July 21, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Captain America and the final Harry Potter film’s second weekend will battle for #1, with each around $60 million.  Friends with Benefits should open at a decent level for an R-rated comedy.  The weekend should be up well over 20% from this weekend last year when Salt and Ramona & Beezus opened (remember those?).   

Opening at more than 3,500 theaters, Captain America: The First Avenger should average a solid $16,500 per theater (for $58 million for Friday-Sunday).  Critical reception so far has been slightly positive, 60% positive at RottenTomatoes. Read Mitch Salem’s review of Captain America here

At about 2,700 theaters, Friends with Benefits should average an above par $8,400 (for $22.5 million this weekend).  The R-rated comedy has also received slightly positive reviews, 58% positive at RottenTomatoes. See Mitch Salem’s review here

New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
July 22-24                       Positive   Weekend   Total*
Captain America         Par  PG13   60%       $ 58      $168
Friends with Benefits  Sony  R      58%       $ 22.5    $ 78

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.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will fight with Captain America to stay in the #1 position in its second weekend, down an estimated 63% from last Friday-Sunday.  Although Harry set the opening weekend record last week, remember the weekend number was incredibly front-loaded toward Friday.  Previous opening weekend record holders Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3 declined 53% and 61% in their second weekend, respectively.   

Horrible Bosses and Transformers: Dark of the Moon will fight for fourth placeeach now headed for the $11 million level.        

Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
July 22-24                      vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*

Transformers 3      Par/DW        -50%      $11       $373 

Harry Potter Deathly 2  WB        -63%      $63       $435
Horrible Bosses         WB        -38%      $11       $109
Zookeeper             Sony        -32%      $ 8.5     $ 71

Winnie the Pooh        Dis        -33%      $ 5.5     $ 32
Cars 2                 Dis
        -38%      $ 5       $188

Bad Teacher           Sony        -45%      $ 3       $102 
Larry Crowne           Uni        -51%      $ 1.5     $ 37

Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $161 million total, ranking 7th of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $155 million, and the year before was $142 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like another up weekend at $191 million, up more than 20% from this weekend last year.   

This Weekend Last Two Years

 Salt SONY PG13 Angelina Jolie Live Schreiber  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $38  Actual: $36
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $122  Actual: $118
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $175
 Ramona and Beezus FOX G Joey King Selena Gomez  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $9  Actual: $8
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $29  Actual: $26
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $0
 G-Force DIS PG    
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $26  Actual: $32
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $111  Actual: $119
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $167
 The Ugly Truth SONY R Katherine Heigl Gerard Butler  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $23  Actual: $28
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $85  Actual: $89
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $116
 Orphan WB R Peter Sarsgaard Vera Farmiga  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $13  Actual: $13
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $47  Actual: $42
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $35
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.