Weekend Predictions: Will There Be Any Giants at the Box Office?

There are four wide releases this week, but only one of them, Jack the Giant Slayer, has a real shot at first place. I think 21 and Over and The Last Exorcism Part II should be in a close race for second place, but not everyone agrees. As for Phantom, most think it won't even reach the top ten. As for this weekend last year, The Lorax led the way with just over $70 million. There's no real chance any film will earn that much this weekend. In fact, there's a small chance Jack the Giant Slayer won't match Project X's opening of $21 million. It's going to be a bad weekend at the box office.

Jack the Giant Slayer cost $150 million to make, so it needs to make about $300 million worldwide, if it wants a shot to break even sometime on the home market. For that to be a realistic goal, it will need to make $120 million domestically. I don't think that's going to happen. It might not make half of that domestically. Its reviews are nearly exactly 50% positive, which isn't bad, but certainly not good enough to generate a lot of word-of-mouth. On the high end, it could make just over $35 million. On the low end, it might struggle to get much past $20 million. $28 million seems to be the most likely result.

21 and Over is looking to become this year's Project X, but the buzz just isn't there. Also, the reviews have sunk to just 29% positive. Perhaps it will match last year's debut of Project X with $21 million, but it also might not make half of that. I think the low end is more likely here and I'm going with $13 million.

The Last Exorcism opened in the late summer of 2010 earning a surprisingly strong $20 million. It didn't last in theaters too long, because while it was advertised as a straight-up horror film, it was more of a slow burning mockumentary with a horror twist. Even a good film will have trouble holding onto an audience, if it is advertised as something it is not. The Last Exorcism Part II looks like it is more of a straight horror film, which isn't pleasing critics. Also, the buzz is quieter this time around, while the new distributor, CBS Films, has not had a lot of success. Granted, it's biggest success was The Woman in Black, which is a similar film. I think this film has a chance at second place with $15 million; however, a lot of other analysts think it will struggle to reach $10 million. Third place with $12 million is probably a safe bet.

Identity Thief will fall from first to fourth with $9 million, and in the process will cross $100 million in total. In the end, it will very likely earn a profit just on its domestic theatrical numbers, something very few films accomplish. This is such an unexpected boon that the studio should be laughing all the way to the bank. In fact, they might be giggling so hard they can't make it to the bank.

Snitch and Escape From Planet Earth should be in a very close battle for the final spot in the top five, both with $7 million. For the former, this represents an acceptable decline after a lackluster start. For the latter, it is well on its way to profitability, assuming its production budget isn't significantly higher than estimated.

The final new release of the week is Phantom, which is the first wide release by RCR Media Group. Distributing movies is not an easy business and I've personally lasted longer at this job than some startups have. The film is opening in 2,000 theaters, but without the advertising campaign there to back it up. Additionally, it is earning the worst reviews of the week. If it can avoid the Mendoza Line, then it will reach the top ten with $4 million. However, most think it will fail to reach that low bar. In fact, it likely won't get halfway there. Look for under $2 million during its opening, which would be the third worst opening for a truly wide release.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-03-01