June 9, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf

>This weekend will be the first one in a while to underperform the same weekend in 2010.  One highly-anticipated film is looking like it will do well but not great, and one kid/teen movie is looking like it will come and go very quietly.

Opening at about 3,200 theaters, Super 8 should average a strong $10,300 per theater (for $33 million this weekend) — but this number might have been much higher.  Critical reviews for this JJ Abrams film have been broadly positive, but interest-in-seeing tracking surveys have been persistently soft.  So the studio is tweaking its launch strategy.  Also, the television ad campaign has been all over the place creatively (brooding sci-fi, straight horror, or what?).  It’s our guess that consumers are intrigued by Abrams’ and Spielberg’s connection to the movie but are confused by the premise, with many choosing to wait this one out. 
At about 2,000 theaters, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer should average a below-par $3,100 (for $6.5 million this weekend).  Based on a series of books for tweens, the movie will attract some female kids and younger teens, but it is unlikely to be a magnet for their parents.  Successful parent-kid co-viewing films usually aim a little younger on the kid scale while simultaneously providing adult humor that sails above the kids’ heads.  Based on the TV ads, Judy Moody relies on silly barf humor that will appeal to few adults.

Expanding to almost 1,000 theaters, Midnight in Paris now has enough distribution to enter our box office model.  Midnight should gross about $5.5 million this weekend (a slightly above average $5,900 per theater — although remember that movie has been carefully platformed for three weeks to build buzz and $7.4 worth of business to date). 


New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
June 10-12                       Positive   Weekend   Total*
Super 8                Par  PG13   82%        $33      $ 96
Judy Moody NOT Bummer  Rel  PG     14%        $ 6.5    $ 13
Midnight in Paris     Sony  PG13   92%        $ 5.5    $ 38
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.
X-Men: First Class should be a solid second place, while we expect Kung Fu Panda 2 to possibly have a slightly better weekend than Hangover Part II (as the steeper weekly decline figures are catching up with Hangover).  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Bridesmaids are getting close to slipping beneath the $10 million mark.     
Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
June 3-5                        vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*
X-Men: First Class     Fox        -50%      $28       $165

Hangover Part II        WB        -53%      $15       $262

Kung Fu Panda 2     Par/DW        -36%      $15       $167
Pirates 4              Dis        -43%      $10       $247
Bridesmaids            Uni        -24%      $ 9       $144
Thor                   Par        -42%      $ 2.5     $189
Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $148 million total, ranking 13th of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $145 million, and June 12-14, 2009 was $132 million.  This weekend is looking like a fairly soft $130 million.   

This Weekend Last Two Years
 The A-Team FOX PG13 Liam Neeson Bradley Cooper  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $35  Actual: $26
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $88  Actual: $77
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $100
 The Karate Kid SONY PG Jaden Smith Jackie Chan  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $30  Actual: $56
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $185  Actual: $177
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $182
 Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 SONY R Denzel Washington John Travolta  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $28  Actual: $23
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $74  Actual: $65
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $85
 Imagine That PAR PG Eddie Murphy   
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $13  Actual: $6
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $20  Actual: $16
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $2
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 (based on Friday’s actual numbers), on Sunday we will have 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.