March 15, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>The 11th weekend of the year should generate about $101 million for the top 12 films, a somewhat soft weekend for the third weekend in March — down 3% from last year’s comparable weekend and down a similar percentage from the four-year average for this weekend.  If the forecast is correct this will be the first down weekend versus 2011.  21 Jump Start should open well, with a little over $30 million for its opening weekend.  The Lorax should drop a decent 37% to $24.5 million, while John Carter should drop 45% (a little better than average) to just under $17 million.           

Opening at over 3,000 theaters, 21 Jump Street from Sony should average a very solid $10,100 per theater (for $30.5 million Friday-Sunday).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.]  Reviews at RottenTomatoes are currently running at 86% positive, exceptional for an R-rated comedy.  21 Jump Street is on track for a preliminary $106 million domestically.            

New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
March 16-18                      Positive   Weekend   Total*

21 Jump Street          Sony R     86%      $30.5     $106

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 Lorax should have another good hold, down less than 40% in its third weekend. John Carter should have a slightly better than average hold in its second weekend, down 45%.  Below the top three films, the weekend grosses should be fairly insignificant.  Expanding to over 600 theaters, Friends with Kids (written by, directed by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt of Kissing Jessica Stein fame) will increase from $2.0 million last weekend to around $2.4 million, perhaps making the top 10.

Opening next weekend, the eagerly anticipated Hunger Games from Lionsgate should open with around $120 million.  This opening would place in the top 10 weekend openings of all time and the highest opening for a film released between January and April.  We will revise this preliminary forecast in next Wednesday’s Box Office Predictions.     

Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
March 16-18                     vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*
The Lorax                Uni      -37%      $24.5     $219 
John Carter              Dis      -45%      $16.8     $ 74 

Project X                WB       -46%      $ 6.0     $ 65 
Act of Valor             Rel      -45%      $ 3.9     $ 73 

A Thousand Words         Par      -43%      $ 3.6     $ 10 
Safe House               Uni      -33%      $ 3.2     $130 
Journey 2                WB       -32%      $ 2.5     $102 
The Vow                  Sony     -35%      $ 2.5     $129 

Silent House             Open     -62%      $ 2.5     $ 12 
This Means War           Fox      -36%      $ 2.4     $ 53

Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $103 million total, ranking 36th of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $103 million, and the same weekend in 2010 was $115 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like an okay $101 million, down 3% from this weekend last year and down a similar percentage from an “average” comparable weekend over the past four years.          

This Weekend Last Two Years

 Limitless REL PG13 Bradley Cooper Abbie Cornish 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $16  Actual: $19
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $83  Actual: $79
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $78
 Paul UNI R Simon Pegg Nick Frost 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $12  Actual: $13
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $47  Actual: $37
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $60
 The Lincoln Lawyer LG R Matthew McConaughey Ryan Phillippe 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $10  Actual: $13
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $61  Actual: $58
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $17
 The Bounty Hunter SONY PG13 Gerard Butler Jennifer Aniston 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $22  Actual: $21
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $62  Actual: $67
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $69
 Diary of a Wimpy Kid FOX PG Chloe Moretz  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $17  Actual: $22
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $57  Actual: $64
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $4
 Repo Men UNI R Jude Law Forest Whitaker 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $10  Actual: $6
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $15  Actual: $14
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $4
Check back throughout the weekend for box office updates as the actual numbers come in.


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.