Friday, November 21, 2008

Box Office Bingo - 11/21/08

Twilight - $75 million. The hype for this one has been building for the last few months, with at least two Entertainment Weekly cover stories to boot. The books are a huge deal with the target demo (middle school and high school girls and, to a lesser extent, adult women) and this adaptation promises to be about as slavishly faithful as Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone. Of course, it's not a coincidence that the upstart Summit Entertainment moved this one from December 12th to November 21st, following the rescheduling of a certain boy wizard. Summit desperately wants this to be as much 'the next Harry Potter' in the film world as the books are in the literary scene. Fun trivia - when I saw Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (exactly three years ago this weekend), a huge chunk of the female audience loudly sighed/swooned when Cedric Diggory first appeared onscreen. How ironic that 'the boy who lived' is being directly challenged by a franchise starring Robert Pattinson, 'the boy who died'.

A few things, however, will prevent this from reaching Harry Potter opening weekend heights (not that anyone is going to be disappointed with anything over $40 million). First of all, Summit is only opening on only 3200 screens. Second of all, unless you're a big fan of the books or the subject matter, the film doesn't look very exciting, more like a slightly better cast and produced version of The Covenant. Third of all, let's face it, one of the big reasons that the film industry is such a male-dominated enterprise is that girls are usually more than happy to see 'boy movies' like Iron Man, but boys usually won't go anywhere near 'girl movies' like Sex & The City. Basically, this is a textbook example of 'female escapism'. So, aside from any existing male fans of the books, the only male traffic is going to be from boyfriends (who can't help but come up short in comparison to the seemingly perfect Edward), platonic friends who really want to get laid (it ain't gonna happen... move on), and from pervy older men who want to scope out the stream of awkward, single, romantically inclined high school and middle school girls. If I score this weekend, my wife gets one 'hot nerd' at the next Comic Con (think Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory).

That $75 million could well be an underestimate (even Summit Entertainment is claiming a shot at $70 million), but I'm not willing to presume anything after the shocking under performance of High School Musical 3 (fine, it wasn't going to open to $80 million - but to barely make $80 million total??). For the record, expect opening day front-loading on the scale of Sex & The City and XXX. Still, this is going to be a huge opening and if the fans are happy, expect a frighteningly small drop-off over the Thanksgiving weekend (what else are they going to see - Australia or Milk?).

Bolt - $40 million.
This is the third 'not Pixar but not just Disney' release in the last two years, and also their third 3D release. Chicken Little was atrocious while Meet The Robinsons was the best movie of 2007 (you heard me - go rent it and tell me I'm wrong). I'm guessing this one will be somewhere in the middle. The marketing has been mammoth per usual, and the cast is unfortunately more celebrity heavy than the recent Disney slate (good for marketing, but often bad for the movie). The reviews are surprisingly solid (84% so far), so expect this one to equal if not surpass the three-day take over the long Thanksgiving holiday. But seriously, go rent Meet The Robinsons... it's good for the soul.

Quantum Of Solace - $34 million.
The word of mouth is decidedly mixed and the marketplace will be crowded, so expect an unusually large drop for this very fast-earning 007 picture. Still, even if the drop is 50% or more, it should level off over the next month as it becomes the safe second choice of casual moviegoers for the rest of the year.

I'll do my best to update tomorrow.

Scott Mendelson

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