April 10, 2011

WEEKEND STUDIO ESTIMATES APR 8-10: Lackluster Weekend, But Better Times Ahead?

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The weekend studio projections (Friday and Saturday actual numbers plus a studio-generated estimate for Sunday’s business) are very similar to the early look at the weekend from yesterday.  Hop will lead the way, with Arthur and Hanna battling out for second place (a race that could go down to the wire Monday morning with the official weekend numbers).  The one change in ranking from yesterday is Insidious (down a scant 27% from last weekend) sneaking past Your Highness, a true disappointment of a film.  Despite a rather lackluster weekend, there actually is some reason for optimism in the coming weeks.  Details after the jump.  

April 8-10, 2011        Pre-Wknd    Wknd     vs    Showbuzz
                        Showbuzz   Studio   Last   Domestic
                        Forecast   Prjectn  Wknd   Ultimate
Hop (Uni)                [$23.5]    $21.7   -42%     $117
Arthur (WB)              [$15  ]    $12.5    n/a     $ 33
Hanna (Foc)              [$ 8.5]    $12.3    n/a     $ 41
Soul Surfer (Tri)        [$10  ]    $11.1    n/a     $ 33
Insidious (FilmDis)      [$ 7  ]    $ 9.7   -27%     $ 53 ++
Your Highness (Uni)      [$13.5]    $ 9.5    n/a     $ 25

Source Code (Sum)        [$ 9  ]    $ 9.1   -39%     $ 56
Limitless (Rel)          [$ 6  ]    $ 5.7   -39%     $ 81
Diary Wimpy Kid 2 (Fox)  [$ 5.5]    $ 4.9   -51%     $ 55
Lincoln Lawyer (LG)      [$ 4.5]    $ 4.6   -33%     $ 60

Rango (Par)              [ n/a ]    $ 2.3   -49%     $123
Sucker Punch (WB)        [ n/a ]    $ 2.1   -65%     $ 38

Note: The table above summarizes the weekend as of Sunday.  The first column is reminder of each film’s ShowbuzzDaily Forecast (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the “studio projection” for each film, based on the Friday and Saturday numbers (and a studio-supplied estimate of Sunday).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade. 

Total Weekend Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like they will total $105 million — down a slight 1% from the four-year average for this comparable weekend and down 11% from a solid weekend last year (when Date Night had the weekend to itself).  Although this is yet another double-digit decline versus last year, there is some reason for optimism that the Hollywood’s fortunes could be changing. 

Top 12 Films: Second Weekend in April

2011  $105  (-1% vs 2007-10 average; -11% vs 2010) 

Avg   $106  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $119  Date Night $25
2009  $126  Hannah Montana $32, Observe & Report $11, Dragonball

             Evolution $5
2008  $ 81  Prom Night $21, Street Kings $12, Smart People $4
2007  $ 99  Disturbia $22, Perfect Stranger $11, Pathfinder $5

The Weeks Ahead

Looking ahead to next weekend, two new movies open wide that are nicely counter programmed.  The animated comedy Rio (Fox) opens alongside horror sequel Scream 4 (Weinstein).  The two films could open to a combined $75-80 million.  In contrast, last year that weekend was no great shakes in terms of openings: Kick-Ass ($20 million) and Death at a Funeral ($16 million).  So we could see some major year to year increases next weekend.

The following weekend we could see some more positive momentum when Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family opens (probably to $30+ million) along with Water for Elephants (in the $20+ range).  That weekend last year was a complete whiff: Back-Up Plan ($12 million), The Losers ($9 million), and Oceans ($6 million).  Big plus signs seem to be in the making for the weekend of April 22-24.   

And although the final weekend of April last year saw a very good opening (A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s $33 million), it was hampered by a horrific film’s colossal failure (Furry Vengeance‘s $7 million).  This year during the weekend of April 29, Universal should score big with Fast Five (in the $60-65 million range). 

After a long drought that started in January, we might be seeing signs of a turnaround at the box office this year.  We have a long way to go to erase the severe losses this winter, but April and hopefully May could perk up ticket sales nicely.

Reminder: on Tuesday we will update the international numbers for current films and take a look at the home video market. 

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.