Weekend Predictions: Will New Releases Work?

It's the Labor Day long weekend, a weekend that a lot of families like to spend outdoors, or on a last minute vacation before school starts. It is generally a bad time to release a film, but three films hope to outperform the historical averages for the weekend. I don't think it will work. The Possession could win the weekend, but Lawless also has a shot. The other wide release, The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, doesn’t have a shot at top spot. It doesn't have a shot at the top ten. It does have a shot at breaking records, on the other hand. As for the holdovers, The Expendables has a shot at the threepeat, but that would be really bad news for the overall box office. Speaking of which, last year, none of the new wide releases were able to crack $10 million, which left The Help in first place. I don't think any film this year will top that film's weekend haul, but overall the depth is better this year and perhaps we can eke out a win in the year-over-year comparison.

Lawless opened in first place on Wednesday, but with just $1.14 million. This is better than Hit and Run's or Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D's Wednesday openings, but weaker than Hope Springs' or The Odd Life of Timothy Green's Wednesday openings. ... Why have there been so many Wednesday openings this month? With overall positive reviews and the holiday, it should have better legs than Hit and Run and I think it will crack $10 million over the three-day weekend, but barely. From Wednesday through Monday, it could come in at $15 million. That's a good start for this time of year, but hardly a major hit.

The Possession should be in virtual time with Lawless over the four-day portion of the weekend. The film's trailer isn't bad, but the reviews are weaker than I would have liked. Horror films to tend to do pretty good during this particular weekend and Lionsgate has done well with this genre. Maybe it will earn more than Lawless will; there's a chance it will be a surprise hit with $16 million over four days compared to $15 million over six for Lawless. However, with the trio of bombs last weekend, I'm a little worried about predicting anything that big. I'm going with $12 million over the four-day weekend.

The Expendables 2 should add close to $12 million over the 4-day weekend, which might be enough for first place, if the two main new releases struggle. After the weekend, the film should have roughly $70 million in the bank, which is lower than its predecessor, but should be enough to earn a profit during its home market run.

2016: Obama's America should rise to fourth place with $10 million over the four-day weekend for a total of $24 million after more than a month and a half of release. Its reviews have sunk to below 50%, but this movie is merely preaching to the converted, so reviews hardly matter. In fact, bad reviews might help, because it will play well with the crowd that thinks the media has a liberal bias.

ParaNorman should round out the top five with $9 million, while The Bourne Legacy will be right behind.

The final wide release of the week is The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, which broke a record on Wednesday with just $102,564 in 2,160 theaters. That's the worst opening day box office for a film playing in more than 2,000 theaters ever, beating Delgo's previous record of $130,000 also in 2,160. This film has the holiday and better reviews, so perhaps it will recover over the weekend and avoid breaking the record for the worst opening weekend for a film playing in more than 2,000. (Delgo also holds that record.) I think it could be close. At this point, the best case scenario is about $2 million from Wednesday through Monday, but just under half that is more likely.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-08-30