Box Office Beat: Weekend of July 27

Danny Baldwin's Box Office BeatIn the wake of an horrendous massacre that rendered any attempt to predict the box office not only futile, but completely inconsequential, the most compelling box office question-related this weekend is: “Will Aurora have long-term effects on moviegoing?”

While many were not deterred by the tragedy and still went out to see “The Dark Knight Rises” last weekend, it clearly stopped certain people — particularly families, I’m told by theater managers. But given that the wounds of last Friday’s midnight showing have barely begun to heal, one wonders if the masses will feel comfortable buying tickets this weekend. What about next weekend? Only time will tell. “The Dark Knight Rises” could potentially drop only 40 percent this weekend if people who shied away last weekend go now. But it’s more likely that the film experiences a drop of around 55 percent — a little bit less than the normal fall for a front-loaded tent-pole, but not a lot less.

The WatchThere are two new openers joining “The Dark Knight Rises” this weekend, and the one that’s expected to perform the best is “The Watch,” starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill. But with horrendous reviews (it currently sits at 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and what appears in the trailers to be a forced blend of action, sci-fi, and comedy, I strongly doubt that this will be a “career best” opening for anyone involved except for British up-and-comer Richard Ayoade (who previously directed the indie charmer “Submarine”). In fact, Stiller’s last two openings–”Tower Heist” and “Tropic Thunder,” which were both right around $25 million–seem like good comparisons, given their large ensembles and the latter’s R-rating. The only difference is that “The Watch” won’t have the legs of either film, given its apparently poor quality. Also, given that many may still not feel like going to the movies in light of last week’s events, I’ll chop off of 20 percent and predict that “The Watch” makes an even $20 million.

Step Up: RevolutionThen there’s “Step Up Revolution,” the fourth installment in the popular dance franchise. Each film in the series has dropped from its predecessor — “Step Up” grossed $20.7m, “Step Up 2 the Streets” did $18.9m, and “Step Up 3D” pulled in $15.8m opening weekend — and this one looks to be no exception. Applying the percentage hold from #2 to #3, that means “Step Up Revolution” is in for an opening of $13.2 million, which could very well mean it will be the final chapter of the “Step Up” saga.

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

  1. “The Dark Knight Rises” … $72.4m  -55.0%
  2. “The Watch” … $20.0m
  3. “Step Up Revolution” … $13.2m
  4. “Ice Age: Continental Drift” … $12.3m  -39.8%
  5. “Ted” … $7.0m  -30.0%
  6. “The Amazing Spider-Man” … $6.5m  -40.3%
  7. “Brave” … $4.2m  -30.3%
  8. “Magic Mike” … $2.6m  -39.4%
  9. “Savages” … $2.0m  -41.2%
  10. “Moonrise Kingdom” … $1.5m  -18.1%