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Weekend Predictions: Braving the Uncertainty

June 21st, 2012

This is not a fun time to be a box office analyst, as there has been a lot of unpredictability recently. Predicting the number one film is easy, as Brave is the only film earning any real buzz. In fact, people will be comparing it to Cars 2 more than any other film playing in theaters this weekend. This is partially because Cars 2 opened this weekend last year, but also because that was Pixar's most recent film. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has generated a lot of buzz on the internet, but that means little at the box office. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World will need to connect with more mature moviegoers, and while they haven't had a lot of wide releases to check out, the film is opening in less than 2000 theaters, which will hurt its box office chances. Unless we have some pleasant surprises, we could see another loss in the year-over-year comparison.

Pixar's track record is solid, but Brave has a few obstacles to over come. Firstly, the most recent film from the studio was Cars 2, which was the only film made by Pixar to not earn overall positive reviews. Also, the film is the first from Pixar to feature a female lead. This is one of the prime reasons I want to see the movie; however, common wisdom states it is more difficult to sell a movie with a female lead to young boys than it is to sell a movie with a male lead to young girls. Finally, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted has done well, so there's direct competition in theaters. Fortunately, Brave's reviews are excellent, although below average for the studio. Tracking numbers have also picked up and just over $70 million is possible. That's too bullish for me, but I think $62 million is a solid goal.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted will finally get knocked out of top spot, but it should still earn $18 million over the weekend for a total of $155 million after three. This is more than it cost to make and it is an even bigger hit internationally, so it should have no trouble breaking even.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the latest film by Timur Bekmambetov, so it should come as no surprise that many critics are praising the film's look. However, overall it is earning the worst reviews of his career. There are many films that have thrived on Internet Buzz but failed to sell tickets despite earning really good reviews. (I'd list some here, but it is too depressing.) For a film to earn such poor reviews is a really bad sign. Best case scenario has the film earning just over $20 million. But, it could also struggle to top $10 million. Safest prediction is $15 million over the weekend, but that will result in a quick exit from theaters.

Prometheus should reach the century mark very early in the weekend making it the first in the Alien franchise to do so. However, with $10 million over the next three days and a running tally of $109 million, it is still under-performing at the box office.

I really don't know what will happen to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. It is opening in well under 2000 theaters, which suggests the studio doesn't have a lot of faith in the film. Its reviews are just under the overall positive level, which normally would be good enough for a wide release. However, this film is aimed at a more mature target audience and these moviegoers are much more likely to read and trust critics. The film could be a surprise hit and earn just over $10 million, which could be enough for third place. On the other hand, it could struggle to reach $5 million and that would barely be enough for tenth place. I'm going with 5th place with $8 million, but both Rock of Ages and That's My Boy should be relatively close behind looking for a shot at the top five.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Brave, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Rock of Ages, Prometheus, That's My Boy, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World