Friday, November 08, 2013

Thor Hammering Away at the Box Office this Weekend

Scott provides some really insightful and in-depth thoughts when analyzing the chances of Thor: The Dark World at the box office this weekend.

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While in the past number of weeks have seen a lot of competition in theatres, with many movies of many genres opening each week, this upcoming weekend is fairly plain Jane, with not a lot of action.  Well, when I say that there is not a lot of action, there is. It is just that all of the action is coming from the hammer-wielding Norse deity, Thor. There is a reason why it is the only scheduled wide release debut this weekend, and that is because all of the other films know to give this one a wide birth, and not attempt to go up against it for consumer dollars.

The first movie of this Marvel Comics superhero, Thor, managed to sit well with both audiences and critics, hitting an opening weekend of $65 million and finishing with a worldwide total of $449 million. That is how you do a solo movie for a super hero whom you wish to build a franchise around. Take note, Green Lantern, take note. Since the first movie in 2011, The Avengers (2012) was a global phenomenon, and that is going to have a big impact on Thor: The Dark World.

The Avengers effect could be felt very heavily with Iron Man 3, which was the first of the Marvel movies following The Avengers. The second Iron Man movie saw a natural increase of 25% from the first movie on its opening weekend, while Iron Man 3 (which came out a year after The Avengers) saw an incredible 36% increase from the second film (putting Iron Man 3’s opening weekend 70% higher than the first movie). It is reasonable to assume that a second Thor movie would see a natural increase from the first movie, but we need to add onto that natural progression the accelerated popularity that The Avengers has brought.

Now, before we start believing that Thor: The Dark World will see an increase of 70% (the same overall increase in the Iron Man franchise post The Avengers), there are a few things that we need to do to temper our predictions. First of all, Chris Hemsworth’s star is rising right now, but he is nowhere near Robert Downey Jr. Hemsworth’s name has not grown enough to add a huge drawing factor to this film.  His last film, Rush (which was evidence that not only does he have the look, but he can act the heck out of a script as well), made only $10 million its wide release weekend. Secondly, Thor is no Iron Man.

While the long-haired god brings the pain, it was Tony Stark who was front and centre in The Avengers.  Because of these factors, I do not believe it will be proportional to the post Avengers franchise increase of Iron Man. It is still possible, though. If it hits $110 million, then it has gotten the 70% increase, and there are some sites seeing this movie as having the potential to get to $100 million.

* A pre-publish edit. I have just read some interesting numbers on the Facebook and Twitter popularity of Thor: The Dark World, and all bets are off. This movie very well could far exceed every expectation that people have. The rumoured prediction from Disney is that they were expecting $80 million, a number that now seems way too low. According to Boxoffice.com, the film is ahead of where Iron Man 3 was just prior to release in Twitter activity. As well, Thor had just over 400,000 likes on Facebook on the day before opening, while The Dark World has over 8 million. If we combine that with the fact that it has already started smashing the international box office, all of my previous calculations could be thrown out the window.

Thor: The Dark World Opening Weekend Prediction – $105 million

Another movie that needs mentioning is 12 Years a Slave, the movie about a free African American man who gets abducted and sold into slavery. It has spent the past three weeks in limited release, and now it will be spreading across North American as it will be screened in 1,144 theatres. It has performed really well thus far, but the content of the movie may seem a bit too ‘downer’ or may rub people the wrong way. It looks like it packs emotion, turmoil, and a message, and sometimes films like that fizzle once they exceed the art house theatres. This movie has the benefit of the critical acclaim and the Oscar buzz, so it should be able to maintain a strong performance.

12 Years a Slave Nationwide Expansion Weekend Prediction - $9 million

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