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Weekend Predictions: Will Heist Tower Above the Competition, or Will the Box Office Feel Ripped Off?

November 3rd, 2011

October ended on a winning note, but overall the month was terrible. Only two films released that month will get to $100 million, while there were five that were bombs. The industry is hoping things will turn around starting this weekend. That might be tricky, as the two new releases opening this weekend, Tower Heist and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas are no where near as strong as last year's new releases. Tower Heist likely won't top Due Date, while Harold and Kumar won't open as strongly as For Colored Girls... did. And that's not even taking into account Megamind, which led the way. If 2011 is to catch up to 2010, it will need to average 20% growth year-over-year. However, it is far more likely we will see 20% drop-off this weekend.

Tower Heist is an ensemble thriller / comedy with a cast that is led by Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. Both actors have had their share of $100 million hits, but both have also struggled at the box office as well. Where will this film finish? Early reviews suggested it would top $100 million with relatively ease and while its Tomatometer Score as softened since then, it is still earning 61% positive reviews. Getting to $100 million might be a tough, but opening with $30 million, more or less, does mean that milestone is within reach.

Puss in Boots missed expectations last weekend, but thanks to its target demographic, it should hold on better than most films this weekend. Not only do families tend to reward good films with repeat ticket sales, but there's no direct competition opening either. If it can avoid dropping more than 40%, then it should be able to reach $100 million with ease. Fortunately, a 40% drop-off seems to be a worse case scenario and some analysts are even predicting it will decline less than 30%. That's a little too bullish for my tastes, but adding $22 million over the weekend is within reach. It will get to $100 million by the end of its run and, assuming it does well internationally, it should have no trouble breaking even by the end of its initial run on the home market.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle earned surprisingly strong reviews and while it didn't connect with moviegoers right away, it became a cult hit on the home market. The second film didn't earn as strong reviews, but it was a much bigger hit at the box office. A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas is earning reviews that are currently closer to the high end than the low end, while it appears set to have the biggest opening in the franchise. Anything lower than $14 million will be seen as at least moderately disappointing, while opening with over $20 million is not out of the question. I'm going with between $15 million and $16 million.

Paranormal Activity 3 won't get to $100 million for at least another week, although it likely won't plummet as much as it did this past weekend. Look for between $7 million and $8 million over the weekend giving it a total of $94 million after three weeks of release. This will leave it about a week away from the century mark.

In Time should add between $5 million and $6 million to its coffers over the weekend, but by next Friday, the movie might be running out of time, as theater owners will be looking to replace it. It is doing better internationally and it only cost $35 million to make, so breaking even isn't out of the question, but it has had a disappointing run so far.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Puss in Boots, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Tower Heist, In Time, Paranormal Activity 3