Weekend Predictions: All the Presidents' Valentines

It's Valentine's Day today, while Monday is President's Day, so the box office has an unofficial five-day weekend. There's not much of a mystery regarding which of the four wide releases will top the chart this weekend, as nearly everyone expects A Good Day to Die Hard will come out on top. Maybe Safe Haven will earn first place tonight, but very few expect that will last after Valentine's day. Despite earning better than expected reviews, Beautiful Creatures isn't expected to compete for the top spot, or even second place. So far there are no reviews for Escape From Planet Earth and it might be stuck in fifth place. Because of a misalignment in Valentine's Day, we should do better this weekend compared to the same weekend last year, which is good news, as 2013 is in a mini-slump.

The Die Hard franchise is 25 years old this year. That's impressive. Unfortunately, very few critics are impressed by the latest installment, A Good Day to Die Hard. So far the film's reviews are just 13% positive, which is easily the worst in the franchise. On the other hand, the film has a good shot at having the fastest opening in the franchise. Live Free or Die Hard currently holds that record at $33.37 million over the three day period. There are some who think this will top that. I think $40 million over four days is a little more likely, plus another $9 million tonight, for a total opening of $49 million. There are others who think this franchise has had its day and this installment will struggle with barely $33.37 million over the full five days. Let's hope that's not the case, because we don't need another box office miss at this time.

It is not surprising that Safe Haven is earning terrible reviews, as almost everything Nicholas Sparks touches is reviled by critics. Even so, his films tend to do really well at the box office, and this one should be no exception. Expectations for its five-day opening range from the low $20 million range to the mid $30 million range. I think it will be big earning first place tonight and $32 million from Thursday through Monday. Clearly more of his novels will be adapted into films.

After a better than expected opening, Identity Thief should settle into third place with $25 million over the next five days. This is more than it was expected to open with, although this is comparing a five-day with a three-day weekend. By the end of business on Monday, the film's running tally will be pushed past $70 million, which is enough to pay for its entire production budget. All it will need is to cover its global P&A internationally to break even before the home market. That's an impressive and unexpected box office run.

Beautiful Creatures is earning the best reviews of the weekend, although in this case, the "best reviews" is still below 50% positive. Unfortunately, the buzz still hasn't grown and there are some analysts who think this film will finish in fifth place over the weekend. I hope it will surprise with more than $25 million, giving it third place. But it might also settle for fifth place over the four-day weekend with $13 million. Go with $22 million over five days, which likely isn't enough to turn the film into a franchise. Not unless it does much better internationally.

The only wide release not coming out tonight is Escape From Planet Earth. It debuts tomorrow, but there are still no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a really bad sign. Little kids rarely read reviews, so the film must be terrible if the studio is concerned about the effect bad reviews will have. There certainly isn't a lot of buzz to go on. It will likely earn fifth place with $15 million, but it could make $12 million to $18 million and I wouldn't be too surprised. It is hard to judge without more information.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-02-14