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Weekend Predictions: Will Lantern Pull in the Green?

June 16th, 2011

After a strong start to the summer, which actually began in late April, we could hit a real roadblock this weekend. The only film earning any kind of buzz is Green Lantern, and not all of that buzz is good. Additionally, this weekend last year was dominated by Toy Story 3, which opened with $110 million. There is a chance the top five films won't make that much this year.

Green Lantern is the third major comic book movie to come out this year, and while Thor and X-Men: First Class were able to impress critics and moviegoers, this film could have a much more difficult time finding an audience. Firstly, it is a decidedly second-tier comic character. Granted, so was Thor, but Thor will also be featured in The Avengers, so fans of either comic book line would have been drawn to the theaters for that film. So without a huge built-in audience, this movie will need strong word-of-mouth to survive. Sadly, that's not going to be the case, as the film's reviews are awful. They are not Batman & Robin bad, but close. That said, there's no direct competition opening this week; no real indirect competition, for that matter. And it is very likely Green Lantern will cruise to victory over the weekend. The only question is whether or not it will top films like First Class or perhaps even Thor. I think the latter is extremely unlikely and topping $60 million seems too bullish for me. On the other hand, most think it will at least crack $50 million during its opening weekend. Split the difference and you get an opening weekend of $55 million. That's not a great start for a film that cost $200 million to make, so it will need good international or home market numbers to break even, and it will need to do well in both if the planned trilogy is to go ahead.

Super 8 will benefit from reviews that are 83% positive, but will also suffer against direct competition. However, with that film earning surprisingly weak reviews, this film should benefit as a result and many analysts are predicting it will avoid a 50% drop-off. Earning $19 million over the weekend is the most likely result, but topping $20 million isn't out of the question. This could be enough for second or third place, depending on how well Mr. Popper's Penguins performs.

At the beginning of the month, I was expecting one of the two new films coming out this week to earn mixed reviews, and the other to earn terrible reviews. However, I wasn't expecting Mr. Popper's Penguins to be the bigger hit with critics. Granted, 46% positive is hardly an award-worthy result, but I was expecting the film would be closer to 20% positive. On the other hand, there are people who are mentioning this film and Marmaduke in the same sentence, which is a really bad sign. It still has a shot at second place with just over $20 million, but third place with $15 million is more likely.

X-Men: First Class crossed $100 million on Monday, making it the 11th film released in 2011 to reach that milestone. Granted, it is under-performing compared to original expectations, and its production budget is higher than initially reported. That said, if it can earn $13 million over the weekend, it will be on pace to crack $150 million domestically, or at least come close. If it can match this figure internationally and do well on the home market, it should earn a profit in the end.

Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Hangover 2 will be in a battle for fifth place with roughly $10 million each. The former is about to become the biggest animated hit of the year, while the latter is already the biggest hit of the year overall. However, neither of those films will hold onto those titles for long.

The is also a semi-wide release that has a shot at reaching the top ten, The Art of Getting By. This film is opening in just over 600 theaters, which means it will need a per theater average of about $5,000 to $6,000 to crack the top ten. This is not an impossibility and the film has a good cast helping out first time writer / director Gavin Wiesen. Fox Searchlight has had more than its fair share of success in recent years. In fact, they've released a $100 million hit three years in a row. That's something their parent company, Fox, nearly failed to do last year. With better than average buzz for a limited release, things were looking up. Or they were looking up until the reviews started coming in. There's a slim chance it will open with close to $4 million and grab tenth place, but just over $2 million is looking a lot more likely now.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Green Lantern, The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Art of Getting By, Super 8, Mr. Poppers's Penguins