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Dawn of the Holidays

July 1st, 2009

While the movie industry has been in summer mode for a full two months, for many, the July 4th weekend marks the official start of summer. To celebrate, there are two saturation level releases coming out this week, and both are opening tonight and not Friday. Both could be major hits, but they could have real trouble topping Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen over the weekend. Compared to last year, I don't think anything will top Hancock's opening weekend, but combined they should help 2009 maintain its strong pace compared to last year.

The bigger of the two films is Ice Age - Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which is opening in just under 4,000 theaters tonight. Of this total, just over 1,600 of them feature 3-D screens, which should be a huge boost to the film's box office numbers. In the past few years, 3-D has returned from the dead and has become part of the mainstream like it never has in the past. Moviegoers have shown that they are willing to pay a premium to see a movie in 3-D, but studios still have to convince them to see the movie in the first place, and that could be a problem here. So far the reviews for the latest installment of the Ice Age franchise are weak with only one in three critics giving the film a positive review. This is well below the first two films, which could hurt this one's legs. As for its start, it should earn $20 million tonight, roughly $13 million tomorrow, $52 million over the weekend, $85 million over five days, and $225 million in total. That's a little more than the first two films made if you adjust for inflation, but the higher cost of the 3-D tickets means it will earn that with fewer moviegoers.

So far, Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen has maintained a relatively strong box office run, and it hasn't collapsed as much as its reviews would indicate. That said, even with the holidays, a 50% drop-off seems hopelessly optimistic. Even a 60% drop-off is not extreme at this point. This gives the film a high-end of $54 million and a low-end of $43 million. Splitting the difference gives us $49 million from Friday to Sunday, but I'm going with $47 million during that timeframe, which would lift its total to just under $300 million after just 12 days.

The other wide release of the week is Public Enemies, which tells the story of the gang of outlaws that were led by John Dillinger, and the FBI agent given the task to bring him in. The film is aiming at a more mature audience, which will both hurt and help its box office chances. On the one hand, this target audience is less likely to rush out opening night, or even opening weekend to see the film. On the other hand, they are more likely to see the movie later in its run, which will give it longer legs. The film's reviews should also help, as it has been able to maintain an overall positive rating, barely. It could reach second place tonight with just over $10 million, while it should add over half that tomorrow, before settling into third place over the weekend with $27 million. There is not much coming out with the same target audience as this film, so this could be enough for it to reach $100 million, but it will be close.

Next up is The Proposal and The Hangover, which should be in quite the battle for fourth place. Quite a few people think the latter has the edge, but I believe The Proposal will come out ahead $12 million to $11 million. This will give The Proposal $92 million in total, leaving it less than a week from crossing $100 million, while The Hangover will reach $200 million sometime during the weekend.


Filed under: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Hangover, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, The Proposal, Public Enemies