Weekend Predictions: Are New Releases Worth Their Weight in Diamonds?

Lucy poster

There are a trio of wide releases coming out this week, sort of. The first of these, if we go alphabetically is And So It Goes, but it is only opening in 1,762 theaters, which is not quite enough to be wide and likely not enough to reach the top five. Hercules and Lucy are both opening truly wide and both are earning reviews that are currently in the overall positive level. (Although it is close enough that it might change.) Lucy will very likely come out on top, while Hercules should earn second place. There's one more film of note, The Fluffy Movie, which is opening in 400 theaters and has a slim chance at making the top ten. This weekend last year saw the release of The Wolverine, which opened with $53.11 million. There's a chance the top two films won't make that much this year. In other words, 2014 is going to lose in the year-over-year comparison yet again.

Lucy stars Scarlett Johansson as the titular Lucy, a woman forced to become a drug mule. However, the package she swallowed breaks, the experimental drugs are released into her system and she gains super powers. The reviews are good, but not great. The buzz is strong, for this time of year, and it shouldn't have too much trouble reaching first place. It might come close to $40 million, but I think $32 million is a safer bet. This likely won't be enough for it to last long enough to reach $100 million domestically, but it will come close enough to make the studio happy.

I'm of two minds when it comes to Hercules. On the one hand, the reviews are the best of the week and Dwayne Johnson does have some star power. On the other hand, The Legend of Hercules was so bad that its stench might hurt this film's chances. On the high end, it could battle for first place with $30 million or so. On the low end, it will open in third place with just under $20 million. Split the difference and you get $24 million for its opening weekend.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes should be relatively close behind with about $20 million lifting its running tally to $175 million, more or less. The film remains on pace to reach $200 million making it one of the few bright spots during an otherwise dismal summer.

The Purge: Anarchy will likely fall 60% during its sophomore stint, which would leave the film with about $12 million over the coming weekend, probably a little less. This is still more than it cost to make, so the studio should be very happy. The film's legs are shaping up to be longer than the original's were, so clearly the improved reviews are helping out.

Planes: Fire and Rescue should round out the top five with $10 million. The film's box office numbers are immaterial, as the film is little more than a commercial for the Cars merchandise line, which is a billion dollar industry.

Next up is And So It Goes, the latest from Rob Reiner, who was for a while one of the most consistent directors around. However, he hasn't has a film earn overall positive reviews since The America President and that's almost 20 years ago. Currently, this film is earning reviews that are only 16% positive and since it is opening in less than 2,000 theaters, it will likely really struggle at the box office. There's a chance it will fail to reach the Mendoza Line, but I think that's a little too pessimistic. On the other hand, $5 million is likely as good as it will get and I don't think it will quite get there.

The final new release of the week is The Fluffy Movie, which is a concert film opening in 400 theaters. It would need to earn just over $3 million to get into the top ten, which is possible, but I think $2 million is more likely. That's still a great start for this type of film.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-07-25