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Weekend Predictions: Will the Box Office See Some Action?

October 20th, 2011

The box office was terrible last weekend, so much so that it is hard to imagine things won't turnaround this weekend. There is one film, Paranormal Activity 3, that's almost guaranteed to be a hit, but expectations for the other wide releases range from expensive bomb, The Three Musketeers 3D; international hit that will flop here, Johnny English Reborn and niche market film just hoping to reach the top ten, The Mighty Macs. Last year Paranormal Activity 2 opened with just over $40 million. Paranormal Activity 3 might be able to do the same, but the rest of the new releases and the holdovers are not looking good, so there could be a sizable decline in the year-over-year comparison.

Paranormal Activity could become an annual event and given the box office performance for the first two films, that wouldn't be such a bad thing for the industry. Paranormal Activity 3 is the only film this weekend that will be a major player at the box office, the only question is whether or not it will match Paranormal Activity 2's opening weekend box office. The reviews have improved compared to the previous installment, but I don't know if that will be enough. At best, Paranormal Activity 3 might show modest growth earning somewhere in the mid-$40 million range, but under $40 million is more likely. Look for $38 million over the weekend and $75 million in total. It only cost $5 million to make, so even if it cost $35 million for prints and advertising, that will be enough to breakeven before international and home market revenue.

The Three Musketeers 3D is one of the most expensive films coming out this month, but the buzz has been terrible. The reviews have been no better than the buzz. There is some good news, as the film has already earned close to $50 million internationally, but it likely won't reach that domestically in total. Look for an opening of $13 million and $35 million in total. Unless it continues to perform internationally, that won't be enough.

Real Steel and Footloose will be in a close race for third place with $10 million each, more or less. Real Steel has the advantage over the weekend and is closing in on the breakeven point when looking at its global haul so far. If Footloose earns close to $10 million, it will have close to $30 million after two. This is more than it cost to make, so as long as it is a hit internationally and / or on the home market, it will make a profit sooner rather than later.

Johnny English Reborn should round out the top five, but it's not a sure thing. The film does have a lot of factors going against it, including a theater count that is just over 1500, which is well below the truly wide mark. Its reviews are under 40% positive, which is lower than the low end you would like to see for a wide release. And finally, its release date that was bumped up a week so recently that earlier this week the official site still said it was coming out on the 28th. The original film wasn't a big hit domestically, but earned well over $100 million internationally. This film will make a profit, even if it doesn't make a single dollar here, so a fifth place, $6 million opening won't be a disaster.

The final "wide" release is The Mighty Macs, which is practically a self-distributed film. This is Quaker Media's first film and it is always hard for a new distributor to get going. The G-rated film is aimed at the same target demographic that Courageous was going after, but I'm not hearing the same buzz. The reviews won't help and there's little hope it will reach the top ten. It's opening in just under 1000 theaters and expectations range from just over $2 million to under $500,000. When the high end is barely above the Mendoza Line, it's a sign that expectations are really low. I'll predict $2 million, but only because anything lower seems really mean.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, Footloose, The Three Musketeers, Real Steel, Johnny English Reborn, Courageous, Paranormal Activity 3, The Mighty Macs