Friday, July 25, 2008

Weekend Box Office Bingo...

Another tough nut to crack. Here's my iron-clad prediction - The Dark Knight will be number 01 again (wow, I sure am ballsy).

The Dark Knight - $85 million. It's impossible to guess how much it will drop in the second weekend, especially in light of the obscene weekday business (it did $64 million on just Mon-Wed, which would have made it the third-biggest three-day opening of the year). Still, the rush of repeat business during the week could hurt would-be repeat business this weekend, as moviegoers decide to take a break from Batsy to check out the new releases (or, god willing, catch up on Hellboy II). Also, anecdotal evidence suggests that the press-coverage of said weekend and weekday coverage may scare away the casually interested, who may wait till the week or next weekend to avoid crowds. Still, the fan-love of this film and casual interest of this 'event' will more than prevent the usual 60%+ drop that mega-openers often face. So, yes, it most likely will crack $300 million by Sunday, if not Saturday. And, no, I will not be all that surprised if it only drops 37% and pulls off the first-ever $100 million non-opening weekend.

Stepbrothers - $22 million. Hard to peg, since the tracking is similar to Semi-Pro, which surprised with a mere $15 million last March. Still, the ad campaign is much better and forceful this time around (those video posters with Ferrell and Reilly picking on each other are genuinely clever), and the film feels like enough of a departure for Ferrell to bring in the faithful. The reviews are been mixed-to-positive and the film just looks funnier than Semi-Pro (although that film is slightly better than its reputation). For anyone looking for a straight comedy, this has been the only game in town thus far this summer. Although it will hurt the bottom line, as it did on Semi-Pro, it's nice that Ferrell is now making R-rated comedies. We'll see if that keeps up even if this one under performs.

X-Files: I Want To Believe - $20 million. At a cost of merely $35 million, this sequel merely needs to survive in order to turn a long-term profit. The reviews are mediocre, although many of the reviews are complaining that the film is either too much for newbies, not enough for newbies, or plays like an extended episode of the show (as if that's a bad thing considering the show's consistent quality). If not for the juggernaut that is Batman, I'd expect this one to get closer to $25 million, and that may still happen. The X-Files fan base is still relatively obsessed, and even the casual fans (like myself) are likely looking forward to a reunion with old friends. Again, I ask, if the film was going to be made so cheaply, why not go for an R-rating? THAT would have gotten the mainstream public at least a little curious. Anyway, I'd imagine that the film will do about 40% of its business over the next three days, but Fox was smart to restrict the budget and may yet get a franchise of 'stand-alone' episodes every few years.

Both of the above could easily switch places and either of them could hit the $25 million mark.

Check back tomorrow afternoon for a rundown of the Friday night numbers (remember, I won't be first because I want to wait till the ACCURATE estimates come in).

Scott Mendelson

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