August 20, 2011


>The Help sits at the top of the heap thanks to a terrific 19% drop in its second weekend and especially thanks to the very weak crop of openers that make up that heap.  Spy Kids 4, Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night all are opening below forecast and headed for a quick end on VOD and PPV.  No, 3D could not help any of these three entries.  Movie quality is always more important than any given format, but 3D is really floundering.  Overall, the weekend is flat versus the same weekend last year (ending the string of five up weekends in a row).  

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World should open below forecast ($3.9 million Friday for an estimated $12.3 million opening weekend, compared to a $14.5 million prediction).  Spy Kids 4 (in 4D no less! – the fourth dimension is the stale smell of mediocrity) is on track for $31 million in North America when it crosses the finish line, according to the ShowBuzzDaily Domestic Final estimate.  International numbers will be in our overseas round-up late Sunday.  Critics nationwide have been almost universally negative about the film (only 18% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

Conan the Barbarian is opening well below forecast ($3.7 million Friday for an expected $10.8 million this weekend versus a $16.5 million forecast).  Conan is headed for $29 million in North America.  Critics nationwide remain unconvinced about the need for this latest Conan movie (29% positive at RottenTomatoes).   

Fright Night is also opening below forecast ($2.65 million Friday for an expected $8 million this weekend versus a $14 million forecast).  Fright Night is headed for $24 million in North America.  Critics remain extremely positive for this horror movie (74% positive at RottenTomatoes), but that shouldn’t help much as this movie is destined to leave the scene quickly.  Read Mitch Salem’s review here.      

One Day is opening near its rather tiny forecast ($1.86 million Friday for an expected $5.3 million this weekend versus a $6 million prediction).  One Day is on pace for $13 million in North America, with a critical drubbing (27% positive reviews at RottenTomatoes).  Read Mitch Salem’s review here

In case you missed them, click here to see this week’s Weekend Predictions.     

The Help continues its very solid run with a second weekend drop of only 19% and an increase in booked theaters this week (+156), while Final Destination 5 is having an expected 57% decline in its second weekend.  In its third weekend, Rise of the Planet of the Apes should drop a very good 41% (even better than the 49% decline last week). 
August 19-21, 2011      Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*

The Help (DW/Dis)        [$20  ]    $21.0   $ 5.8     $133++
Rise of Planet Apes (Fox)[$16  ]    $16.5   $ 4.6     $181+
Spy Kids All Time (Wein) [$14.5]    $12.3   $ 3.9     $ 31

Conan the Barbarian (LG) [$16.5]    $10.8   $ 3.7     $ 29
The Smurfs (Sony)        [$ 9  ]    $ 8.5   $ 2.2     $144

Fright Night (DW/Dis)    [$14  ]    $ 8.0   $ 2.6     $ 24
Final Destination 5 (WB) [$ 8.5]    $ 7.7   $ 2.4     $ 47
30 Minutes or Less (Sony)[$ 7  ]    $ 6.5   $ 2.0     $ 41
One Day (Focus)          [$ 6  ]    $ 5.3   $ 1.9     $ 13
Crazy, Stupid, Love (WB) [$ 4.5]    $ 5.0   $ 1.5     $ 80

Harry Potter 8  (WB)     [$ 4.5]    $ 4.7   $ 1.2     $376

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a reminder of each film’s ShowBuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade. 

Limited Releases 

Opening this weekend on the indie circuit (results to come later):
Amigo (drama) at 11 theaters
Mozart’s Sister (foreign) at seven theaters
5 Days of War (action drama) at two theaters
Flypaper (crime comedy) at two theaters
Programming the Nation? (documentary) at one theater

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $110 million total, flat versus the same calendar weekend last year when Vampires Suck, Lottery Ticket and Piranha 3D opened (wow, what an opening weekend from hell to match this one).  

 Top 12 Films: Weekend #33
     Volume     (millions)
2011  $110  (
+10% vs 2007-10 average; +0% vs 2010) 

Avg   $100
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $110  Vampires Suck $12 Lottery Ticket $11 Piranha $10    

2009  $112  Inglorious Basterds $38, Shorts $6, Post Grad $3
2008  $ 89  The House Bunny $14.5, Death Race $13
2007  $ 89  Mr Bean’s Holiday $10, War $10, Nanny Diaries $7.5

Look for updates of the weekend box office on Sunday, based on the Saturday actual numbers.

Next Weekend

Opening next week are Columbiana from Sony, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark from FilmDistrict, and Our Idiot Brother from Weinstein.  Those movies will be compared to Takers ($20.5 million opening weekend), Last Exorcism ($20.4 million) and Avatar: Special Edition ($4 million). 

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.