Friday, November 22, 2013

The Odds Are Ever in Hunger Games Favor This Weekend at the Box Office

Scott looks at the chances for the new releases at the box office this weekend that includes a little picture called The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Have you ever heard of it?

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Two weeks ago Thor: The Dark World came into theatres and brought with it box office tallies that are reminiscent of summer blockbuster season. Right now, however, we are about to see a weekend with a movie that may be able to double Thor’s impressive $85 million dollar opening weekend. We also have a Vince Vaughn movie… and silence. Unfortunately for Mr. Vaughn, this weekend’s hype is all about the sequel to The Hunger Games, which may mean he gets completely lost in the shuffle.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is looking to surpass the success of the first movie, which came out in March of 2012 and made an impressive $152 million its opening weekend. It then went on to earn over $400 million domestically and almost $700 million world-wide. The franchise's start was also incredibly popular on DVD and Blu-Ray sales and sits in the number nine spot on best-selling Blu-Rays of all time.  Unfortunately I do not have similar statistics on where it sits on the all-time DVD list, but I can tell you that it has made a whopping $129 million in DVD sales alone. This sort of home video popularity, along with the fact that it has over 11 million Facebook likes and is getting upwards of 60,000 tweets in a day, I believe that it will do better than the first movie.

Back in early May, Iron Man 3 set the record for highest box office opening of the year with $174 million, and this is the first movie of the year to be in a position to challenge it. On one hand, I do not believe it has reached the status of Iron Man, which has had the benefit of two previous films as well as The Avengers to build its brand. On the other hand, there is an incredible buzz around this movie and it should be accepted that the opening weekend will probably be an easy ten to fifteen percent stronger than the first film’s. There is a lot about my prediction here that I do not feel certain of, but one thing I am confident in is that this movie should fare better overseas than the first movie. The Hunger Games brought in $276 million internationally, and I could see this film beating that quite easily. We will get a quick indication of how well it is catching on globally as it opens in China this weekend as well, and has already posted a $5 million opening week in Brazil.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Opening Weekend Prediction - $172 million

As mentioned, Vince Vaughn has a film out this weekend, and it is about a man who has donated many-a-sperm and finds out he has many-a-children. The trailer for Delivery Man makes the film appear as a comedy with a dramatic and heartwarming element, and it will be interesting to see how that sits with the Vince Vaughn crowd. His last really solid opening weekend was for Couples Retreat in 2009 which made $31 million its opening weekend, but that does not say much about Vaughn’s appeal as it was an ensemble movie. His latest film, The Internship, opened to an underwhelming $17 million weekend. Before that, The Watch (2012, and also an ensemble film), did even worse its opening weekend making only $12 million. I think this one will probably land somewhere below those numbers. The success of The Best Man Holiday may steal some would-be audience members away from Delivery Man, and The Hunger Games is going to be pulling in possible ticket buyers as well.

Delivery Man Opening Weekend Prediction - $10 million

In limited release this weekend are two Oscar hopefuls in Disney’s family animated film Frozen, and The Weinstein Company’s Philomena. Frozen will be playing in one theatre this weekend before it expands nation-wide next weekend. There is some solid talk around it gaining a nomination for best animated feature. Philomena stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and will be opening in four theatres this weekend. There is some talk that it could be a mild contender for best picture, and there is talk as well around Judi Dench being nominated for her role. The film’s chances at success were recently put in jeopardy as it was to be given an R rating on account of two F-words, but the Weinsteins were able to lobby for the film, which will be released as PG-13.

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