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Meatballs Has More than a Chance

September 18th, 2009

We have four wide releases this week, or at least three wide releases and one semi-wide. There should be very little suspense on which film will finish first though, as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is the clear favorite. The real question is how much it will make and whether or not it can help the overall box office top last year. Or, if some of the pundits are correct, by how much.

September is a month known for dumping films that just didn't work out; however, that's not the case with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. So far the film has earned 91% positive reviews, which is not only an anomaly for September, it's Oscar worthy. I'm not sure if it will grab the third nomination for Best Animated Film (behind Up and Ponyo) but I wouldn't be that surprised either. As for the film's box office chances, most analysts figure the film will earn in the low $20 millions, but with the 3D and IMAX ticket prices, I think it could earn just over $30 million and earn a per theater average of just over $10,000. I'm going with a $32 million prediction, but as I said, this is well above the average, so keep that in mind.

Next up is Jennifer's Body, which is a horror / comedy with some potential Indie Cred thanks to its screenwriter. It's based on a screenplay by Diablo Cody, who previously wrote Juno, so there's was a chance it could have been good. Unfortunately the reviews are weak with many critics saying it's not scary enough to be horror and not funny enough to be a comedy. That said, its target audience won't really care about the reviews and a lot will be going just to see Megan Fox and even terrible reviews won't hurt the film too much early in its run. I think it will grab second place with $14 million over the weekend and $35 million in total, which is in line with original expectations.

Look for I Can Do Bad All By Myself to plummet, just like most other Tyler Perry films. A 60% drop-off isn't out of the question and it could make just $9 million over the next three days. On the other hand, in the best case scenario, it could fall just under 50% and earn $12 million. Split the difference and you get between $10 million and $11 million over the weekend and $38 million after two.

The Informant! is a black comedy / thriller starring Matt Damon as a real life whistleblower who helped crack a price-fixing ring in the food industry. Reviews have been good; in fact, they are great compared to most September releases. Best case scenario has this film pulling in $15 million, which might be enough for second place. Or it could struggle to reach $6 million. I think it will come in fourth place with just over $10 million, which means it should be in a virtual tie for third place.

Love Happens is the final wide release of the week, but it is opening in less than 2,000 theaters, so by some definitions, it is not opening truly wide. It is also opening with the worst reviews of the week. Even if the film was a romantic comedy, that would have been a low Tomatometer Score, and for a Romantic Drama it could spell real trouble. The film's target audience (more mature women) is the one that is most likely to read and to trust critics and their opinions. Combined with the low theater count, this movie could open outside the top five, which would leave an opening for 9. The worst case scenario has the film missing the Mendoza Line with less than $4 million. The best case scenario has it earning more than $10 million. I think the high end is slightly more likely than the low end, and I'm going with a prediction of $9 million.


Filed under: I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 9, The Informant!, Love Happens, Jennifer's Body