Box Office Beat: Weekend of March 8

Danny Baldwin's Box Office BeatHello and welcome back to Box Office Beat, the column in which I predict the upcoming weekend’s box office results. After a completely uneventful February—the only film to post strong numbers was the atrociously unfunny “Identity Thief”—we now have our first potential blockbuster of the year on this first weekend of March, courtesy of Disney. So let’s get right into the nitty-gritty and crunch some numbers…

Oz the Great and PowerfulThe most optimistic forecasts for “Oz the Great and Powerful” evoke comparisons to another recent Disney update on a well-known story, “Alice in Wonderland.” But not even the rosiest prognosticators think that this film, despite sharing many characteristics (including 3-D and IMAX), will make the whopping $116.1m that behemoth took in opening weekend. Instead, I would argue that another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration that riffed on a classic children’s film, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” is the ideal comparison. But because “Charlie” opened during the summer, its first weekend isn’t quite comparable. Instead, we must deduce a comparable weekend based on its total domestic gross ($206.5m). If “Oz the Great and Powerful” ended up with a similar total, but had a more March-typical weekend-to-total multiplier of 3.0, that would mean an opening of $68.8m. But wait, there’s more: 3-D must be accounted for. If 50 percent of tickets are for 3-D shows, that means “Oz” will open to $79.1 million.

Dead Man DownA footnote for the weekend, but opening in wide release nonetheless, is “Dead Man Down,” starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, from the director of the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It looks like your standard international R-rated thriller that might do well in big markets, but certainly not elsewhere. The opening should be in the neighborhood of Farrell’s “Seven Psychopaths” ($4.2m), the similarly adult-oriented violent pic “Killing Them Softly” ($6.8m), and distributor Film District’s own “Lockout” ($6.2m). Hell, the average of the three sounds like as good a prediction as any, so: $5.7 million.

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

  1. “Oz the Great and Powerful” … $79.1m
  2. “Jack the Giant Slayer” … $13.6m  -50.0%
  3. “Identity Thief” … $6.8m  -29.9%
  4. “Dead Man Down” … $5.7m
  5. “Snitch” … $4.7  -39.%
  6. “The Silver Linings Playbook” … $4.3m  -24.9%
  7. “Safe Haven” … $3.8m  -33.6%
  8. “21 and Over” … $3.6m  -58.9%
  9. “Escape from Planet Earth” … $3.6m  -45.6%
  10. “The Last Exorcism Part II” … $2.6m  -66.4%