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Will Spidey Sink or Swing?

May 10th, 2007

This is the only soft weekend in the month of May with new releases forced to fight for the scraps of last weekend's record breaker, which explains why we have four such films trying to split already weak box office prospects. However, none of these new releases has any real shot at unseating Spider-man 3, even though that film is expected to sink pretty far at the box office.

Spider-man 3 should set another record this weekend, setting a new mark for weekend-to-weekend drop-off in terms of raw dollars. This record is currently held by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at $73.29 million. Spider-man 3 could lose more than that this weekend and still have a sub-50% drop-off, something that almost no one is expecting. In fact, most people would be surprised if the film fell less than 60% with a few thinking it could break Hulk's record percent drop-off for a film that finished first at 69.66%. (Star Trek: Nemesis has to have an honorable mention here as it fell 76.15% while missing first place by less than $200,000 during its opening.)

So a 50% drop-off to just over $75 million seems hopelessly optimistic (although if it does, it will have a shot at $500 million domestically). Even 60% to $60 million is more than most people are projecting. On the other hand, a 70% plummet to $45 million would be a troubling sign for the film's future prospects and would be a clear sign to give the franchise a rest for a few years at least.

My prediction is just over $50 million for a 66% drop-off. Weekday numbers are just not as strong as I would have liked, and this puts $400 million in serious jeopardy.

The best of the new releases in terms of box office potential and critical reception is 28 Weeks Later. The sequel isn't earning as strong reviews as its predecessor did, but should still be enough to give the film good word-of-mouth. However, it will still open faster and fall off quicker. Look for an opening of just over $15 million and a total of just under $50 million.

The next new release is the widest new release of the week, Georgia Rule, but this is a movie with serious issues. Not only is it earning terrible reviews, but its target audience (mature females), is the most likely demographic to read and be swayed by reviews. Add in Lindsay Lohan's reputation, and this film will likely really struggle at the box office. The high end has it battling for second place with $15 million, while low end is less than half that. Unfortunately, the low end seems more likely at this point. Give it $10 million over the weekend and $25 million in total.

Agree? Disagree? Still planning on seeing Spider-man 3 every day this weekend? Then check out our latest box office contest.

Next up is Delta Farce, a movie with almost no upside. It is not being screened for critics, and there are very few people who are surprised at that. Without any reviews, the film will have to rely on its stars and advertising campaign to draw in crowds, but that seems monstrously unlikely. Neither Larry the Cable Guy, DJ Qualls, or Bill Engvall have a reputation for being able to carry a movie and the ad campaign has been weak. I even have a hard time imagining the film will live up to Larry the Cable Guy's previous film, giving it fourth place an opening weekend of $6 million, tops. It might be a pleasant surprise, but a fifth place opening with $4 million is more likely, while anything else could leave it out of the top five altogether.

The only other holdover likely to grab a spot in the top five is Disturbia, which is tracking at $4 million. This would give the movie a running tally of just under $66 million, putting $75 million at the top end of its final box office. Even if it doesn't make it there, it will still be seen as a surprise hit and a financial success.

Finally we have The Ex. This film was pushed back from a January release (when it was called Fast Track), and is now opening in the middle of the busiest month of the year in barely more than 1,000 theaters. This is what some analysts would call dumping. This opinion is reinforced when one looks at the reviews, which are currently just a tad over 20% positive. Looking for positives and none really spring to mind. The Best case scenario has it grabbing a spot in the top five with just over $4 million, but it could also earn just half that. Most likely it will take in $3 million this weekend and less than $10 million in total.


Filed under: Spider-Man 3, Disturbia, Georgia Rule, Delta Farce, The Ex, 28 Weeks Later