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Weekend Predictions: Will New Releases Keep 2012's Winning Streak Safe?

February 9th, 2012

2012 has beaten 2011 every single weekend so far and we could see that streak survive at least one more weekend thanks to three wide releases: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Safe House, and The Vow, plus a re-release, Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace. That's a crowded slate and normally I would assume one or more of the films would be squeezed out at the box office, but now I'm not so sure, as even the weakest amongst them is tracking for close to $20 million. By comparison, this weekend last year three films earned more than $25 million and only one new release failed to connect with audiences. So it could be a tough race, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

The Vow could become the first film released in 2012 to reach $100 million. It's tracking numbers are excellent, especially for this type of film. Its reviews are not great, but they are better than Valentine's Day's reviews were and that film earned $56 million during its opening weekend. Granted, that film benefited from Presidents Day long weekend and Valentine's day landing on the Sunday, neither of which apply this weekend. That said, The Vow does have a shot at $40 million, which would make $100 million in total quite easy to get to. $35 million is probably more likely, but this still leaves $100 million in sight.

In Safe House, Denzel Washington plays a rogue CIA agent who is captured and Ryan Reynolds plays an inexperienced CIA agent who has to defend him when they become the targets of an unknown paramilitary group. At the moment, the film's reviews are barely above 50% positive, which is not a great result, but better than a lot of films that come out this time of year. The buzz is good and there are some who think it will crack $30 million over the weekend. I think $27 million is more likely. With Presidents Day long weekend next weekend, it might have better than average legs and $100 million isn't out of the question, if it can get off to a slightly faster than expected start.

There are few Fanboys more fanatical than those who love Star Wars and they will get their chance to show their love this weekend with the 3D re-release of Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace. On the one hand, it is the first installment of one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. On the other hand, the movie earned the weakest reviews of the six films in the franchise. Back to the original hand, at 60% positive, its reviews are better than the three wide releases this week. Returning to that second hand, it does have the smallest theater count of the films expected to reach the top five. Back to the original hand, again, it has the best advanced ticket sales. The film should earn $20 million, more or less, and I'm going with a prediction of $21 million.

The final wide release of the week is Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which is actually the widest release of the four new films. However, it's buzz is quite weak with a lot of people writing it off as an unnecessary sequel. Its reviews are a step down from its predecessor's reviews, but still within the acceptable range for a family friendly action film. Unfortunately, perception is often times more important than reality when it comes to box office numbers and opening with $20 million might be too much to ask for. On the other hand, a $17 million opening is a relatively safe bet.

The only holdover in the top five will be Chronicle with about $11 million, while The Woman in Black should be right behind with $10 million. Both films are already financial successes, with profitability guaranteed.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace, The Woman in Black, Safe House, The Vow, Chronicle, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island