March 27, 2011

WEEKEND STUDIO ESTIMATES: Wimpy Kid Gets a Little Stronger; Weekend Does Not Look As Bad

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Based on actual box office numbers Friday and Saturday, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is now slightly exceeding the ShowbuzzDaily forecast, according to studio projections for the weekend.  Sucker Punch is looking like it will miss the forecast by $3 million.  The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate estimate is significantly higher for Diary than Sucker ($74 million vs $40 million), although worldwide Sucker Punch will probably tie Diary 2 (with something like $80 million).  But as Mitch Salem pointed out yesterday in his Box Office Footnotes, the costs of the two films are wildly different.  The worldwide total for Sucker Punch will still be far below the real cost of production and marketing, while Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 will continue to show a tidy profit.  (At the bottom of this post, read our plans to track worldwide box office numbers on ShowbuzzDaily.)  Limitless and Lincoln Lawyer are showing extremely solid playability, with very low weekend declines.   

March 25-27, 2011                          vs    Showbuzz
                       Showbuzz   Studio  Last   Domestic
                       Forecast   Prjectn Wknd   Ultimate
Diary Wimpy Kid 2 (Fox)  $21.5     $24.0           $74
Sucker Punch (WB)        $22       $19.0           $40
Limitless (Rel)          $11       $15.2  -19%     $83
Lincoln Lawyer (LG)      $ 8.5     $11.0  -17%     $62
Rango (Par)              $10       $ 9.8  -35%     $129
Battle: LA (Sony)        $ 7       $ 7.6  -48%     $88
Paul (Uni)               $ 7       $ 7.5  -42%     $45

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like they will total $108 million — a fairly soft number compared to the past four-year average for the last weekend in March or compared to this weekend last year, when How to Train Your Dragon opened with more than the combined total of the Diary and Sucker openings. 

Top 12 Films: Last Weekend in March

2011    $108  (-6% vs 2007-10 average; -7% vs 2010) 

4yr-Avg $116  
              Movies Opening That Weekend
2010    $117  How Train Dragon ($44), Hot Tub Time Machine ($14)
2009    $139  Monster vs Aliens ($59), Haunting in CT ($23) 
2008    $ 90  21 ($24), Superhero Movie ($9.5), Stop Loss ($4.6)
2007    $116  Blades of Glory ($33), Meet the Robinsons ($25)

Looking ahead to next weekend, three new movies and a sanitized re-release of the Best Picture will open: 

  Hop (Universal) — followup to surprise hit Despicable Me from Illumination Entertainment
  Insidious (FilmDistrict) — Saw director (James Wan) and writer (Leigh Whannell) reunite
  Source Code (Summit) — Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga in time travel thriller
  King’s Speech (PG13 re-release) (Weinstein) — proof of the silliness of the ratings system

The movies above will be compared against a class of three new openers that collectively brought in $106 million the first three days:  Clash of the Titans opened with $61 million, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too ($29 opening), The Last Song ($16 million; Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear, anyone?).  Those three openings, plus the holdover business, propelled the weekend of April 2-4, 2010 to $169 million for the top 12 films.  It doesn’t look good for next weekend’s crop to break the box office out of the slump.

International Box Office.  Finally, a few bar bets.  Which film has made more money worldwide: Megamind or The King’s SpeechBlack Swan or Little Fockers?  The answers might surprise you.  On Monday we will answer those questions and examine how the 35 wide release films of the fourth quarter 2010 fared domestically and overseas.  On Tuesday we’ll review the few dozen films from the first quarter of this year and start tracking international numbers each week. 

–Mitch Metcalf

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.