July 7, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Two new comedies (one adult and one family-oriented) duke it out this weekend, while Transformers: Dark of the Moon will remain on top.  The weekend as a whole should be down versus last year.  

Opening at around 2,900 theaters, Horrible Bosses should average a solid $9,200 per theater (for $26.5 million for Friday-Sunday).  Critical reception so far has been very positive for this R-rated comedy, 85% positive at RottenTomatoes. Read Mitch Salem’s review of HorribleBosses

At about 3,300 theaters, Zookeeper should average an above average $7,400 (for $24 million this weekend).  The PG comedy starring Kevin James and a group of talking animals does not have a score at RottenTomatoes, which means the movie is not being screened for critics by Sony.  Never a good sign.  Usually such films end up getting savaged by critics and do not have strong second and third weekends, as word of mouth is similarly weak in most cases. 


New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
July 8-10                        Positive   Weekend   Total*
Horrible Bosses         WB  R      85%       $26.5     $ 95
Zookeeper              Sony PG     N/A       $24       $ 76
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.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon will remain in the #1 position, down 52% from last Friday-Sunday.  For comparison, the original Transformers declined 48% to $37.0 million in its second weekend in 2007, while Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen wilted 61% to $42.3 million in 2009. 
Cars 2 should drop another 47% in weekend three (a slightly better than average number for all movies but not good for Pixar films, which often decline only 35-40% per weekend).        
Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
July 8-10                       vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*
Transformers 3      Par/DW        -52%      $46.5     $356

Cars 2                 Dis        -47%      $14       $176

Bad Teacher           Sony        -44%      $ 8       $ 94 
Larry Crowne           Uni        -40%      $ 8       $ 37
Super 8                Par        -40%      $ 5       $133 
Monte Carlo            Fox        -54%      $ 3.5     $ 22
Green Lantern           WB        -52%      $ 3       $114

Mr Popper’s Penguins   Fox        -43%      $ 3       $ 67
Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $159 million total, ranking 8th of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $184 million, and the year before was $135 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like a down weekend at $147 million.   

This Weekend Last Two Years

 Despicable Me UNI PG    
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $36  Actual: $56
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $211  Actual: $251
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $289
 Predators FOX R Adrien Brody Topher Grace  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $26  Actual: $25
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $56  Actual: $52
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $75
 Bruno UNI R Sacha Baron Cohen   
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $38  Actual: $31
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $69  Actual: $60
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $77
 I Love You Beth Cooper FOX PG13 Hayden Panettiere   
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $7  Actual: $5
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $13  Actual: $15
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $1
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 actual 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.