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Go Joe!

August 7th, 2009

August begins with the movie industry hoping that summer will last at least one more week. There is some hope that we will have a $60 or $70 million opener this weekend, but even if G.I.Joe earns just half of that, it will be a better start than the top film from last year and hopefully that means 2009 will finally end its recent slump.

I'm seeing a lot of mixed signals coming from G.I.Joe. On the one hand, it was reported that the film was not screened for critics, which is a terrible, terrible sign. On the other hand, there are more than two dozen reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, most of them positive. How do we explain this? I'm not sure. However, given the fact that the film's Tomatometer score has dropped from the high 80s to the mid 50s, perhaps the studio let only critics they thought would give the film a positive review get an advance look at it, and now that more and more critics are checking it out, the reviews are dropping off. I don't know if this was a real strategy, or if it matters, as this film's target audience is not going to care what the critics say. The target audience for this film is the same group that turned Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen into a nearly $400 million hit, and that film bombed with the critics. As for G.I. Joe's box office potential, I don't think it will ever make it to $400 million, but it could get off to a $50 million start over the next three days and $125 million in total. That would be a great run for most movies given this time of the year, but for a film that cost $170 million to make, that won't be enough, unless it makes a huge amount internationally.

Julie & Julia has shown a bit more strength with the critics, growing from 25% positive to 63% positive. A lot of critics are still calling it light and fluffy entertainment, but the emphasis is on entertainment now and not the fluff part as it was before. The critics are also praising Meryl Streep and Amy Adams for their performances, and that's raising my expectations a bit. Previously, I figured the film would open with under $20 million, but now it could open with just over $20 million. Perhaps it could open with as much as $24 million and earn $70 million in total. That's a little too optimistic for me, but $22 million during the opening weekend and $64 million in total is very realistic.

Judd Apatow's track record at the box office is very impressive, especially when it comes to his film's legs. The 40-Year Old Virgin dipped just 24% during its second weekend of release while Knocked Up fell just 36%. I doubt Funny People will be able to hold on as well, but it should be able to avoid a 50% drop-off. That would give it about $12 million over the weekend and $43 million in total. It could earn a little more than that, or a little less, but that's a good prediction.

G-Force should be right behind with $11 million over the weekend and $87 million in total. That would leave the movie about a week away from becoming the 17th film of the year to reach $100 million. Even if it misses $10 million over this weekend, $100 million is still well within reach.

IMAX is helping Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's quest to reach $300 million immensely. If it earns $10 million over the weekend and reaches $275 million in total, which is my prediction, then it has a real shot at $300 million. Even if it misses that mark, it should still reach the level of The Order of the Phoenix.

The final wide release of the week is A Perfect Getaway, which is opening wider than expected. Earlier in the week it was reported that the film would open in just 1,300 theaters, but it is opening in more than 2,100 theaters. Additionally, the film's reviews are stronger than most for its genre at 48% positive. Best case scenario has the film finishing in third place with $12 million or so, but it could also miss the Mendoza Line with just $4 million, or less. I think it will finish in the middle with $8 million over the weekend and $20 million in total. Unless the film cost an unacceptable amount of money to make, this should be enough to earn a profit sooner rather than later.


Filed under: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, G-Force, Julie & Julia, Funny People, A Perfect Getaway