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Will 2010 Remain in the Red?

October 14th, 2010

The past few weeks haven't exactly been kind to the box office, with more films struggling than soaring. The industry as a whole is obviously hoping things turn around this weekend and 2010 ends its losing streak against 2009. We've lost ground four of the past five weekends. Worse still, three of those times 2010 failed to get within 10% of 2009's weekend number. Turning things around might be more than a little difficult, as this time last year there were five films that earned $10 million or more, while this year we might not have three films do the same.

It appears the consensus has Jackass 3D winning the weekend race at the box office, and with relative ease. It's hard to argue with that, as the previous two films both did surprisingly well at the box office. Add in 3D and the inflated ticket prices that go along with that, and there's little doubt this film will also be a massive hit. There is some doubt, but not much. For instance, the TV series that spawned the movie franchise is now 10 years old, and there's a chance that the people that loved the show when they were in their teens and early twenties have grown out of that phase. On the other hand, the reviews for the first two films were better than expected, and if that trend continues, then Jackass 3D could be a very big hit. Both Resident Evil and Final Destination saw 3D add about 20% to the final box office figure of their most recent installment. If that happens here, Jackass 3D should finish with about $85 million, give or take. In order to do that, it will need to start with close to $35 million. That's more than most analysts are predicting, but I think it is a reasonable goal. Hell, $40 million isn't out of the question.

The other wide release of the week is Red, which is a film destined to make more than a few box office watchers more than a little cross. It is opening in more theaters than Jackass 3D, it is opening with reviews that remain stellar, and it has incredible star power. And all of that appears to adds up to a distant second place. Expectations range from mid-to-high teens, with an outside shot at $20 million. If its reviews remain at 80% positive, more or less, it could have stronger than average legs, something that its more mature target demographic could also contribute to. Because of that, if the film can come close to $20 million, say $18 million, it will still have a shot at matching original expectations. On the other hand, we could see it open with barely more than $10 million and disappear by the time November starts.

After two weekends on top, The Social Network should be pushed into third place with $10 million, more or less. That will give it a running tally of $62 million and leave it on pace to reach $100 million in total, assuming its reviews translate into some measure of Awards Season success.

Secretariat didn't exactly get out of the gate as quickly as the studio wanted, but it could show strong legs down the stretch, at least stronger legs than Life As We Know It. The latter film earned nearly 30% more during its opening day than Secretariat did, but by Monday, Secretariat overtook its rival. (Granted, that didn't last long.) I suspect the two will have an equally close race this weekend trading places on the daily chart at least once more. In the end, Secretariat should win the race for fourth place over Life As We Know It at just over $8 million to just under $8 million.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Secretariat, Life as We Know It, The Social Network, Red, Jackass 3D