Preordained success is a tricky thing. Anything less than perfect and your movie is considered a disappointment. Lucky for Summit Entertainment and the filmmakers behind New Moon, teenage girls have got their back. At this point only a natural catastrophe (and I’m not talking 2012) could derail the second installment of Twilight from being a major box-office hit. Movie websites are reporting record sales. Teenagers are already lined up for midnight showings. And there is a good possibility this film could gross in the $100 million range, putting it on par with such juggernauts as Iron Man, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter. Not bad for a $50 million movie about teenagers and vampires. But this is one crowded weekend at the box office — Hollywood wasn’t willing to let Summit have all the glory. Some crafty counter-programming includes kid flick Planet 51 and the Sandra Bullock football drama The Blind Side, which is appealing to male audiences. Read on for my predictions.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: $105 million
Yes, it’s a ridiculously high number and let me preface it with saying that even if New Moon grosses $85 million, it’s a hit. But the reason Twilight was such a phenomenon was because teenage girls saw the movie 6 and 7 times opening weekend. You don’t get that kind of repeat business at a free buffet. These people are obsessed. The only thing New Moon has going against it is its two-hour run time. And while Summit talked a good game about expanding the audience of the film to lure in boys, all Taylor Lautner’s abs have done is raise the screaming girl power in the theater. I’m doubtful boys are going to show up to watch him turn into a werewolf, despite the sequel’s improved special effects. For comparison, Twilight opened to $69.6 million on 3,419 theaters. The sequel is going to be in over 4,000 locations.
2012: $26 million
Roland Emmerich has a huge worldwide hit on his hands. And while he might not be the most eloquent of filmmakers his ability to destroy is top-notch. This film is full of massive spectacle best seen in the theater. So while it’s going to get smacked around this weekend by New Moon, a 60% drop will still give it a solid $26 million take for its second weekend.
The Blind Side: $19 million
Warner Bros. has been selling this “based on a true story” to football fans across the country and surprisingly, it seems to be working. How high those male moviegoers take the movie will be a wait-and-see game but The Blind Side might just surprise.
With a 25% drop last weekend, A Christmas Carol positioned itself for a long box-office run. Perhaps releasing the film so early wasn’t such a bad decision after all. The Jim Carrey-starrer has received positive reviews and will be the holiday movie of choice likely into December. Expect another small drop-off this frame and a solid battle with The Blind Side for third place.
Planet 51: $11 million
This is no Pixar film but with a cute concept (humans invade another planet) and charming green creatures it’s certainly appealing to the under-8 set. Still with so much out there, it will be a real feat if Planet 51 crosses the $10 million mark.
Keep in mind, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire is set to expand to 629 theaters. Even if the film’s per-screen average from last week drops 50%, which is more than likely considering the film’s expansion, it’s still on track to earn over $10 million. That could mean that this indie film could reach an astounding $15 million in three weeks of limited release.
Photo Credit: Kimberley French