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Weekend Predictions: Will Sandler Slay Immortals, or Will Boots Beat Them All?

November 10th, 2011

2011 continues to stumble to the finish line and I'm starting to get more than a little depressed at the overall box office numbers. This week we have three wide releases, if you stretch the definition of wide a little bit, as J. Edgar will open in less than 2,000 theaters. On the other hand, both Jack and Jill and Immortals are opening in 3,000 theaters and both have a shot at first place. However, Puss in Boots has an even better shot at holding onto first place for the third weekend in a row. While this is good news for Puss in Boots, it's bad news for the box office as a whole. It will likely earn substantially less than last year's number one film, Megamind. The combined openings of the three wide releases coming out this week will likely be larger than three wide releases from last year. If there's a pleasant surprise or two, 2011 will be able to earn the win. At least there's little chance we will see the kind of year-over-year declines we saw the last two weeks.

After last weekend's astounding hold, Puss in Boots looks poised to make it three in a row this weekend. If this was a truly monster hit, a film that was going to finish with more than $400 million, then earning first place three weeks in a row would be great. However, that's not what is happening. It could earn the hat-trick because the new releases are failing to connect with audiences. Granted, it deserves this success, but the competition should push it into third or fourth place by this point. Look for another win with $25 million over the weekend, for a total of $109 million after three.

Jack and Jill and Immortals could be in a very tight race for second place. In fact, hopefully one will be a surprise hit and grab first place. I think the former has the advantage over the latter for a couple reasons. Firstly, Adam Sandler is one of the most reliable box office stars out there. Starting with Waterboy, he's had twelve $100 million hits in the past 13 years. Outside of cameos and a few attempts at more dramatic work, every single movie he's made in the last decade has reached $100 million. On the other hand, every single one of those $100 million hits has earned bad reviews. This paradox is quite amazing. It almost makes Jack and Jill's reviews meaningless, which is good news for the film, as they are terrible. So far there are only ten reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but they are all negative. In fact, some critics are calling it especially bad for an Adam Sandler film. Ouch. That said, it should still earn second place with $23 million, while it could inexplicably have long enough legs to reach $100 million.

Immortals is earning better reviews than Jack and Jill, but currently it is at just 38% positive, so that's not really going to be a selling point and, with only eight reviews, that could change dramatically. Its reviews are currently better than those earned by Conan the Barbarian, which made $21 million in total, and Clash of the Titans, which made $26 million during its first full day of release. The studio, Relativity, finally had its first hit earlier in the year with Limitless, but followed that up with two misses. That's not a track record that inspires a lot of confidence. Immortals has a shot at first place with $25 million, but it could also struggle to reach the mid-teens. Look for third place with $22 million.

Tower Heist missed expectations during its opening weekend and now it hopes to avoid collapsing during its second weekend. If it can avoid a 50% drop-off, it should be able to claim fourth place. On the other hand, earning $13 million over the weekend, for a running tally of $43 million, is not great for a film that cost $85 million to make.

The final wide release of the week is J. Edgar. This film is opening with the best reviews of the three wide releases this week, but with the smallest theater count. Also, while it is earning the best reviews, they are still just 42% positive, which is much weaker than expectations. Worse still, the target demographic is much more likely to look at reviews than those planning on going to Jack and Jill or Immortals. The film opened in limited release on Wednesday and earned more than $50,000 in just 7 theaters and there's a chance it could pull in $15 million and grab fourth place. However, just under $12 million and fifth place is more likely.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Puss in Boots, Immortals, Jack and Jill, J. Edgar, Tower Heist, Shark Night 3D