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Seven Day Weekend

July 3rd, 2007

The weekend lasts seven days this time around, starting on Monday evening at 8 p.m. with the debut of The Transformers in roughly 3,000 theaters. And with July Fourth on Wednesday, there are films opening up practically every day this week.

Based on the 1980s cartoon, which was in turn based on a line of toys, The Transformers hopes to get July moving with a bang. There's little doubt that it will top the charts this weekend, but there are varying opinions on how big it will be. Part of the problem is the highly unusual release schedule as it is very rare for films to open midweek and a Monday opening is nearly unheard of. That said, there are some traditional indicators that we can look at. For instance, the film does have some serious advantages, including a nearly perfect tone for a summer blockbuster and reviews that are overall positive (although they have cooled from earlier numbers). And, with a crowd of eager Fanboys, it could pull in a surprising amount of money. On the other hand, TV adaptations have never been able to produce a $200 million movie, which is what the film would have to pull in to cover its $150 million production budget.

Fortunately, The Transformers got off to a great start on Monday, earning an estimated $8.1 million and taking first place. That's very impressive for a movie that was only able to have a few showings during the evening. The easiest comparison is to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which pulled in $13.2 million during its evening showings. There need to be some qualifiers here as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End debuted on a Thursday and not a Monday and that bodes well for The Transformers. On the other hand, The Transformers has several more days before the weekend, which will alleviate some of the pressure and deflate the weekend box office numbers. However, with significantly better reviews, it could build during the coming days.

It should see growth during its first full day and pull in at least $50 million before the weekend starts. Then from Friday to Sunday, it should add just over $60 million for a $115 million opening week. However, this could be more than it makes during the rest of its run, but that will still be enough to get the studio working on a sequel. (Grimlock, smash!)

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After a slower than expected, but still very profitable start, Ratatouille hopes to ride the Pixar name and stellar reviews to a soft sophomore stint drop-off. Cars saw a 44% drop-off during its second weekend, and it didn't have nearly the same strong reviews. Then again, it also had a better internal multiplier. Using Cars as a template gives us a prediction of just over $26 million, but my gut says it will top $30 million over the weekend, hitting $100 million along the way.

Speaking of $100 million, Live Free or Die Hard seems destined to get there, but it will take at least one more week to reach that goal. The film won't hold on as well as Ratatouille thanks to a combination of its target audience, weaker reviews, and direct competition. That said, it should still pull in roughly $17 million over the weekend, and the midweek / holiday numbers will put it one week from becoming the 13th film to reach than milestone this year... or the 14th if Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix beats it there.

Next up is License to Wed. This is the latest attempt for Robin Williams to kill all memory of his Oscar win or his years of stellar comedic work starting in stand-up and continuing in TV and movies. Not too long ago Robin Williams was one of the biggest box office draws in the business, but there's almost no shot that this film will help him return to those heights. Critically speaking, it is one of the worst reviewed movies of the year and could struggle to hit $10 million over the weekend. However, it should earn more than that before the weekend hits giving it a $21 million, 6-day start.

Lastly we get to Evan Almighty, which is watching as $100 million slips out of grasp. It should come reasonably close with just over $8 million this weekend and just under $78 million in total.

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Filed under: Transformers, Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, Evan Almighty, License to Wed