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Will It Have a Good Start?

October 29th, 2009

This Is It got off to a record-breaking start, kind of, while the rest of the top five will be filled with holdovers over Halloween weekend. This weekend last year Halloween was on a Friday, while this year it is on Saturday, neither of which help the box office one bit. But it won't take too much for the number one film this year to top the number one film from last year, and the rest of the box office should follow suit.

As I stated, This Is It broke a record during its opening, specifically the biggest midnight showing on a Tuesday for an October release. I didn't know they kept track of that record. I can't imagine the list of films that had a midnight showing on a Tuesday in October is very large. That said, $2.2 million isn't a bad start. However, its opening day total of just $7.4 million is well below most expectations. There are some mitigating circumstances going forward, including good reviews and it is possible that people didn't realize it was opening on a Wednesday and it will see significant growth going forward. Or all the talk of record-breaking pre-sales could be an aberration and it might never recover from this soft opening. On the low end, the movie could struggle to reach $25 million over five days, but it could also recover nicely and pull in more than $25 million over the three-day weekend for a total of close to $40 million.

The only other film of note this weekend will be Paranormal Activity, which managed to climb into first place during its fifth weekend of release last weekend, and Paramount will be hoping that Halloween will help it avoid a massive crash this weekend. If it can avoid a 50% drop-off, then it will add $11 million over the weekend for a total of close to $80 million after more than a month of release. This in turn would keep it on pace to reach $100 million during its run, barely. On the other hand, some are expecting only a slight decrease this weekend, say 25%, which would give the film more than $15 million over the weekend and it would be able to reach $100 million as early as the next weekend. I think the former is more likely, but it will still be more than enough to please the studio.

There are four films fighting for the final three spots in the top five, all of which should make $7 million, more or less.

Law Abiding Citizen should be the best of these three releases, earning close to $8 million over the weekend lifting its total to more than $50 million. This is already more than original expectations and just shy of its production budget. If it can match this performance internationally, then it will have no trouble finding a profit early in its home market run.

Where the Wild Things Are should be next with just over $7 million over the weekend for a total of $64 million. For a film that cost $100 million to make, this is not enough at this point in its run and unless it is a massive hit internationally, it will have trouble ever paying back that massive investment.

Couples Retreat could spend another weekend in the top five with just under $7 million over the weekend and $84 million after four. This is another film that is tracking for a $100 million run, but it will be awfully close.

Finally we get to Saw VI, which was a major disappointment during its opening weekend and could go one of two ways this weekend. With Halloween and no new direct competition, it could show good legs and place third with close to $8 million. Or there's a chance it could fall about 70% and earn half that. Since the film only cost $11 million to make, even the lower end will be enough to ensure a profit during the film's initial run on the home market. It might even make enough to encourage the studio to make one last installment, but it really should be the last installment.


Filed under: Where the Wild Things Are, Couples Retreat, Saw VI, Paranormal Activity, Michael Jackson's This Is It, Law Abiding Citizen