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Summer Movie Fans Going to Hell

July 10th, 2008

After a month-long winning streak, 2008 lost one last weekend when the opening of Hancock was well behind the week-long debut of The Transformers. This weekend, three films are going up against Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I don't think any of the three have a hope in hell of reaching $77 million over the weekend. In fact, it's it not likely that all three of them combined will earn that much, but perhaps we will get a pleasant surprise.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army opens a little more than four years after the original. That film earned great reviews and became a midlevel hit during one of the weaker times of the year at the box office. This film is earning even better reviews and has a solid shot at $100 million at the box office, but first it has to get past this weekend. Most analysts are predicting the movie will open in the low $30 million range. However, given the first film's success on the home market and the second film's reviews, I think it will surprise over the next three days. Best case scenario has the film pulling in $40 million, or more, while $38 million is a little more likely. This should still put it on pace to hit $100 million before all is said and done, but it could be close.

Hancock beat expectations during its six day opening, but not by enough to suspect it will continue its surprising run. The post-holiday weekend should result in a 55% drop-off, which would give the film just over $28 million over this coming weekend, which would put it on track to cross $225 million overall. On the other hand, should audiences have a hangover, then a 60% drop-off could be coming. That would reduce the film's weekend take to $25 million, which would leave it struggling to hit $200 million by the end of its run. The high end is much more likely giving us a final prediction of just under $28 million. Regardless, $200 million would be a fantastic performance.

Also aiming for $200 million is WALL-E, but it will need to recover somewhat from last weekend to get there. Another sharp drop-off this Friday will really hamper its chances, although that seems unlikely at this point. In fact, even with more or less direct competition, it should drop less than 40% to earn just over $20 million over the weekend, which would give it roughly $165 million after three.

Speaking of direct competition, Journey to the Center of the Earth should land in fourth place. This is the latest 3-D film in what could be a growing trend, even if most theaters owners remain unconvinced that the cost to upgrade their screens are worth it. If this film can pull in a per theater average of $10,000 or more, then that would go a long way to convince the others. On the other hand, there are very few analysts who are willing to predict it will be able to do that. In fact, it might not reach half of that, and it would only need $14 million to do so. Granted, $14 million is on the low end, and with reviews that are just over the overall positive level, it does have a shot at third place with just over $20 million. Fourth place with just under $20 million is more likely, but it could surprise.

The final wide release of the week is Meet Dave, which is the latest Eddie Murphy vehicle where he plays multiple parts. This gimmick has worked in the past, including in films like Coming to America and The Nutty Professor films. However, he also tried that route in flops like Vampire n Brooklyn and to a lesser extent, Pluto Nash. So far Meet Dave has earned reviews that are closer to the misses than the hits, and the buzz remains weak. That said, it only needs to make $10 million or so to score a place in the top five and that should be the low end of its potential. Its high end, on the other hand, it roughly $15 or $16 million. Split the difference gives us a prediction of $13 million, which is hardly a great start, but not as bad as it could have been.

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Filed under: Hancock, WALL-E, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Meet Dave