Follow us on

Terminator Battles for Top Spot

May 22nd, 2009

For the first time this summer, we have two new releases battling for number one on the box office chart. This is causing quite a bit of debate over which film will take top spot; in fact, many think the two films will trade off first place over the weekend. Will this competition drive ticket sales enough for the market to keep pace with last year? Well, there's almost no chance any film this year will top Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the new films should do so collectively. And with better holdovers than this time last year, the overall box office could still show growth over the weekend.

Terminator - Salvation has already begun its box office run, and scored $3 million on Midnight showings, while it's currently playing in just under 3,500 theaters. This is the fourth film in the franchise, but after Rise of the Machines failed to live up to the quality of the first two movies, some were suggesting that continuing the franchise would be a mistake. With an impressive cast that is centered on Christian Bale there were some signs of hope. Then the first trailers came out and people were saying, "Maybe this won't suck." ... But, sadly, the critics disagree. Okay, maybe "suck" is a tad harsh, but the film is earning weaker reviews than Wolverine earned. It also has a lot tougher competition, although the long weekend will help. The film could make significantly more than $100 million over five days, but I think that's a little too optimistic. Look for $90 million in total, including $70 million over the 4-day weekend.

Another sequel, Night at the Museum - Battle of the Smithsonian, could take top spot over the weekend, depending on how well it does on Sunday and Monday. The original movie opened to mixed reviews, but thanks to the holidays managed to earn a stunning $250 million theatrically. This film is earning reviews that are similar, if a little weaker. The main complaint seems to be the lack of originality. It's not a bad movie, per se, but there's a definite "been there, done that" vibe to it. The long weekend should help it open faster, much faster, but there's no chance it will have the same legs, and it will likely finish below its predecessor when all it said and done. Look for $68 million over the 4-day weekend, which will put it within striking distance of Terminator - Salvation for top spot over the weekend. In fact, I expect it to win the daily race on Sunday and Monday.

Star Trek has done so well that it is adding theaters this weekend, climbing just over 4,000 in total (although it is losing its IMAX screens). Because of this, it should have a strong enough hold to earn third place. The film should add $33 to $34 million over the weekend, which would leave it just shy of $200 million in total, and that could be enough to become the biggest hit of the year so far.

On the other hand, Angels and Demons failed to live up to expectations, and even with the holiday, it will likely take quite a tumble this weekend. A 50% drop-off over the 3-day portion of the weekend is likely, while over four days, the film should add $28 million to its running tally of close to $90 million. This isn't a terrible result, but it will likely not earn more than it cost to make domestically, and it will have to rely on its massive international numbers to break even.

There is a third wide release opening this weekend; however, it is likely that Dance Flick will get lost in the shuffle. On the one hand, there have been a number of bad dance movies that have come out in recent years, and the genre deserves mocking. On the other hand, most spoofs that have been released in the same timeframe have been horrendous. This movie is actually earning respectable reviews, but I think the number of horrible films in the genre released recently will still hurt it. Look for a fifth place opening with $10 million, but if it is any weaker than that, then Wolverine will likely be able to grab the final spot in the top ten.


Filed under: Star Trek, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Angels & Demons, Terminator Salvation, Dance Flick