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Going for Blood

July 15th, 2009

2009 has hit a bit of a rough patch when compared to 2008, and it is unlikely to get better this weekend. That is not to say there are no prime releases — far from it. However, this time last year saw the release of The Dark Knight, and there are very few who think any movie this year will be able to compete with that film. That said, the number who think we could have a huge weekend is growing.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opened yesterday at midnight, which is becoming a very common practice for monster hits. It's a way of getting some advance buzz opening day. It's a way of rewarding the hardcore fans. It's a way of making more money. And boy did it work. Midnight showings pulled in an estimated $22.5 million, which is a new record for midnight shows topping The Dark Knight's opening of $18.5 million. Add in reviews that are currently 89% positive, and one would assume the word-of-mouth should be strong. That said, the Fanboy Effect will be stronger. The opening day record of $67.17 million is doable, while the record Wednesday to Sunday opening of $200.08 million is also possible. Where the film goes from there is another issue. I'm a little more bullish than most, but I'm predicting just shy of $70 million today (including the midnight showings), just over $30 million on Thursday, and $110 million over the weekend. Okay, I'm a lot more bullish than most on this movie. However, you have to remember, the previous film made $10 million less during its midnight shows, and it made $77.11 million over the weekend and $139.72 million during its first five days. On the other hand, I am fairly confident that this film will make more in the first five days than it will make during the rest of its run.

Direct competition will likely take a chunk out of Ice Age - Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but thanks strange circumstances, it will likely remain in second place for the third weekend in a row. Look for $14 million over the weekend, while it climbs several more spots on the all-time "bridesmaid" chart.

Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen, should be close behind with just over $11 million, which would give it a running tally of $360 million. This is already more than origial expectations, and it has a little more gas left in its tank.

On the one hand, Brüno earned solid reviews and the word-of-mouth should be good. On the other hand, its daily box office numbers are anything but good. So far the film has fallen 80% on the daily chart, and that's just in five days. I think at this point the studio will be happy with a mere 60% drop-off, which would leave the film in third place with $12 million over the weekend. But I think they are bracing themselves for a 70% drop-off and a fall to fourth place with $9 million. I'm going to predict fourth place with just over $10 million, which is still fantastic given its production budget and by some reports the film has already made a profit with its ticket sales worldwide.

Public Enemies should round out the top five with $8 million over the weekend, giving it just over $80 million after three. This puts it on track to hit $100 million, or at least come close enough for the studio to give it a push over the top, if they choose to do so.

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Filed under: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Public Enemies, Brüno