Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekend Box Office Bingo

Yet another reason not to open your movie on a Wednesday - If you don't open with 'Friday-like' numbers, you get the blogs and media complaining that you are already a loser going into Friday.

Tropic Thunder: $28 million three-day, $39 million five-day. So far, it has has pulled in about $11 million in its first two days. Not a sterling number, and certainly not great considering the (at least) $90 million production budget, but the opening weekend really begins today. Remember, this is an R-rated action comedy starring actual adults. Yes, Ben Stiller and Jack Black have solid youth appeal (Downey Jr. appeals more to their parents, Iron Man aside), but this is an adult movie and thus we can presume that the main audience is simply waiting till the weekend to see it. I'm sure plenty of people want to see it, but no one has to see it RIGHT NOW, which is why they should have just waited till Friday. In all likelihood, this is going to play closer to Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skill than The Pineapple Express (pattern-wise, not numbers wise). In other words, the film will slowly build towards a peak on Saturday night, just like movies used to do back in the day.

Using that template, expect a solid 6x opening day multiplier (Pineapple Express had 3.4x) for a final five day total of $39 million. If it performs like King Kong, expect a 6.8x multiplier and a $44 million Sunday total. I don't think Shrek 2 is a proper comparison here, but let's amuse ourselves. Shrek 2 made a meager $21 million by Friday, than made another $108 million for a five-day total of $129 million (obviously no one cared about seeing this one first or inconveniently). That's a 11x multiplier and would give Tropic Thunder $71 million by Sunday. Ain't gonna happen, but there you have it. Shrek 2's incredibly anomaly of a Wednesday opening has forever screwed predictions for Wednesday openings.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - IE - Star Wars does Never Say Never Again. That was a Warner Bros. James Bond film that had no theme music, no Q, and no real continuity that matched up with the other Bond films (long story, but it was basically a remake of Thunderball with only Sean Connery returning to the role giving the movie a reason to exist). This is Warner Bros.' Star Wars entry, which is not live-action, has no Fox Fanfare, no John Williams music (I assume the allegedly terrible score uses bits and pieces), and only a few of the original trilogy actors returning to voice their characters. In truth, this is basically the extended pilot for the upcoming Clone Wars cartoon show coming soon to Cartoon Network and TNT (hence, I presume, the Warner Bros. release). The reviews have been dreadful (although a friend had a point, in that this may be the critics beating up on Lucas after not being able to bring themselves to pan Indy 4), and there is no real excitement even from the hardcores. The AICN critical trashing and the resulting controversy didn't help. So, expect $15 million and a healthy life on DVD (ironically, Clone Wars will likely be the first Star Wars film on BluRay).

UPDATED: I completely forgot about Mirrors when I did this write-up. I was expecting about $9 million and it did $11 million. That's even more impressive as it didn't have a huge screen count and when I saw it Sunday afternoon at the AMC Woodland Hills (the wife loves her horror films), it was in one of their smaller theaters.

The Dark Knight will start to lose screens and probably drop 45%. Still, a $14.5 million weekend would bring the total to a stunning $468 million (passing Star Wars for the second-highest grossing film of all time in the US).

Scott Mendelson

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