Hello and welcome back to my weekly Box Office Beat column, the second published here at Critic Speak. Last weekend, I did very well with my predictions–in fact, I was one of the few prognosticators to accurately peg that Think Like a Man would be the victor–but I did low-ball the grosses by a bit. Then again, virtually no one thought that Think Like a Man would break $30m and The Lucky One $20m, so my predictions were about as good as it got. Let’s hope I can replicate the same over this upcoming frame.
This weekend brings four new releases — an amount that suggests the studios are utilizing this last opportunity to dump films before we enter the summer months, when it’s comparatively expensive to advertise. In spite of this, one release should open big and another has a pretty good chance of posting a respectable figure.
The big opener will be The Five-Year Engagement, from Team Apatow. It’s directed by Nick Stoller, whose previous films Forgetting Sarah Marshall (also starring Jason Segel) and Get Him to the Greek, both opened just under $18m. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the floor for this one. But because this film is far more inclusive of the female demographic, with the trailer and ads promoting that it’s a rom-com, it should end up even higher. Conveniently, Team Apatow made another wedding-themed film, last year’s mega-hit Bridesmaids, which is an ideal comparison. That opened to $26.2 million, which could very well be replicated down to the hundred-thousand.
Also carrying some potential is The Pirates! Band of Misfits, from Aardman Animation. It has the benefit of facing little competition for kid audiences — The Three Stooges and Disney’s Chimpanzee aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes and The Lorax is almost gone. This should compensate for the fact that the film is much more inclusive of boys than girls, meaning it would otherwise likely underperform the Aardman average by 25%. But instead, it should come in only slightly underneath that average–which includes the films Chicken Run, Arthur Christmas, Flushed Away, and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit–to $15 million.
Next is The Raven, starring John Cusack, which got a panel at last year’s Comic-Con and has received its fair share of television advertising in recent weeks. It’s being distributed by relative newcomer Relativity, which has opened three big hits but has otherwise posted mid-to-small grosses. I see The Raven ending up in the same ballpark as the studio’s January 2011 Nic Cage release, Season of the Witch — $10.6 million. It will likewise skew male and Cusack is of a similar stature to Cage in current Hollywood.
Lastly, there’s Safe, the latest Jason Statham release from Lionsgate. It’s likely to post a figure in line with other Statham-driven non-sequels — The Mechanic ($11.4m), Crank ($10.5m), The Bank Job ($5.9m) and The Transporter ($9.1m). The average of those four is $9.3 million, which is as good a prediction as any.
My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:
- The Five-Year Engagement … $26.2m
- The Pirates! Band of Misfits … $15m
- Think Like a Man … $14.8m -56.0%
- The Lucky One … $11.2m -50.3%
- The Raven … $10.6m
- The Hunger Games … $9.5m -35.2%
- Safe … $9.3m
- Chimpanzee … $5.4m -49.4%
- The Three Stooges … $5.2m -46.7%
- Cabin in the Woods … $4.8m -40.1%