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Weekend Predictions: Will Oscar Glory Shine a Light on Dark?

January 11th, 2013

With the Oscar nominations announced yesterday, most movie aficionados are focusing on that. This is great news for Zero Dark Thirty, which picked up five Oscars yesterday and should lead the box office this week. There are other films opening wide this week. This includes Gangster Squad, which should do acceptable business, even though its reviews are weak. Finally there's A Haunted House, which is an early contender for worst movie of the year. Last year, Contraband opened with just over $24 million and I think Zero Dark Thirty will top that. Overall, 2013 looks pretty good in comparison.

Zero Dark Thirty wasn't among the biggest winners at yesterday’s Oscar nominations announcements and many people are still talking about Kathryn Bigelow's snub. Will this snub hurt the film's chances this weekend, or is it a case of, "There is no such thing as bad publicity."? I think it will be the latter. After all, it still picked up several major nominations and its reviews are outstanding. Finally, its per theater average had been rock solid, even when it expanded significantly this past weekend. Pie-in-the-sky, the film tops $10,000 on the per theater chart pulling in just over $30 million. On the low end, it finishes in first place with just over $20 million. I'm going with $26 million, which is admittedly more bullish than most.

Gangster Squad is the widest release of the week and given its effective trailer, it should have a solid shot at second place. However, given its reviews, it won't have great legs. Most critics do like the style and the action, for the most part, but they are complaining about the plot and the character. There's nothing here you haven't seen done elsewhere, while the characters are little more than templates. Perhaps it will be a surprise hit and earn more than $20 million, which would allow it to compete for first place, but second place with $18 million is more likely.

Django Unchained earned five Oscar nominations and this should help it hold on rather well during the weekend. Earning third place with between $13 million and $14 million is likely, which would lift its total to $128 million so far.

The final wide release of the week is A Haunted House, a parody of a franchise that is already on its way out. So the timing for this film is off. For that matter, this style of parody, which is little more than pop culture references strung together, has long since faded from its peaks. Also, it is opening in barely more than 2000 theaters, so there's not a lot of faith in the film. Finally, the film is earning reviews that are just awful. Granted, there are only six reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but all of them are negative. Many of them are aggressively negative. There's a chance the film will fail to reach the top five with just under $10 million, but fourth place with $13 million seems to be the consensus.

That leaves Les Miserables in fifth place with just over $10 million, but The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey should be right behind with $10 million.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Gangster Squad, Les Miserables, A Haunted House, Kathryn Bigelow