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It's a post-holiday weekend and that usually means a serious drop-off at the box office. Add in two films with serious Fanboy, and Fangirl, issues, and this is twice as true this weekend. However, we do have two films that are earning strong reviews and this could help mitigate the losses. Also, this time last year wasn't particularly strong either, so we won't need a $40 million debut to keep 2010 close to 2009's pace. Although that would certainly help and it is not out of the question.

The widest release of the week, Despicable Me, is also the best reviewed release of the week. In fact, with a Tomatometer Score of 84% positive, it is very possible that this film will earn an Oscar nomination for Best Feature-Length Animated film. (Although there will probably only be three nominations this year and that is hurting its chances.) In the film, Steve Carell provides the voice for Gru, an evil mad scientist whose schemes always go wrong, but as he's planning his biggest evil scheme yet, three orphan girls come into his life and try to see the good in him. The film's reviews are excellent, but not at the same level as Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon. It also doesn't have a built in audience like Toy Story 3 or Shrek Forever After, because it is not a sequel. On the other hand, it does have a better release date than How to Train Your Dragon and even with the much higher level of competition, it could match that film's opening of $43 million. Even on the low end, the film should make at least $30 million and with decent legs $100 million wouldn't be out of the question. I'm going to go with $38 million during its opening and $125 million in total.

The only other wide release of the week is Predators and expectations for this film are all over the place. It's everywhere from first place with more than $40 million to fourth place with less than $20 million. On the positive side, the film is part of a popular franchise and that should bring out the Fanboys. Also, its reviews a solid; granted, 71% positive isn't Oscar-worthy, but for this type of film it's great. It's almost as good as the original's reviews, in fact. On the down side, outside of the first film, none of the rest of the movies in the franchise have been really good and some people are being very... cautious and will wait for word-of-mouth before paying money to see it. Also, it's opening in just 2,669 theaters, and I was expecting a saturation level release. I think Fox will be happy with an opening per theater average of $10,000, or close to it, giving the film about $27 million over the weekend. However, it could literally make twice that or half that and I wouldn't be too shocked.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has already pulled in $200 million at the box office, taking just nine days to get there. That's not the record, but it's in the top ten. There are a lot of factors that suggest this film will suffer a massive drop-off at the box office this weekend. For instance, New Moon fell nearly 70% during its sophomore stint and it opened the weekend before Thanksgiving, so it had the holiday as a mitigating factor. On the other hand, this film has better reviews and it was a Wednesday release, which kept its opening three-day weekend lower than it otherwise would be. That said, a 60% drop off is likely, which would leave the film with $27 million over the weekend, more or less. It would also leave it in a virtual tie with Predators for second place on the weekend chart.

Toy Story 3 reached $300 million during its 18th day of release and a couple of days later it overtook Iron Man 2 for second biggest release of the year. Now it has its sights set on Alice in Wonderland for biggest release of 2010. With a running tally of about $318 million, it should have no trouble getting there this weekend, even with direct competition. If it can manage more than $20 million over the weekend, which is tough but not out of the question, then it will keep the possibility of $400 million in total quite high. Anything less than $15 million will likely end its chances. I'm going with just over $18 million for the weekend and just under $400 million in total making it the biggest hit in Pixar's history.

The Last Airbender should round out the top five, mostly by default. Given its reviews, the Fanboy Effect, post-holiday weekend, etc., a massive drop-off is likely. Even a 60% drop-off might be too generous a prediction. That would leave the film with a sophomore stint of close to $17 million, while on the low end it could lose 70% and fall to just over $12 million. Splitting the difference gives us $15 million. That would put the film on pace to reach $100 million by Monday and it should top $125 million in total. If it can beat that internationally, then the studio will be able to call it a victory, even if it is a Pyrrhic one.

- C.S.Strowbridge Weekend Preview: Will the Box Office Remain Hot? - The Numbers

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Weekend Preview: Will the Box Office Remain Hot?

July 8th, 2010

It's a post-holiday weekend and that usually means a serious drop-off at the box office. Add in two films with serious Fanboy, and Fangirl, issues, and this is twice as true this weekend. However, we do have two films that are earning strong reviews and this could help mitigate the losses. Also, this time last year wasn't particularly strong either, so we won't need a $40 million debut to keep 2010 close to 2009's pace. Although that would certainly help and it is not out of the question.

The widest release of the week, Despicable Me, is also the best reviewed release of the week. In fact, with a Tomatometer Score of 84% positive, it is very possible that this film will earn an Oscar nomination for Best Feature-Length Animated film. (Although there will probably only be three nominations this year and that is hurting its chances.) In the film, Steve Carell provides the voice for Gru, an evil mad scientist whose schemes always go wrong, but as he's planning his biggest evil scheme yet, three orphan girls come into his life and try to see the good in him. The film's reviews are excellent, but not at the same level as Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon. It also doesn't have a built in audience like Toy Story 3 or Shrek Forever After, because it is not a sequel. On the other hand, it does have a better release date than How to Train Your Dragon and even with the much higher level of competition, it could match that film's opening of $43 million. Even on the low end, the film should make at least $30 million and with decent legs $100 million wouldn't be out of the question. I'm going to go with $38 million during its opening and $125 million in total.

The only other wide release of the week is Predators and expectations for this film are all over the place. It's everywhere from first place with more than $40 million to fourth place with less than $20 million. On the positive side, the film is part of a popular franchise and that should bring out the Fanboys. Also, its reviews a solid; granted, 71% positive isn't Oscar-worthy, but for this type of film it's great. It's almost as good as the original's reviews, in fact. On the down side, outside of the first film, none of the rest of the movies in the franchise have been really good and some people are being very... cautious and will wait for word-of-mouth before paying money to see it. Also, it's opening in just 2,669 theaters, and I was expecting a saturation level release. I think Fox will be happy with an opening per theater average of $10,000, or close to it, giving the film about $27 million over the weekend. However, it could literally make twice that or half that and I wouldn't be too shocked.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has already pulled in $200 million at the box office, taking just nine days to get there. That's not the record, but it's in the top ten. There are a lot of factors that suggest this film will suffer a massive drop-off at the box office this weekend. For instance, New Moon fell nearly 70% during its sophomore stint and it opened the weekend before Thanksgiving, so it had the holiday as a mitigating factor. On the other hand, this film has better reviews and it was a Wednesday release, which kept its opening three-day weekend lower than it otherwise would be. That said, a 60% drop off is likely, which would leave the film with $27 million over the weekend, more or less. It would also leave it in a virtual tie with Predators for second place on the weekend chart.

Toy Story 3 reached $300 million during its 18th day of release and a couple of days later it overtook Iron Man 2 for second biggest release of the year. Now it has its sights set on Alice in Wonderland for biggest release of 2010. With a running tally of about $318 million, it should have no trouble getting there this weekend, even with direct competition. If it can manage more than $20 million over the weekend, which is tough but not out of the question, then it will keep the possibility of $400 million in total quite high. Anything less than $15 million will likely end its chances. I'm going with just over $18 million for the weekend and just under $400 million in total making it the biggest hit in Pixar's history.

The Last Airbender should round out the top five, mostly by default. Given its reviews, the Fanboy Effect, post-holiday weekend, etc., a massive drop-off is likely. Even a 60% drop-off might be too generous a prediction. That would leave the film with a sophomore stint of close to $17 million, while on the low end it could lose 70% and fall to just over $12 million. Splitting the difference gives us $15 million. That would put the film on pace to reach $100 million by Monday and it should top $125 million in total. If it can beat that internationally, then the studio will be able to call it a victory, even if it is a Pyrrhic one.

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Filed under: Despicable Me, The Last Airbender, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Toy Story 3, Predators