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Weekend Predictions: Will the Box Office Kick it Up a Notch?

August 16th, 2013

Summer blockbuster season has officially ended, but there are four films hoping to grab a share of the limited box office dollars left. Kick-Ass 2 is the clear favorite among analysts, but it is being beat up by critics. Lee Daniels' The Butler is the only other film with a shot at first place. It is earning good reviews, but not great reviews, and I think it will be remembered as busted Oscar bait. Neither Jobs nor Paranoia have a real shot at the top five, nor are they earning critical praise. There were also four films that opened wide this weekend last year. All four of them earned $10 million or more, led by The Expendables II with $28.59, while there were three holdovers with $10 million or more. There's a slim chance Kick-Ass 2 will match The Expendables II, but I wouldn't bet on it. Plus the depth this year is weaker that last year's depth was. That's bad news for the year-over-year comparison.

Kick-Ass 2 is hoping to top Kick-Ass at the box office. It has a really good shot at doing so. On the other hand, it won't match its predecessor's critical praise. At the moment, Kick-Ass 2's Tomatometer Score is a lowly 26% positive. That's not the worst score of the weekend, but that is far from a selling point. The original film generated enough positive goodwill that the sequel should open higher. Maybe it will pull in $28 million, but I think it is best to be a little more cautious and I'm going with $23 million.

Given its subject matter and its cast, it is clear Lee Daniels' The Butler was aiming for Oscar glory. However, it is opening way too early for Awards Season, which is a bad sign. The early reviews were very strong, suggesting it could live up to its potential; however, the reviews have since fallen to 71% positive. This is enough to be a selling point and boosts its box office chances, but not enough to win awards. It has a slim chance to win the race for top spot over the weekend, but I think second place with $20 million is more likely. However, it should have much better legs than Kick-Ass 2 has and in the end will become the biggest hit of the weekend.

We're the Millers should hold on the best earning third place. Granted, its reviews were not the best from last weekend, but it was a Wednesday opening and that helps the sophomore stint decline. It should avoid falling more than 50% earning between $14 million and $15 million.

Elysium did earn the best reviews from last weekend, but the genre and the competition will hurt it the most. It might fall 60% to just under $12 million, which would leave it in fifth place. I think it will avoid that fate earning fourth place with just over $13 million. It will need a lot of help internationally and on the home market to break even.

Disney's Planes should be right behind with just under $13 million. Its reviews are bad, but there's nothing else for kids playing at the moment, not with The Smurfs 2 and Turbo losing so many theaters this weekend.

Neither Jobs nor Paranoia are fighting for a spot in the top five. Both will likely earn $8 million, more or less, but which one will come out on top between the two? Both are opening with roughly the same theater count, so that doesn't help. Jobs' reviews are better than Paranoia's reviews are. However, both are earning terrible reviews and as a drama, Jobs will rely on reviews more than Paranoia. Paranoia has a better cast, which I think will be the tiebreaker over the weekend, but with some of the worst reviews of the year, it will have shorter legs.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, We're the Millers, Elysium, Kick-Ass 2, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Turbo, The Smurfs 2, Paranoia, Disney Planes, Jobs