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Monsters vs. Everyone Else

March 26th, 2009

It's a one-horse race for top spot at the box office with Monsters vs. Aliens being that one horse. However, while there's no real race for the top this weekend, it will be interesting to see if the film can top last year's big spring release, Horton Hears a Who. Or if it can top The Watchmen for best opening weekend of the year. Or, most importantly, if it can help 2009 regain its winning ways over 2008. That shouldn't be too hard, as this week last year wasn't particularly strong.

Last year, Horton Hears a Who opened with $45 million while earlier this month The Watchmen opened with $55 million. Consensus has Monsters vs. Aliens opening somewhere in-between. On the plus side, the film is the only saturation level release of the week; in fact, it is opening mega-wide at just over 4,100 theaters. Also, many of these are IMAX 3-D screens, which charge a premium for tickets, and recent success of 3-D movies has shown moviegoers are willing to pay extra for the extra dimension. Finally, the film is earning strong reviews, not Oscar caliber reviews, but very strong for a wide release. On the down side... there really is no down side. Direct competition is light as there hasn't been a kids movie in a couple of weeks and there won't be another for another couple of weeks. The ad campaign has been excellent all along, and it is coming on strong at the right time, and families and CG animation enthusiasts alike will rush to theaters. I see this film beating expectations, possibly with more than $60 million, but I'm going to go with a prediction of $57 million.

The Haunting in Connecticut is the latest horror film to open this year. That genre has been a lot busier than most years past with several mid-level hits already, and the filmmakers are obviously hoping this one will become the latest such hit. So far this film has been earning weaker reviews than most of it predecessors, and without a franchise or star-power to fall back on, it could struggle at the box office. Good news, the film will likely only need to make just over $12 million to secure second place. Bad news, it will likely only make just over $12 million over the weekend. However, its production budget was likely small enough that an opening of $12 million will be enough to earn a profit, eventually.

Battling The Haunting in Connecticut for second place will be Knowing, which opened on the high side of expectations last weekend. Soft reviews are hurting word-of-mouth, meaning a 50% drop-off is baseline for the movie. That would leave the film with just over $12 million over the weekend, but I think just under $12 million is a safer bet.

On the other hand, I Love You, Man earned strong reviews and has a small chance of remaining in second place with just over $12 million. $11 million and fourth place is more likely, while it could struggle and fail to reach $10 million over the next three days.

Duplicity will be helped by its reviews, while its midweek numbers show it holding on better than Knowing, but not as well as I Love You, Man. Look for just over $7 million over the weekend, and $25 million after two.

The final wide release of the week is 12 Rounds, the latest WWE production. The average opening for the studio is just under $10 million, but remove the two Dwayne Johnson films from the mix and that average plummets to just over $5 million. This film might not be able to lift that average. Reviews are practically nonexistent, and there is little to no buzz. Predictions range from just over $8 million to just under $6 million, but my gut tells me $5 million. Don't know if it is wise to trust my gut, but that's what it says.


Filed under: Monsters vs. Aliens, Knowing, I Love You, Man, The Haunting in Connecticut, Duplicity, 12 Rounds