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Madea Takes on Oscar

February 20th, 2009

The Oscars are being handed out this weekend, which means a lot of moviegoers will be more interested in watching the ceremonies on TV than going to the theaters. Studios know this, which explains the weak slate of movies coming out this week. In fact, there's only one film opening truly wide this week, and only one other that comes close. That said, it's still better than last year and 2009 should continue its amazing pace.

Madea Goes to Jail is the latest from Tyler Perry and features his most popular character, Madea. At least it's popular with its target audience, but there's little crossover appeal here. In fact, since there are no reviews, it is safe to say the studio thinks there will be no appeal with critics either. That said, most Madea films have done poorly with the critics and still become solid, mid-level hits and this one should be no different. On the high end, it could break Tyler Perry's personal best opening with more than $30 million. On the low end it could fail to crack $20 million. Split the difference and we get $25 million over its opening weekend, but likely under $60 million in total.

It's a good thing Friday the 13th made more at the box office than it cost to make, because it looks like it will completely collapse this weekend. Not only were the reviews weak, but the film's day-to-day drop-offs have been terrible. The film started off with nearly $20 million opening night, but made barely more than $1 million on Wednesday. It should recover over the weekend, especially since its target audience will be less likely to care enough about the Oscars to skip going to the movies over the weekend. That said, it will still fall by more than 60% to $15 million over the weekend. Even that might be generous, and we could see a record drop-off for a film that opened in first place.

Taken's strong run should continue with it declining roughly 33% to just over $12 million over the next three days, while its running tally should climb to $95 million after 24. At this point, reaching $100 million is a mere formality, which is amazing for a film released in January.

He's Just Not That Into You should slide into fourth place with $12 million over the weekend, giving it $73 million after three. This is more than originally anticipated and should make the studio very happy.

Coraline's strong midweek numbers (well, strong for a kids movie) is a good omen going forward. There's a chance it could rise a spot to fourth, if He's Just Not That Into You stumbles during the post-Valentine weekend; however, it is more likely that it will remain in fifth place with $10 million over the weekend.

Fired Up is the only other wide release of the week, although since it is opening in just under 2,000 theaters, it is not entirely accurate to call it a truly wide release. With a small theater count, lack of buzz, and weak reviews, there's little hope that this film will be a major hit. (Although to be fair, a lot of critics said the movie is better than expected. Better than expected, but still not worthy of a positive review.) A per theater average of $5,000 would give the film an opening weekend of just over $9 million, but just under $8 million seems more likely. Hardly a powerhouse start, but not a disaster either.


Filed under: Taken, He's Just Not That Into You, Madea Goes To Jail, Coraline, Friday the 13th, Fired Up