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Will There be a Lot of Funny Business at the Box Office?

July 30th, 2009

The final weekend in July starts today, while August starts the day after. It's not a great weekend to open a movie, and of the three wide releases, only one has any real box office potential. Even worse, this time last year there were two films that made $40 million or more at the box office, which means 2009's lead on 2008 will continue to shrink.

Funny People has the potential to be a $100 to $200 million hit. It stars Adam Sandler who has three $100 million hits in a row and seven of his last nine films have reached the century mark. It is also directed by Judd Apatow whose previous two films made over $100 million. Also, as The Hangover proved, R-rated comedies can be big, big hits. Granted, $200 million is at the very, very upper level of the film's box office potential, and it is more likely to fail to reach $100 million than get there, but there is reason to be optimistic. There's also reason to be pessimistic. For instance, Seth Rogan is coming off his first box office bust since... well... the first in his career really. (Granted, Zack and Miri Make a Porno wasn't a major hit, but is was the biggest in Kevin Smith's career.) Also, while Adam Sandler has reached the century mark with seven of his last nine films, the only two films that didn't had a more dramatic edge to them, which is also true of this film. Finally, the reviews are a little disappointing. Don't get me wrong, positive reviews are outnumbering negative reviews by roughly a two-to-one margin, but I was expecting better. Funny People should provide Judd Apatow with his biggest opening on his career at $35 million, but it won't have the same legs as his previous films and end with $110 million.

On the one hand, G-Force is a kids movie, and they tend to do well when it comes to having long legs at the box office. On the other hand, its reviews were atrocious. Back to the original hand, it is a 3-D movie, and these have shown stronger than average legs at the box office. Returning to the other hand, it does have direct competition in Aliens in the Attic, which opens this weekend. Getting back to the original hand, Aliens in the Attic looks even worse than G-Force. Overall, I think the positives outnumber the negatives and it should hold up relatively well, earning $18 million over the weekend to give it a total of $68 million.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's weekday numbers have shown more strength than last week, which is common, and it shouldn't suffer the same level of decline this time around. Best case scenario has it remaining in second place with $15 to $17 million. Worst case has it coming in fourth with $12 to $13 million. I'm going with third place and $14 million.

The Ugly Truth should be right behind, also with $14 million over the weekend, which would lift its total to $55 million after 10 days of release. This is a very strong start for a romantic comedy and in comparison to 27 Dresses it's performing better by a noticeable degree. $80 million to $90 million isn't out of the question, which should more than please the studio.

The widest release of the week is Aliens in the Attic, but it is very unlikely that it will be the biggest hit of the weekend. In fact, it might not reach $10 million over the next three days. The lack of reviews is troubling, as is the lack of star power (only Ashley Tisdale and Doris Roberts have any real name recognition). I think the best case scenario has this film battling for second place with $15 million, but a more modest $12 million is more likely.

The final wide release of the week is The Collector, a horror film opening in barely more than 1300 theaters and with almost no reviews. There is a chance that this film will miss the Mendoza Line over the weekend. Even just reaching the top ten might be out of the question. Look for an opening of $4 million and a quick exit from theaters.


Filed under: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G-Force, The Ugly Truth, Funny People, Aliens in the Attic, The Collector