Friday, September 06, 2013

Riddick Battles Films from the Not-Too-Distant Past at the Box Office

Scott changes things up by including some older films in his predictions of the box office this weekend.

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Perhaps this weekend really is the sign of the transition from summer, where we had high budget blockbusters slamming their explosions over our heads, to Oscar season.  And in any transition, there can be bumps in the road.  I am referring to a very uninspiring weekend in theatres, where we do have a franchise in Riddick (starring Vin Diesel), which has some fans excited but leaves others feeling this is a good weekend to forego the theatre experience and save those dollars for the plethora of films coming out soon enough that can capture our imaginations and provoke our thoughts and emotions.

Riddick is the third movie about the title character, with the first one being Pitch Black (2000) followed by The Chronicles of Riddick (2004).  One might first believe that this must be a financially viable franchise for them to be returning after such a break.  The truth is the first movie did turn a bit of a profit, bringing in $53 million worldwide on a budget of $23 million, the second movie, however, was a bit of a different story. They went all in on The Chronicles of Riddick, putting $120 million into the production.  The gamble did not pay off, as only $57 million was made domestically, and a worldwide total of $107 million.  Smart heads prevailed with Riddick as the budget comes in at $38 million, and is all the more appropriate seeing how high budget movies of the past few months have been struggling.

One reason I heard for the nine year gap since The Chronicles of Riddick was due to the arrival of a bundle of joy for actor Vin Diesel.  Because of the type of character Riddick is, Diesel did not want to have to bring himself to a dark place while at the same time celebrating the new life of his child, and wanted to ensure his life was positive at that time.  Two things come from this.  The first, a lot of respect from me for the prioritizing of his responsibilities.  Sadly, my respect is not legal tender (yet) so this has no tangible weight for Mr. Diesel.  Secondly, and much more tangibly, Diesel’s career is re-igniting right now, and that is bound to help the success of Riddick.  Earlier in the year Fast and Furious 6 raked in a gargantuan $787 million.  The timing of Riddick may be as good as it possibly could get.

Riddick Opening Weekend Prediction - $25.5 million

Because it is a bit of a slower weekend, I am going to make a prediction on Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Its first two weeks of release saw it at number one in the box office, and it dropped to second its third week after suffering only a ten percent decrease in gross from the previous week.  What assisted it last week was the fact that the only real competition was One Direction: This is Us, and screaming teenage girls are not the market that would be bolstering The Butler’s ticket sales, so there was no real audience loss to the competition.  As well, it was a long weekend before the end of summer, which can give people a reason to spend a bit of money and see a good movie.  This weekend, I predict it will take a drop of 25%, though it could probably get up as high as 35%.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler Weekend Prediction - $11.1 million

And also of interesting note is the fact that the theatres will once again be screening This is the End, an apocalyptic comedy directed by and starring Seth Rogan.  It originally came out on June 14 and looks to be attempting to make it to $100 million domestically with it currently sitting at $96 million.  One could see a bit of a second wind in its performance last week as it went from averaging $1,200 per theatre to $3,019.  I am completely at a loss as to how to format a prediction on a situation like this, so please grant me a bit of grace on this one.  I am predicting $2,500 per theatre, and I believe it is in over 2,000 theatres but I have not been able to confirm that.  Shooting from the hip on this one…

This is the End Weekend Prediction - $5 million

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