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Weekend Preview: Are New Releases Bound to be Losers?

April 22nd, 2010

While there are three wide releases coming out this week, including one debuting on Thursday, most box office analysts think that it will be a holdover, How to Train Your Dragon, that will take top spot. This is partially due to that film's strong holds so far, but also partially due to weakness in the three new releases. Expect a sizable drop-off from last weekend, but more importantly, a large drop-off from the same weekend last year.

How to Train Your Dragon nearly regained top spot last weekend, and it looks like it will be able to manage that feat this weekend. During the weekdays, the film has only been down by about 10% compared to the previous week and that bodes well for this weekend. Granted, one of the three wide releases does have some family appeal, but it won't have any really direct competition this week. It should drop less than 25% this weekend to give it $15 million from Friday to Sunday and a total of $177 million after a month of release. At this pace, it will still be a box office player when Shrek Forever After opens.

A lot of analysts think The Back-up Plan will be the best of the new releases, but I think The Losers will beat it. There is some solid evidence for this. Firstly, while the film isn't great, it is earning significantly better reviews. In fact, for the genre, 43% positive is not a bad Tomatometer Score. Secondly, it's an action movie, and those tend to be easier to sell. Thirdly, there are a number of actors in this movie that have been in big films that were hits with this film's target audience. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was in Watchmen. Zoe Saldana was in Star Trek and Avatar. Chris Evans was recently cast as Captain America. Now, I'm not saying this movie will be a huge hit, or even a midlevel hit, but it should open faster than The Back-up Plan. Look for $14 million over the weekend and close to $40 million in total.

The Back-up Plan should be relatively close behind, even if there are more negatives than positives going in. It is the widest release of the week at nearly 3,300 theaters. However, its reviews are simply terrible, even compared to the genre average. Also, Jennifer Lopez has never really been an A-list star at the box office, and she hasn't had a hit in five years. Her co-star, Alex O'Loughlin, has never had a box office hit. Ever. Finally, CBS Films' previous film bombed hard. The Back-up Plan should open with more than Extraordinary Measures earned in total, but $13 million will probably only be enough for third place.

On the one hand, Date Night will have to deal with direct competition from The Back-up Plan. On the other hand, Date Night is the better movie and showed surprisingly strong legs last weekend. Look for $11 million over the weekend and $64 million after three.

While Kick-Ass is still in top spot on the daily chart, it will likely plummet to fifth place this weekend. We've seen time and time again that when reviews go head-to-head against the Fanboy Effect, the latter usually wins. A 50% drop-off is likely, which would leave the film with under $10 million, but that should still be enough for fifth place ahead of both Death at a Funeral and Clash of the Titans.

The final wide release of the week is Oceans, which made its debut on Thursday in just over 1,200 theaters. This documentary could be considered a companion film to earth, but while it is earning similar reviews, very few analysts think it will earn the same amount at the box office. That said, if it can make just over $2 million on Thursday and close to $8 million over the weekend, it could finish with $25 to $30 million in total. Add in its international numbers, and the film would be considered a solid hit, especially for its genre.


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Filed under: Date Night, The Losers, The Back-up Plan, How to Train Your Dragon, Kick-Ass, Oceans