Friday, November 29, 2013

Hunger Games Battles Musicals and Aging Action Stars

It is a very diverse weekend at the box office as there is an animated fairy tale musical and a Christmas musical for those hankering for catchy tunes, but also Jason Statham battling a crazy James Franco as well as Jennifer Lawrence still kicking ass in the wilderness.  I should also mention that we were very close to getting an old fashioned and very violent adult picture in wide release, but it seems like studio execs quickly remembered they don't do that anymore, but much kudos from Spike Lee bringing something less mainstream to many theatres.  Anyway, here is Scott with his analysis of the box office weekend.

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After scoring a weekend tally that set a new record for the month of November, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be seeking to repeat as the number one movie this weekend. Standing in its path are Frozen, Black Nativity, and Homefront, all of whom are out for your dollars this weekend. As well, there are some expansions like Philomena, and The Book Thief. If this is not a busy enough weekend, we also have in limited release Spike Lee’s adaptation of the Korean cult classic Oldboy, and the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom from The Weinstein Company. I will try to keep my head together and my wits about me as I navigate this very intricate weekend of predictions.

Catching Fire was an incredible success this past weekend as it came within around fifteen million dollars of catching Iron Man 3’s 2013 leading opening weekend. However, when one considers the fact that Tony Stark had the advantage of higher ticket prices thanks to 3D showings, something Catching Fire did without, they are probably in the same ball park as far as number of tickets sold. When The Hunger Games entered its second weekend back in March of 2012 it saw a drop of 62%, but considering how well Catching Fire did maintaining throughout the weekend (grabbing the third highest grossing Saturday in box office history), I believe it will manage better. I predict it will drop around 57%.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Second Weekend Prediction - $68 million

After having a great opening weekend last week in Disney’s El Capitan theatre where it brought in $243 thousand, it is expanding nationwide to over 3,700 theatres. While the previous animated family feature Free Birds didn’t take the world by storm, Frozen is looking to cash in on a five day opening weekend around the American Thanksgiving holiday. It had a great day on Wednesday, bringing in $15 million. It should be able to hold up well over the holiday as there is next to no competition for it. Two years ago, Disney released Tangled on Thanksgiving with a five day opening weekend, and it pulled in $68 million over the five days, with an $11 million opening day. I believe that with Frozen easily outperforming Tangled’s opening day, it should be safe to believe that the trend will continue throughout the course of the weekend. While the opening day increase is around 33% to that of Tangled, I think it will end up outperforming it by around 25% over the course of the five days.

Frozen Five Day Opening Weekend Prediction - $85 million

Opening this weekend is Jason Statham’s action movie, Homefront. Well, while it is starring Statham, it is more like Sylvester Stallone’s movie who wrote and produced it. I even heard a rumour in some dark corner of the internet that it was intended at one time to be part of the Rambo story line. If that is the case, wiser heads prevailed and the aging man who only wanted a meal (and subsequently destroyed a small, harmless town) is left out of the script. Statham’s last action movie, Parker, did not fare very well as it only took in $7 million over its opening weekend and had a domestic total of $17 million on a budget of $35 million. I cannot see Homefront doing any better, especially since there are two behemoth movies with lots of action running amuck in theatres right now in Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Homefront Five Day Opening Weekend Prediction – $8 Million

From an action movie, we now move to a musical in Black Nativity, which has a decent cast including Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett. My initial instinct was that this film was going to perform very well, based on the recent success of The Best Man Holiday, which showed the African American demographic was more than willing to head to the theatres and spend their money for the right film. After reading about its meager Wednesday performance of only $440 thousand, my expectations for this film are changing rapidly. Where once I believed it could easily pass ten million dollars, I am now wondering if it will reach half of that.

Black Nativity Five Day Opening Weekend Prediction - $5 million

Opening this weekend in limited release is the Spike Lee directed Oldboy, which is a remake of a 2003 South Korean film which has become a cult classic. I had held a great deal of anticipation for this film, but I find that now wavering as the reviews for it are looking rather weak at the moment. Also, and more worryingly, this is a movie that was originally supposed to be a wide release film and has now been cut back to only 583 theatres. This makes me wonder if the studio is giving up on it before it even hits the theatres. While they may get some interest from fans of the original, the vast majority of people have never heard of it and may let this movie pass them by in favour of one of the other films congregating in theatres right now.

Oldboy Five Day Opening Weekend Prediction - $1.4 million

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is now the third movie that I have mentioned today that has a colon in the title, and is a film starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela. It is the type of movie that has ‘Oscar bait’ written all over it, and the early reviews are possibly indicating that it may not quite be of the caliber that everyone had hoped as it has 68% on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. It is opening in four theatres this weekend and may be able to prosper off of the traction for black culture movies that 12 Years a Slave and Lee Daniel’s The Butler have been able to generate within the last few months.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Limited Release Opening Weekend Prediction - $25,000 per theatre

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