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Weekend Predictions: Going for the Hat Trick

April 28th, 2011

Analysts are optimistic this week, and for good reason. Not only is one of the most anticipated films of the spring opening this week, it is opening with better than expected reviews and with buzz that is growing at the right time. There's an outside chance that the number one film this year will earn more than the top ten films earned this weekend last year. Even if the top film misses expectations by a 50% margin, 2011 should still earn its third victory in a row in the year-over-year comparison.

Fast Five is the fifth, but definitely not last installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise. The next films will be called Speedy Six followed by Swift Seven. (Okay, I admit I made that up, but it would be awesome.) The franchise has never been a winner with critics and only the first film even came close to earning overall positive reviews. That is until now. Expeditious Eight! The latest film is earning 81% positive reviews, which is fantastic. Granted, a lot of positive reviews still call the film silly, but it is by most accounts an expertly crafted popcorn flick with enough action to satisfy even the most demanding connoisseur of such films. Nimble Nine! At the beginning of the month, I was expecting the film to open with just over $70 million and finish with $150 million. Now there is a chance it could open with more than $80 million and finish with $200 million. That's probably too optimistic and I'm going with a prediction of $77 million for its opening and $175 million in total. Up-Tempo Ten! Okay, I'm done.

Rio should have no trouble getting to $100 million over the weekend, becoming just the fourth film of 2011 to do so. Look for close to $17 million over the weekend for a total of $106 million after three.

Tyler Perry films tend to have short legs, and Madea's Big Happy Family will likely be no exception. This is particularly bad, as it struggled during its opening. Worse case scenario has the film plummeting more than 60% to under $10 million, but I think it will avoid that fate, but not by much. I going with $11 million over the weekend.

The buzz around Prom is on par with original expectations, maybe a tiny bit higher. It's reviews are acceptable, especially for its target audience, but the lack of star power is still an issue. There's a chance it could become the biggest career hit for the director, Joe Nussbaum, by the end of the weekend. Sadly, it would only take about $12 million to top Sydney White. (That film was under-appreciated.) On the other hand, it might not make half that much during its opening weekend. I'm going with just over $10 million.

The original Hoodwinked opened to mixed reviews, but was a bigger than expected hit, earning just over $50 million on a budget of less than $20 million. Six years later Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil is coming out, but very few people think it will match its predecessor at the box office. Firstly, the reviews are much weaker and its Tomatometer Score is barely in the double-digits. Secondly, the direct competition is stronger with Rio possessing the highest theater count of any film this weekend, while Hop is still playing in more than 3000 theaters. It might pull in more than $12 million, which would be enough for third place. However, it could also miss the top five entirely with under $8 million. Fifth place with just under $10 million seems likely.

However, if any of the previous three films slip, then Water for Elephants will be there to grab fifth place with $9 million or so.

There is one more semi-wide release coming out this week, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. The high-concept comic adaptation would only need about $3.5 million to $4 million to reach the top ten, but that seems out of reach for a few reasons. Firstly, while the comic book is popular in Italy, it is mostly unknown here. Secondly, it is opening in less than 1000 theaters, which is one of Freestyle's wider releases, but still not truly wide. Finally, there are no reviews. That's never a good sign this close to release. Maybe it will sneak into the top ten with $3.5 million, but $2.5 million is more likely. It does have potential to find a more enthusiastic audience on the home market.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Rio, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil, Madea's Big Happy Family, Fast Five, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Water for Elephants, Prom, Hop