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Weekend Predictions: Will Despicable Be Picable?

July 4th, 2013

It's July 4th, which means it is the Independence Day long weekend, one of the busiest weekends of the year. There are two wide releases looking to compete with the holdovers for box office dollars, but it is clear that Despicable Me 2 has far more box office potential than The Lone Ranger has. Meanwhile, Kevin Hart: Let-Me-Explain should grab a spot in the top ten. Meanwhile, Monsters University, The Heat, and the rest of the holdovers should help the overall box office climb higher than last year.

Early expectations for Despicable Me 2 were strong, as its predecessor was a surprise hit. That film was not only a new franchise, but the studio was entering the lucrative world of digital animation for the first time, so it was a huge risk. This time around, it is a lot safer bet. Not only is it a known commodity, but the reviews are good, very good for a kids movie. Early reports on Wednesday's opening were better than expected and it looks like the film will pull in close to $90 million over the weekend and $140 million over five days. This is about $20 million to $25 million above earlier predictions and puts the film more than halfway to profitability, assuming its P&A budget wasn't insane.

When it was announced they were going to make Pirates of the Caribbean, a movie based on the Disney Ride, a lot of people thought it was a terrible idea. Getting Gore Verbinski to direct and Johnny Depp to star in a $125 million movie based on an amusement park ride sounded insane. The early buzz was awful. Then we started to see bits of the movie in trailers, and people started to change their minds. When it was announced Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp were going to team up again to make a $225 million adaptation of The Lone Ranger, a lot of people thought it was an insane idea. No western has ever made enough money to cover a $225 million box office. Then again, before Pirates of the Caribbean, no pirate movie had made enough to cover a $125 million production budget. So will lightning strike twice? Unlikely. The film's reviews are as bad as the early buzz, perhaps even worse. Additionally, the early reports are it missed expectations on Wednesday with just $10 million to $12 million. Maybe it will rebound tonight and grow over the weekend, but that is probably optimistic and a five-day opening of $60 million is likely as good as it will get. It should top $100 million here, but Disney is probably going to take a huge hit on this one.

The holidays should help Monsters University hold on, but it also has to deal with direct competition. It does have slightly better reviews that the competition and it did hold on rather well last weekend. Look for close to $25 million over the three-day weekend and a running tally of just over $225 million.

The Heat also has to deal with more or less direct competition, but with an R-rating and two female leads, its target audience is different enough that it should hold on relatively well. Look for $22 million over the weekend for a total of $80 million so far and a clear path to $100 million.

World War Z should round out the top five with $15 million over the weekend and over $150 million in total. It is still behind its production budget, but it has earned enough to break even, assuming it is a relatively big hit internationally.

Finally there's Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain. Stand-Up concert movies rarely do well at the box office, but Kevin Hart's previous such film, Laugh at My Pain, earned nearly $8 million in limited release and this film is earning better reviews. This film is opening in nearly 900 theaters, which might be too many for this type of film, but early reports are promising. In fact, it might pull in more than $8 million over the five-day weekend.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Lone Ranger, Monsters University, World War Z, Despicable Me 2, The Heat, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Johnny Depp, Kevin Hart, Gore Verbinski