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Will 13 Be Lucky for Ocean?

June 7th, 2007

Moviegoers craving originality this weekend might have to look somewhere other than the wide releases. We have the third movie in a trilogy, a sequel, and the second digitally animated penguin picture to open within a year. Even so, all three have enough strength that the overall box office should maintain its strong pace when compared to last year.

The fourth trilogy-capper of the summer opens tomorrow as Ocean's Thirteen debuts in 3,565 theaters and has a clear path to first place. The first film became a major hit, and there was little doubt that the studio would be trying to capitalize on that success. However, Ocean's Twelve turned out to be a disappointment both critically and financially and most people thought that would be the end of the franchise. But it is back, and while it is not as good as the original, it is still earning very positive reviews, which are among the best for a wide release of the week. (Strangely, that honor was held by all three of the wide releases at one time or another this week.)

Ocean's Thirteen is on track to open with as much, or slightly more than the previous installments while the reviews and sequelitis should place its legs somewhere in the middle, but on the low end. Look for just over $40 million over the weekend and $135 million in total.

Agree? Disagree? Planning on scamming your way into the theater? Then check out our latest box office contest.

(On a side note, tomorrow we will be debuting the new schedule for our box office prediction contests, which will allow the readers more time to enter. So start thinking about Nancy Drew and its box office chances now and get ready to enter tomorrow.)

Surf's Up is opening in just a few less theaters than Ocean's Thirteen but with slightly more positive reviews. However, the buzz is much, much weaker. Perhaps having two digitally animated penguin movies released within a year of each other is too much. That said, the film still has a shot at second place and could even cross $100 million by the time it leaves theaters. In order to do that, it will need to have a faster start than most analysts are expecting, which is in the low $20 million range. If it can come closer to $30 million, and survive the competition over the next few weeks, it could make it there, but an opening of $27 million and a box office total of just over $90 million is more likely.

After hitting a bull's-eye last weekend, Knocked Up hopes to have a strong follow-up this weekend. The film was able to wrestle top spot from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on the daily chart this week, and that bodes very well for the film's chances this weekend. Some are even suggesting it will show better legs than The 40-Year Old Virgin, which would mean a sophomore weekend of more than $23 million and that would put it on pace for nearly $150 million overall. On the other hand, the low end has it earning barely more than $15 million over the weekend and that would put $100 million in jeopardy. Given the film's unbelievably positive reviews, it should finish on the higher end, giving the film just over $20 million over the weekend and $66 million in total. This makes $100 million practically academic and depending on how much it cost to advertise, it could show a profit without taking into account international or home market numbers.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End's midweek numbers were not as strong as I would have liked and it is even losing a significant chunk of theaters this weekend. Even so, it should still recover from last weekend's post-holiday dive of more than 60% with some analysts predicting that it won't even fall 50% this weekend. I think the drop in theater count makes that a little optimistic, but it should finish within a whisker of Knocked Up with just under $20 million. That's not a bad total, but it might take a small push to lift the film past $300 million in the end.

The final wide release of the week is Hostel II, the sequel to last year's surprise hit, Hostel. There have been a number of sequels to low budget horror films released in the past year or so, and almost without exception, they have failed to live up to their predecessors. This is bad news for this movie, bad news that is compounded by it’s weak reviews. Granted, 55% positive isn't terrible -- in fact, it's barely lower than the original earned -- but recent history suggests it won't open with as much as the original and the sequel effect will keep its legs even lower. Look for $17 million over the weekend and just under $40 million in total.


Filed under: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Knocked Up, Ocean's Thirteen, Surf's Up, Hostel: Part II