Weekend Predictions: Hunting the Competition

There are three wide releases during the final weekend of January, but it looks like none of them will please critics. As I write this, the three films have a total of seven reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, none of them are positive. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters should easily be the biggest hit of the three new films, but not everyone thinks it will come out on top, as Mama could remain potent. Parker and Movie 43 will likely struggle and getting to just $10 million over the weekend might be asking too much. Fortunately, the combination of new releases and holdovers is very similar to last year, so 2013 could win yet another weekend to start the year.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is opening in more than 3000 theaters, but so far there is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes. And it is negative. It does have an interesting premise, a look at Hansel and Gretel 15 years after the events in the fairytale. However, like all high-concept films, the execution can turn a good idea to an utter mess. It is too soon to tell if the critics think it is an utter mess, but the first review is a bad omen. On the other hand, it looks like the other two movies could be even worse, and it certainly has the loudest buzz, so it should win the weekend with about $18 million. There are some who think it will have a breakout opening with $25 million or more, but there are also some it will struggle to reach $15 million.

After a monster opening... After a monster opening for a January release, Mama has a shot at repeating on top of the box office chart, if Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters earns on the low end of expectations. It will likely add about $16 million over the weekend for a two-week total of $50 million. This is likely more than it cost to make and advertise. If it can get to $75 million, it will have made enough to break even just on its domestic numbers. That doesn't happen very often.

I'm going against the grain here and predicting Zero Dark Thirty will earn third place with $11 million. It does have amazing reviews and the ongoing Oscar buzz can only help. Also, I'm a little less bullish about the other two new releases, so I think this film will benefit from weak competition.

Movie 43 is an anthology comedy with a massive cast. However, its impressive cast might be the only thing impressive about the movie. It is not being screened for critics, none of the cast are promoting the movie, and it is opening in just 2,023 theaters. All of these are terrible signs. I think it could bomb utterly and miss the top five with $6 million. On the other hand, many critics think it will earn third place with between $11 million and $12 million. Let's go with $10 million and fourth place.

Parker is the latest Jason Statham film. He has starred in a lot of films, but almost all of them have been middling hits and nothing more. Unfortunately, this film's reviews are currently terrible with just one positive review out of the seven posted. (This is sadly a step up from where it was when I started this column.) Like the previous film, it could miss the top five with between $6 million and $7 million, but I think that's a little pessimistic. I think $8 million is the safest bet. However, if it does struggle even a little bit, then Silver Linings Playbook could grab fifth place.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-01-24