September 17, 2011


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Metcalf
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

>After a pretty long string of accurate box office predictions, ShowBuzzDaily really missed the boat on The Lion King in 3D.  We were debating between an $11 million or $15 million forecast and decided to go with the lower number.  But wow was there interest in the 3D version of the Disney classic: an estimated $31 million weekend.  The other openers are lost in the shuffle, but Lion King is giving the box office some life (and giving Disney a reason to go back into the vault again selectively).  Overall the weekend is looking like it will be up around 1% from this weekend last year (turning around what was looking to be a down 15% weekend).

The Lion King in 3D is opening way above a flawed forecast ($8.8 million Friday for an expected $31 million this weekend versus an $11 million forecast).  The updated reissue is headed for $121 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 are broadly positive about the film (89% positive at RottenTomatoes) so we could some adjustments upward in the final gross in the next few weeks if the word of mouth on the look of the film is very positive. 

Drive is opening close forecast ($4.0 million Friday for an estimated $11 million opening weekend, compared to an $12 million prediction).  The film is on track for $42 million in North America.  Critics nationwide also have been very positive (93% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

Straw Dogs is opening well below forecast ($1.98 million Friday for an expected $5.5 million this weekend versus a $9 million forecast).  The movie is headed for $20 million in North America.  Critics nationwide have been negative (38% positive so far).       

I Don’t Know How She Does It is also opening well below forecast ($1.56 million Friday for an expected $4.5 million this weekend versus a $8 million forecast).  The movie is headed for $11 million in North America.  Critics have been pretty harsh on the Sarah Jessica Parker film (20% positive so far).      

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

Contagion is having a good second weekend, down only 33% from its solid opening.  The Matt Damon virus thriller has been upgraded to a final domestic estimate of almost $90 million
September 16-18, 2011   Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*

Lion King in 3D (Dis)    [$11  ]    $31.0   $ 8.8     $121
Contagion (WB)           [$13  ]    $15.0   $ 4.6     $ 87+
Drive (FilmDis)          [$12  ]    $11.0   $ 4.0     $ 42
The Help (DW/Dis)        [$ 6  ]    $ 6.5   $ 1.9     $168
Straw Dogs (Sony)        [$ 9  ]    $ 5.5   $ 2.0     $ 20
I Don’t Know How (Wein)  [$ 8  ]    $ 4.5   $ 1.6     $ 11

The Debt (Focus)         [$ 3  ]    $ 3.1   $ 0.9     $ 34
Warrior (LG)             [$ 3.5]    $ 3.0   $ 0.9     $ 20

Rise of Planet Apes (Fox)[$ 2  ]    $ 2.7   $ 0.8     $183
Colombiana (Sony)        [$ 2  ]    $ 2.5   $ 0.7     $ 39

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. 

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $88 million total, up 1% from the same calendar weekend last year when The Town and Easy A opened and up 7% from the typical total for this weekend the last four years.   

Top 12 Films: Weekend #37
     Volume     (millions)

2011  $ 88  (
+7% vs 2007-10 average; +1% vs 2010) 

Avg   $ 83            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $ 87  The Town $24, Easy A $18, Devil $12    

2009  $ 87  Cloudy Chance Meatballs $30, The Informant! $10.5
2008  $ 76  Lakeview Terrace $15, My Best Friend’s Girl $8
2007  $ 80  Resident Evil Extinction $24, Good Luck Chuck $14


Next Weekend
Opening next week are Dolphin Tale from Warner Brothers, Abduction from Lionsgate, Moneyball from Sony, and Killer Elite from Open Road Films.  Those movies will be compared to Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ($19 million opening weekend), Legends of the Guardians ($16 million), and You Again ($8 million).  

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

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.