Friday, January 31, 2014

It Could be an Awkward and Laborious Super Bowl Weekend at the Box Office

The final weekend of Dumpuary is upon us, and it is the worst weekend for new movies hoping for a hot start. Scott analyzes the chances for the two new wide releases on Super Bowl weekend.

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Alright, it is Super Bowl weekend, which means that it is typically one of the worst weekends of the year in theatres as people have other things that they are paying attention to. Last year the big football weekend managed just shy of $69 million (with only the first weekend in September having a worse outing, headlined by Riddick) and was led by the zombie rom-com, Warm Bodies. So far, 2014 is faring better than 2013 year to date, and but do the new releases give it much of a chance at scoring a better Super Bowl weekend?

One of the movies coming out, That Awkward Moment, is an R-rated romantic comedy that will be entering into 2,800 theatres and stars Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan. I suppose there are fans of High School Musical out there who may be lured in by the Efron name, but those fans will have to be old enough to gain admission as it is an R-rated movie. Teller has had the history of R-rated comedies in the successful Project X (2012, $21 million opening weekend), and the similarly styled 21 and Over (2013, $8.7 million opening weekend) that was not nearly as successful. Both of those movies also had the advantage of opening the first weekend of March, and not during the black hole that is Super Bowl weekend.

As I mentioned, Warm Bodies is a romantic comedy that took first place last Super Bowl weekend ($20million opening), however it benefitted from not having a rating that could keep away some of its potential customers. Two years ago, Chronicle, another teen oriented movie, was able to capture first place with $22 million. There is definite potential for the right kind of movie to succeed during this weekend, but I just cannot wrap my head around the rating, which I think will ultimately be what could keep this movie from reaching the $20 million mark that has been achieved in the past.

That Awkward Moment Opening Weekend Prediction - $16.5 million

Back in the summer, there were a number of movies that had some serious hopes of awards contention around them, and one of those was Labor Day, the Jason Reitman directed drama starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The names of the people involved is what created the hype for this film, and unfortunately once it screened it lost a lot of the luster and hype that had been created around it. It was left out of the Oscar nominations completely, which has really hurt its chances of performing this weekend. I suppose that is the risk you run when your wide release expansion is left until after the nominations come out.

One advantage that it could have going for it is that there has not been a lot of recently released adult fare into theatres. I, Frankenstein seems to not have quenched the mature audience`s thirst for contemplative and deep films, so there is little competition for Labor Day in that regard. However, this is also the time where a lot of Oscar nominated films are still in theatre from their late 2013 release dates, as well as some of the older nominees (such as Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, and Gravity) are being brought back out into more theatres, and that is the main bad news for the chances of Labor Day. The biggest nail in the coffin could be that the current Rotten Tomatoes rating is 44%, which, while it means nothing for movies like That Awkward Moment, means a lot to movies for adults who may have to plan a whole evening around it, which could include having to get a babysitter, and will not want to waste the opportunity on a poorly made film. I really feel like this movie is simply going to be lost in the cracks.

Labour Day Opening Weekend Prediction - $4 million

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