Welcome back to Box Office Beat, the column in which I hopelessly predict the weekend box office tallies. After the two complete and utter failures of last weekend (Tom Cruise’s “Rock of Ages” and Adam Sandler’s “That’s My Boy”), there is no place for this weekend’s releases to go but up. It helps that one of them is a Pixar movie, and as a general rule, Pixar movies do well. Let’s crunch some numbers…
The aforementioned Pixar movie is “Brave,” which is the studio’s first effort headlined by a female protagonist. I doubt the change will have any significant impact on the film’s performance, however, because most viewers are attracted to Pixar releases because of the brand’s reputation for doing good work, not because of the individual stories. As a result, I’m predicting that “Brave” opens to the average of non-sequel summer Pixar releases. That calculation includes “Finding Nemo” ($70.3m), “Up” ($68.1m), “Cars” ($60.1m), “WALL-E” ($63.1m), and “Ratatouille” ($47.0m). The end result: $61.7 million. That number could go higher if a larger-than-normal percentage of viewers choose to see the movie in 3-D, but that seems unlikely because critics have not been kind to its use of stereoscopy.
Then there is the R-rated piece of historical fiction (emphasis on the latter term) “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” which is being sold primarily to 17- to 35-year-old males. The movie had great early Internet buzz, but that seems to have fizzled as the release date has approached, suggesting that viewers thought the concept was amusing but aren’t actually interested in seeing the movie. Further, it seems like the target demo just got their 3-D horror-thriller fix with “Prometheus” and may not be jonesing for another movie just yet. Realistically, I see this opening 20% lower than the “Underworld” movies, putting its weekend tally at right around $18.5 million.
Last up is “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” the apocalyptic comedy starring Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley. The studio, Focus Features, pushed the movie’s release date back from April, which may not have been a good move because it’ll be competing for older viewers against two breakout indie hits (their own “Moonrise Kingdom” and Fox Searchlight’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”). Furthermore, the movie isn’t getting very good reviews, which are important to this target audience. Focus has been blitzing the airwaves with ads, so it probably won’t completely tank, but I can’t see a per-theater average of much higher than $4,000, bringing its weekend total to a mediocre $6.5 million.
My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:
- “Brave” … $61.7m
- “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” … $18.5m
- “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” … $17.1m -49.8%
- “Prometheus” (review) … $10.3m -50.3%
- “Rock of Ages” … $8.0m -44.7%
- “Snow White and the Huntsman” (review) … $6.6m -50.2%
- “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” … $6.5m
- “That’s My Boy” (review) … $5.5m -59.1%
- “Men in Black 3” (review) … $4.5m -55.2%
- “The Avengers” (review) … $4.4m -50.6%