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Bourne to Lead?

August 2nd, 2007

What could be the last major opening this summer debuts today. The Bourne Ultimatum opens in more than 3,600 theaters. The summer has been an overwhelming success to date, up 8% from last year and 3% from 2004's record-setting run. If Bourne can maintain the winning streak, and most analysts agree that it will, then a new record is almost guaranteed.

There's no competition that can challenge the movie for top spot this weekend. In fact, its weekend numbers will be compared to recent openings by The Simpsons Movie and other smash hits, as well as the debuts from previous installments in the franchise. When The Bourne Supremacy opened in 2004 it took in just over $52 million during its first weekend, beating expectations by a considerable margin. This time around, expectations appear to be in the $55 to $60 million range, but I think it will again top these predictions. It could earn just over $70 million, putting it in the same range as The Transformers or 300, but I think it will fall just short of that level with $66 million. On the other hand, with its stellar reviews, it should have great legs and while it will still be in theaters when summer official ends on Labor Day, it will pull in $200 million before then.

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While there are three or four more films opening wide, it is a safe bet that The Simpsons Movie will slide into second place. excellent reviews are valiantly battling the Fanboy Effect, but to no avail. The midweek numbers have not been great, despite hitting $100 million sometime on Thursday, and there is talk that the film could lose 60% of its opening this weekend, which would drop it to just under $30 million. Even the best case scenario has it down 50% to just over $37 million. Unfortunately, the lower end is more likely and I'm going with a prediction of $32 million; however, that would still give the movie $135 million after 10 days and put it on pace for $200 million in total. It could become the eighth film to reach that milestone, with two more potential $200 million movies coming out this summer.

The second wide release of the week is Underdog, which describes the movie nearly perfectly. It's a Disney flick aimed at kids, which would normally give it a huge advantage. However, it is not being screened for critics and that suggests it is horrendous. After all, kids don't read reviews, so there's little reason not to give critics a chance to see it in advance. That said, Disney's marketing might should still give the film at least one solid weekend, and it could even come close to $20 million, but mid-to-low teens is more likely, and I'm predicting $14 million.

There could be as many as four films battling for the last two spots in the top five, all of which should pull in $10 million or so. These include holdovers like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, and Hairspray, as well as one newcomer, Hot Rod.

Both I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix are losing a significant chunk of their theater counts this weekend, but The Order of Phoenix is plummeting by 880, and that's going to take a toll on its weekend revenue. Meanwhile, Hairspray's theater count is practically going untouched. Expect these three films to finish within $1 million of each other with I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry earning just over $10 million, Hairspray earning $10 million, and Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix earning just under $10 million.

On the other hand, Hot Rod is a bit of a wildcard. I can see it finishing in third place with $15 or $16 million. I can also see it failing to earn half that. The film has a saturation level marketing campaign, which should compensate for the awful reviews, at least for one weekend. I think the appetite for stupid possessed by the average teenage moviegoer will help the film into fourth place with $11 million, but I am far from certain on that prediction.

The next wide release is Bratz, although with a opening theater count of just 1,509 it is hard to call this film a wide release. Then again, it is hard to call it a film. So far it is mired with a single-digit score over on Rotten Tomatoes and looks to be aiming for a similar run as fellow piece of fluff, Material Girls. The only advantage this film has over that one is a more aggressive ad campaign and that could help it earn as much as $6 million over the weekend, but half that is just as likely. Split the difference and we get $4.5 million over the weekend and barely more than $10 million in total.

Finally we come to El Cantante, which didn't release Wednesday's numbers, or maybe it didn't open Wednesday. (It was supposed to, but it has bounced back and forth from Wednesday to Friday so many times it is easy to lose track.) This change won't affect the film's opening weekend too much, it will earn slightly more over the weekend, approximately $3 million, but that won't be enough to reach the top ten. Additionally, its reviews will mean a short run at the box office and it could fade away for August is done.


Filed under: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Simpsons Movie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Hairspray, Underdog, Hot Rod, Bratz, El Cantante