August 4, 2011



Rise of the Planet of the Apes should open easily at #1 with over $43 million.  With broadly positive reviews behind it, this prequel should have decent holds in the following few weeks.  The Smurfs should slide into #2 with a decent second week decline ($21 million, down 41%).  Fighting for #3 should be the new comedy The Change-Up ($18.5 million) and Cowboys & Aliens ($16.5 million, down 55%).  All in all, the weekend should be up over 25% versus the same weekend last year (the fourth up weekend in a row).   

Opening at more than 3,500 theaters, Rise of the Planet of the Apes should average a solid $12,400 per theater (for $43.5 million for Friday-Sunday).  Critical reception so far has been very positive so far, 85% positive at RottenTomatoes.  Read Mitch Salem’s review coming soon.

At about 2,700 theaters, The Change-Up should average a somewhat above par $6,900 (for $18.5 million this weekend).  The R-rated body-switch comedy has received mostly negative reviews so far, 30% positive at RottenTomatoes.See Mitch Salem’s review here.
New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
August 5-7                       Positive   Weekend   Total*
Rise of Planet of Apes  Fox  PG13   85%      $ 43.5    $125
The Change-Up           Uni  R      30%      $ 18.5    $ 60

Note: Although critic reviews are not related to the size of the opening weekend, they are significantly correlated with the size of the declines in the opening weeks of a movie.

* The Domestic Total is a very early ShowBuzzDaily projection of the total North American gross, based on the Weekend Forecasts.

The Smurfs should drop a better-than-average 41% in its second weekend, while Cowboys & Aliens should decline a steeper 55%.  The blessing of a family film and the curse of the sci-fi genre.

Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
August 5-7                      vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*

The Smurfs            Sony        -41%      $21       $121
Cowboys & Aliens       Uni        -55%      $16.5     $ 98
Captain America        Par        -50%      $13       $179
Harry Potter Deathly 2  WB        -48%      $11.5     $361
Crazy, Stupid, Love.    WB        -40%      $11.5     $ 72
Friends with Benefits Sony        -47%      $ 5       $ 63
Horrible Bosses         WB        -39%      $ 4.5     $120+
Transformers 3      Par/DW        -45%      $ 3.5     $363 

Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $126 million total, ranking 23rd of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $123 million, and the year before was $132 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like another up weekend at $155 million, up more than 25% from this weekend last year.   

This Weekend Last Two Years

 The Other Guys SONY PG13 Will Ferrell Mark Wahlberg  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $30  Actual: $36
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $119  Actual: $119
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $51
 Step Up 3-D DIS PG13    
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $19  Actual: $16
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $47  Actual: $42
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $117
 G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra PAR PG13 Dennis Quaid Sienna Miller  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $50  Actual: $55
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $151  Actual: $150
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $152
 Julie & Julia SONY PG13 Meryl Streep Amy Adams  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $19  Actual: $20
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $80  Actual: $94
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $35
 A Perfect Getaway UNI R Milla Jovovich Steve Zahn  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $8  Actual: $6
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $19  Actual: $15
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $7
Come back throughout the weekend to see how the movies actually perform.  Saturday morning we will have an early look at how the weekend is shaping up as a whole (based on Friday’s early numbers), on Sunday we will have initial studio estimates (based on Friday and Saturday), and Monday we will have the final numbers for the entire weekend.

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.