Box Office Beat: Weekend of August 3

Danny Baldwin's Box Office BeatHello and welcome back to Box Office Beat, the column in which I hopelessly try to predict the upcoming weekend’s box office figures. After last weekend’s downright dismal showings of less than $13 million for each of the new openers, “The Watch” and “Step Up Revolution,” there’s no place to go but up. (That is, unless the coming weekend happens to house the biggest bombs of the year — an unlikely proposition.) New for audience consumption are “Total Recall,” a Colin Farrell/Kate Beckinsale/Jessica Biel remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwazenegger blockbuster, and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” the third installment in the franchise based on Jeff Kinney’s popular young adult novels.

Total RecallWhether or not “Total Recall,” directed by Len Wiseman (“Underworld,” “Live Free or Die Hard”) can dethrone “The Dark Knight Rises” from the top spot is up for debate (I’m doubtful), but it should deliver a solid number in any event. Interestingly, the original’s opening weekend gross of $25.5m seems to be about what this one will do. The only other near-future-set hard science-fiction films to outperform it at the box office have been “I Am Legend” and “I Robot,” both of which had Will Smith’s star power to sell them; “Minority Report,” which got much better reviews and therefore packed more appeal for older audiences; and “Terminator Salvation,” which despite dropping Schwarzenegger from the lead still boasted name recognition. Of course, the original’s $25.5m accounted for a heck of a lot more tickets than the new one’s will, thanks to inflation, but it seems to offer too convenient a benchmark to be ignored. Yep, that’s my final prediction: $25.5 million.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is easier to predict because its two predecessors were released recently and opened to very similar numbers. Those films pulled in $22.1m and $23.8m in their first weekends, respectively. Every indication is that the series will retain all of its audience, given that the last entry received a rock-solid “A-” CinemaScore. However, the opening weekend figure may come in a bit lower this time around, simply because the movie is being released in the summer, whereas the other two dropped in March. The significance of this is that families recognize that they’ll have the opportunity to catch it on a weekday, which wasn’t an option during the school-year (and thereby relieving the weekend of some business). As a result, my prediction for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is an even $20 million, even though it may very well finish higher than its predecessors in total box office.

My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:

  1. “The Dark Knight Rises” … $31.1m  -49.9%
  2. “Total Recall” … $25.5m
  3. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” … $20.0m
  4. “Ice Age: Continental Drift” … $8.4m  -37.1%
  5. “The Watch” … $5.8m  -54.5%
  6. “Step Up Revolution” … $5.2m  -55.7%
  7. “Ted” … $4.8m  -34.7%
  8. “The Amazing Spider-Man” … $4.0m  -40.3%
  9. “Brave” … $2.8m  -35.0%
  10. “Magic Mike” … $1.4m  -46.5%