Friday, November 15, 2013

Scott Battles for Redemption in his War Over Thor's Box Office Chances

This weekend offers up the answer to, "Is there only depressing and serious movies with a majority African American cast?" with a highly anticipated sequel to a comedy hit from the '90s.  Scott predicts its chances for success while also resuming his little war with Thor.

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For the second weekend in a row we are seeing only one debuting wide release film. Last weekend’s movie was Thor: The Dark Work, and it made sense that films would not want to open up against this blockbuster. So why is there only one movie scheduled this weekend considering this is usually a very busy time in theatres? The answer to that comes next weekend in the form of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which could be chasing Iron Man 3 for the best opening weekend of 2013. When two huge movies are released two weeks apart, it becomes obvious why not many studios were rushing to squeeze a film in between them.

Stepping up to the challenge this weekend is The Best Man Holiday, the sequel to the 1999 movie The Best Man. Director Malcolm D. Lee’s first movie was The Best Man, and he is back with the cast 14 years later to try and recapture the magic. The Best Man debuted at number one with $9 million and had a decent average of $6,710 per theatre. While Lee’s last movie is the seldom talked about Scary MoVie, I would like to make a personal note that he is responsible for directing one of my favourite comedies in Undercover Brother. This is a man who does know how to catch a charm for a film and integrate characters and humour in pleasant ways.

The advantage that it has in opening this particular weekend is that there is absolutely no competition to go against it. Thor will still be rocking and rolling in theatres, but The Best Man Holiday will be targeting towards older audiences, and most likely the African-American demographic. Nostalgia is a great motivator in getting people out to theatres (when used sparingly, and not the way The Expendables are going about it) so I definitely think there will be a good opening weekend in store for this film.

The Best Man Holiday Opening Weekend Prediction - $19 Million

Since I spent so much time talking about Thor: The Dark World last weekend, I may as well step forward and try to redeem my awful opening weekend prediction for the film and either redeem myself or make myself look even more out to lunch on predicting the Norse god. One thing that makes me wonder about this film is just how front loaded the performance is. It took in $7 million from Thursday night showings, which is a super number, but the rest of the weekend just did not seem to reflect to me the sort of numbers that would be consistent with such a start. This leaves me believing that the week two drop off will be a little harsh for the sequel, especially compared to the ‘none too shabby’ second week drop the original had at 47%. I am predicting a loss of an additional 10% on top of that, putting it in the high 50% range (for the sake of my calculator, I will say 58%).

Thor: The Dark World Second Weekend Prediction - $36 Million

This is make or break it time. Up until this movie, I was doing quite well with my predictions, and ended up four for four the weekend before Thor came along. It is now my white whale, and I want to catch it. The down side is that it could sink me, as there seems to be some good confidence in some that it will hold up really well. Even Iron Man 3 suffered a similar percentage drop, so I am holding fast and sticking to my gut feelings on this one.

As well, there are two movies in limited release that are debuting which deserve a bit of conversation. First, we have Charlie Countryman, a movie starring Transformer’s Shia LaBeouf who is in the process of expanding his portfolio with films like this one and Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. Charlie Countryman also has narration by John Hurt, which does lead to a little disappointment as it is the type of role where he cannot expand his on screen death tally (I think he has died over forty times on screen). The reviews for the movie are not going well at all, so it will be up to the erotic Nymphomania to add that new level of depth to Labeouf’s resume.

The second limited release movie worth talking about is Nebraska, a film which is directed by two time Oscar winner Alexander Payne (The Descendants) and stars Bruce Dern, who has been acting since 1960 and has one Oscar nomination to his credit. This is a movie where there seems to be some talk of Oscar nominations, and it could work that the heartstrings will be pulling for a man who has had a long career and never won the big award. The movie seems to have a quirky sense of humour to it, and is shot in black and white, both aspects which seem to have the power to keep mainstream audiences at bay.

Nebraska Limited Release Opening Weekend Prediction - $27,000 per theatre

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