Weekend Predictions: Are we Witnessing the Extinction of a Franchise?
There is only one wide release of the week, but it is a potential monster hit. It is also potentially the last in a very profitable franchise. Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth film in the Transformers franchise, a franchise that has averaged more than $350 million at the box office. However, they have also averaged well below 50% positive reviews and the poor critical response could finally be taking its toll. It will still crush the competition this weekend, but it likely won't live up to past installments in the franchise. It will also beat last year's new releases and more than double the first place film; however that might not be enough to save 2014. Last year there were five films that pulled in $20 million or more. This year there will be only one. In fact, there will be only four films that pull in $10 million or more.
When I first checked Transformers: Age of Extinction reviews earlier this week, there were only three, but all three were positive. Since then, another 14 reviews have filtered in... all but one have been negative. I went from hoping this movie would be actually good, to worrying it would be the worst in the franchise. Additionally, the buzz for this film is quieter than a monster hit should be. This is evidence that the fans of the franchise are finally tired of the mindless action. It's not even good mindless action. Michael Bay is a terrible director. The sheer size of the movie and the lack of competition could still help it earn just over $100 million during the weekend. However, the weak buzz means it might not be the fastest opening film of the year, it might not perform any better than the group of four films in a tight cluster currently at the top. This puts the low end at just under $90 million. I think it will finish closer to the low end of expectations than the high end opening with $93 million.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 should grab second place with just under $15 million. The reviews and lack of direct competition should help it stay ahead of the third place film, but it clearly won't catch up to the first film.
It will be a close race, but 22 Jump Street will likely finish in third place with just over $14 million. It shares a lot more of its target demographic with Age of Extinction than the rest of the holdovers in the top ten do, which will hurt it more than How to Train Your Dragon 2 giving that film second place. However, it has already made enough to be considered a financial success, so the studio should be happy.
Jersey Boys and Maleficent should be in a close race for fifth place with between $7 million and $8 million. Jersey Boys has the advantage over the weekend, but it will likely be too little, too late. On the other hand, Maleficent should cross $200 million over the weekend.
Date posted: 2014-06-26