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Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Holdovers

November 11th, 2010

There could be a three-way race for the top spot at the box office this weekend with two wide releases competing with last week's winner. That's the good news. The bad news is that none of them have a real shot at topping last year's winner. In fact, the worst case scenario has the three wide releases this year opening with less combined than 2012 opened with on its own. Actually, that's not the worst case scenario, as it is pretty damn likely. Even if that does happen, there is a lot more depth this year and 2010 might still earn a solid win overall.

MegaMind opened in top spot last weekend with a hair over $46 million. This weekend it has a real shot at top spot with anything from $23 million to $28 million, perhaps a little more, perhaps a little less. There are some very encouraging signs, including strong reviews, or at least strong reviews for a kids movie. Plus there's no direct competition and it is somewhat of a holiday weekend. I think that adds up to first place with just under $27 million, but it could be a close race.

The film with the best chance of defeating MegaMind is Unstoppable. The latest Denzel Washington / Tony Scott team-up is earning reviews that are, quite frankly, a little hard to believe. According to its Tomatometer Score, this is Tony Scott's best movie since Crimson Tide. I was not expecting that. However, this result is shocking to a number of people, which means it will have to deal with a skeptical movie-going population, which in turn means it might struggle until word-of-mouth spreads. It could earn first place with $30 million over the next three days. Or it could struggle to earn fourth place with half of that. The high end is more likely than the low and and I'm going with a solid second place with $25 million.

The only other film with a legitimate shot at top spot is Skyline, which is a relatively low-budget alien invasion film. Early reviews suggest it could be entertaining enough to spend money on, while the heavy use of special effects means seeing it on the big screen could be better than waiting for the home market release. Additionally, it's not like there's a lot of direct competition for this film currently in theaters. On the other hand, Universal has really struggled this year and there's not a lot of starpower to sell the film. This is the movie with the most uncertainty for me and it could top $10,000 on the per theater chart and score first place, or fail to reach $10 million over the weekend and miss the top five. I'm going with just under $20 million, but I wouldn't be willing to bet money on that.

On the other hand, Due Date's weekend potential is a little less uncertain and nearly all analysts are predicting $17 million, more or less. If it does add $17 million over the weekend, it will lift its total to $60 million, and with holidays starting in a couple weeks, that could be enough to reach $100 million overall. But it will be incredibly close.

Morning Glory should round out the top five over the weekend, maybe. It opened in third place on Wednesday with just over $1 million, which is less than expected, and expectations were pretty low to begin with. There is a chance that thanks to Veterans Day holiday on Thursday, its box office will see solid growth tonight, and then grow substantially again on Friday, and perhaps on Saturday, leading to more than $12 million over the weekend and $15 million in total. It's not a bad movie, so one can't discount this possibility. On the other hand, it might not see much growth at all and fail to make $10 million over five days. Look for another $1.5 million tonight, and just under $10 million over the weekend, which fits nicely in the middle of those extremes.

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Filed under: Weekend Preview, Due Date, Morning Glory, Unstoppable, Skyline, Megamind