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Weekend Predictions: Will Breaking Dawn Break Records?

November 17th, 2011

2011 got some much needed good news last weekend, as the overall box office topped expectations and we saw year-over-year growth. The industry sure hopes we can continue that winning trend this week. There are some reasons to be optimistic, even though this weekend last year saw the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, which made just over $125 million during its opening weekend. Most analysts think The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 will top that figure with relative ease. Additionally, Happy Feet 2 looks like it will be a very solid counter-programming release and, on the high end, the top two films could make more this weekend than the entire box office made last year. It's probably too late for 2011 to catch up with 2010, but every victory is still worth celebrating.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 is the penultimate release for the Twilight franchise. (Unless they go ahead with the rumored Bree Tanner spin-off.) The previous two films made just under $300 million and just over $300 million, respectively, and there's little reason to doubt this film will do the same. There is the issue with the reviews, which are currently just 21% positive, or the weakest in the franchise. I'm not entirely surprised its reviews are weak; after all, the franchise has never cracked 50% positive. Also, since this movie is only the first part of the novel, it is not going to feel like a complete story and that will also hurt its reviews. On the other hand, the critical reception has still been a little harsher than I was anticipating. That said, the film is likely to be critic-proof and an opening weekend of just over $150 million is within reach.

Happy Feet opened this time of year five years ago earning first place with just over $40 million. Happy Feet 2 won't top the chart this weekend, but it might top the original's opening. Granted this film is dealing with intense competition, plus it's reviews are substantially weaker than the original's reviews. On the low end, the film should open in the low $30 million range. On the high end, it could open in the high $40 million range. I'm going with $42 million over the weekend and an easy route to $100 million.

There could be quite a battle for third place. Immortals should have the advantage, although its target audience is known for abandoning films after the opening weekend. A 60% drop-off is not out of the question, while avoiding a 50% drop-off is likely too optimistic. Splitting the difference gives you a prediction of $14.5 million over the weekend, for a total of $56 million after two. However, there is a chance it will really drop and fifth place with under $13 million is a possibility.

Puss in Boots has good reviews, but has to deal with direct competition. Jack and Jill has horrible reviews, but also has Adam Sandler. His movies tend to have longer legs that you would expect. They earned nearly identical amounts last weekend and they should do so again this weekend with each film earning $13 million, more or less.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Puss in Boots, Happy Feet Two, Immortals, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, Jack and Jill