There are still many people who are a little shy about rushing out to see the film opening weekend, which means it could have the weakest opening in the franchise's history. However, that could still mean an opening weekend north of $50 million. On the other hand, three of the four previous films made more than $85 million during their opening weekends, and one can not dismiss the possibility that will happen again. Expectations are all over that range, with a few predicting it will bomb, and a few who think it will have the biggest opening weekend of the year so far. I think just under $70 million is the safest bet, which is more than enough to be considered a hit.

After surprising most analysts, The Hangover 2 hopes to maintain its box office power long enough to overtake its predecessor. That could be tough, as its reviews are much weaker. A 50% drop-off is all but assured, which would leave the film with $43 million over the weekend; however, a collapse of 60% is possible, which would result in a sophomore stint of just $34 million. The low end is probably a little more likely, so I'm going with a prediction of $37 million over the weekend and close $200 million after two. It will become the biggest hit of the year so far, but it might take a few more days to top Fast Five.

Kung Fu Panda 2's reviews are much better than The Hangover 2's reviews, plus it has a target demographic that tends to reward films with repeat business. That said, it is coming off a holiday, so a 50% drop-off is still likely. That would leave it with $24 million over the weekend and $100 million after two. It is on pace to become the biggest animated hit of the year, so far, but it won't keep that record for long once Cars 2 opens.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has to deal with weak reviews, a post-holiday slump, and direct competition. Avoiding a 50% drop-off seems unlikely, but $18 million over the weekend will still lift its total to $170 million, more or less, and while it will be the weakest installment in the franchise domestically, its international numbers are picking up the slack.

The final film in the top five will be Bridesmaids, which will finally cross the century mark this weekend. It's currently at about $95 million, including Thursday's box office numbers, while it should add over $10 million during the weekend. It could show a profit before you take into account international and home market numbers, which is something very few films manage to do.

Midnight in Paris will again expand, this time from 58 theaters to 147 and should see growth to above $2 million over the weekend. This will lift its total to $6 million and move it past Whatever Works on Wood Allen's career list. And given its reviews it should keep climbing.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, X-Men: First Class