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How Good Will Bad Do?

September 11th, 2009

Fall officially begins with the weekend after Labor Day, which in many years is the worst weekend of the year. That probably won't be the case now thanks to Tyler Perry's propensity for wearing dresses. This time last year wasn't the first weekend after Labor Day (it's a strange year this year and the weekends don't line up perfectly) and this will mean 2009 might have a little more trouble keeping up with last year than it normally would. 2009 should still come out ahead, but it will be close compared to the first weekend of Fall from last year.

The latest Tyler Perry film, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, is opening on Friday and should have an easy time winning the box office race over the weekend. The only real question is where it will rank in Perry's career. The Family that Preys Together opened this time last year with $17.38 million, which is the baseline here. That film earned mixed reviews, while I Can Do Bad All By Myself has so far only earned one review, which is negative. That said, these films have proven to be mostly critic proof and I seriously doubt the reviews will dent the film's box office one iota. Look for $25 million over the weekend; however, look for massive drop-offs the following weekends, and it could earn more over the next three days than it does over the rest of its run.

That prediction could come back and bite me in the rear, because on Wednesday I assumed 9 would place fourth. However, it appears I have underestimated its box office potential. It opened in first place on Wednesday, which wasn't unexpected, but it earned $3.12 million, which was much better than I anticipated. There is a chance that it could suffer a 60% decline on Thursday, earn only a slight bounce on Friday, as still struggle over the weekend. But with overall positive reviews, it will likely avoid that fate. Best case scenario has the film pulling in $15 million over three days and $20 million in total, but I think just under $12 million from Friday to Sunday is more likely, and just over $16 million in total will be the number we see come Monday when the results are released. Is that a good start? It's better than the opening for The Nightmare Before Christmas, for instance, and close to what Coraline made earlier in the year. Assuming it didn't cost too much more than its rumored $33 million production budget, the studio should be happy with that result.

Two more wide releases will battle it out for third place with both Sorority Row and Whiteout aiming at $10 million. Whiteout is the wider of the two releases, but Sorority Row is actually earning better reviews. On a side note, I was not expecting Sorority Row to be this well received by critics. Given its genre, it likely won't matter, as members of its target audience are among the least likely to read or be swayed by reviews, but this could help predict solid word of mouth. On the other hand, Whiteout could collapse before the weekend is over. Look for Sorority Row to pull in just over $10 million, while Whiteout should end with just under that mark.

Inglourious Basterds looks like it should add about $6 million to its running tally, which will be more than enough to push it over $100 million. This would be only the second $100 million hit in Quentin Tarantino's career, and by the end of its run, it will overtake Pulp Fiction to become his biggest movie in dollar terms.

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Filed under: Inglourious Basterds, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, 9, Sorority Row, Whiteout