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Weekend Predictions: Aliens vs. Predator

June 7th, 2012

There is an actual race for top spot on the box office chart between two new releases. We haven't seen that since early February. This week we have Aliens, represented by Prometheus, and we have Predators, represented by Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. Okay, technically only Alex is a predator, but that's close enough. Both films are expected to top last year's number one film, Super 8, and with Snow White and the Huntsman opening better than expected last weekend, the holdovers should be stronger as well. 2012 should finally end the slump that began three weeks ago.

Prometheus is earning some of the best buzz out of any film opening this month. As the long-delayed sequel / prequel to the Alien franchise, expectations were high, but also low. Everyone knew it had the potential to be a huge film, but there were also many that were worried that it would be impossible to live up to the hype. The reality is somewhere in-between. The film's reviews are 75% positive. Even most of the negative reviews compliment the film on its visuals, while complaining that it is not as emotionally engaging as it should be. The more positive reviews call the film epic in the truest sense of the word. As for the film's box office potential, more analysts are predicting between $50 million and $60 million. I'm a little on the bullish side here. I understand Internet Hype often fails to translate into actual ticket sales, but I think this film's pedigree will help it. Also, Men in Black 3 and The Avengers are fading from theaters, so this film should have the target audience mostly to itself. I'm going with a prediction of $57 million, which should be enough for first place. "Should" is the keyword here.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is the third film in the Madagascar franchise, and there's a chance it will be the biggest hit so far. Currently, it is earning the best reviews at 73% positive; however, it is still early and that could change. Expectations range from the high $40 million range to the mid-to-high $50 million range. I think it will be a close race with this film earning $54 million. This means, we could have two films open with more than $50 million for the first time since WALL-E and Wanted did it at the end of June, 2008 and it would be only the second time that's ever happened. It also means the margin of error here is high enough that the top two films will likely trade spots on the daily chart over the weekend. I think Prometheus will win on Friday, but by Sunday, Madagascar 3 will take the lead.

Snow White and the Huntsman opened better than expected last weekend, but I'm not sure how well it will hold on this weekend. It benefited from having a wide target audience with both males and females likely to want to see it. However, a lot of the male moviegoers will moving onto Prometheus this weekend. Additionally, this film's reviews were only mixed, which won't help its legs. On the other hand, even if it falls to just $25 million over the weekend, that will still be enough to get to $100 million in total, meaning it will smash past original expectations and if it can merely match its domestic total internationally, it will show a profit during its initial push on the home market. I'm going with a sophomore stint of $27 million.

Men in Black 3 will have to deal with direct competition this weekend, and with two saturation level releases, its seeing its theater count take a hit. Its box office will likely fall roughly 50% to $14 million over the weekend lifting its running tally to $136 million. Unfortunately, it cost a lot more than that to make and advertise. Fortunately, it is making a lot more than that internationally.

The Avengers will be spending its last weekend in the top five and should add another $11 million to its running tally, which will hit $572 million. It will likely run out of steam before it reaches $600 million, but it might get close enough that the studio will give it a little push over-the-top.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, The Avengers, Men in Black 3, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus