Hello and welcome back to Box Office Beat, the column in which I predict the upcoming weekend’s box office results. It’ll be a short version this time, because there is only one new wide release, albeit a huge one: Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Skyfall.”
I would usually be inclined to pontificate about the chance that the Nor’easter in progress might depress the opening gross for “Skyfall,” but not after last weekend, when I took tip-top predictions for “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Flight” and truncated each by 10 percent in a misguided attempt to compensate for the theaters closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, killing my accuracy. Clearly, the moviegoing public’s response to bad weather conditions is just as unpredictable as the weather itself.
“Skyfall” is rather easy to make an educated prediction on because we have previous Bond films to compare it to, while also referencing international grosses (the film opened a couple weeks ago in certain overseas markets). Most significantly, “Skyfall” opened to $32.5 million in its home territory of the UK. That’s compared to $25.3m for both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” In the U.S., “Quantum” grew considerably over “Casino Royale,” but that’s probably because Americans were more reticent to accept a new Bond. So let’s throw “Casino Royale” out of the equation and simply deduce that “Skyfall” will improve the same 28.5 percent over “Quantum” in the U.S. that it did in the U.K. Given that “Quantum” opened to $67.5m stateside, that brings “Skyfall” to $86.7 million.
One could make the case that the gross will surge higher based on “Skyfall”’s IMAX availability in the U.S. — a premium-charge format that is more prevalent here than in the UK and that neither prior Daniel Craig Bond film was offered in. While I think this will boost the “Skyfall” gross by at least 5-10 percent, it’s cancelled out by the fact that the film opened in IMAX today (Thursday), siphoning off some of the hardcore fans from the weekend attendance. But at the same time, the pre-release is unlikely to have a net negative impact on the weekend because the film is supposedly very good, meaning that those who saw it today will spread word-of-mouth.
My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:
- “Skyfall” … $86.7m
- “Wreck-It Ralph” … $29.4m -40.0%
- “Flight” … $14.9m -40.2%
- “Argo” … $8.9m -12.8%
- “Taken 2” … $4.0m -32.4%
- “The Man with the Iron Fists” … $3.6m -54.4%
- “Cloud Atlas” … $3.2m -40.5%
- “Hotel Transylvania” … $2.7m -38.8%
- “Here Comes the Boom” … $2.5m -29.1%
- “Pitch Perfect” … $2.5m -18.4%