Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Robot, Vince Vaughn And Judi Dench Are Going To War For Your Box Office Dollars (Box Office Predictions)

Yeah, that's one of the weirder headlines I've written, I freely admit. But it's also one of the most accurate, as three new movies open this weekend in hopes of achieving financial success. I have a hunch there will be a wide variety in their box office performance, so let's dive right into this weekends release and their box office potential, shall we?

Neil Blomkamp is back this weekend with Chappie, and after Elysium, Columbia Pictures is obviously hoping this one performs more like the director's first feature (District 9) rather than that 2013 Matt Damon film. It's unlikely this kindly robot movie can hit the heights of Blomkamp's 2009 film (which opened to $36 million), since the marketing and plot are nowhere near as compelling. However, it does a better job of establishing stakes and characters in it's ads than Elysium, so that might help things out a bit.

Looking over similar films, 300: Rise Of An Empire (another R-rated action film that opened on this same weekend last year) made it to $45 million on opening weekend, though that had the 300 brand name, while Pacific Rim managed to get to $37 million and, of course, Elysium opened to $29 million. I see Chappie having a similar opening to that last movie, though it won't have the Labor day holiday that helped give that feature some box office stamina.

Competing against that robotic sci-fi film is Unfinished Business, the newest Vince Vaughn vehicle that;s hoping to reverse the recent box office duds the actor has encountered.  While Business will certainly have a better opening weekend than those two aforementioned movies, it's doubtful it becomes return to form for Vaughn, thanks to marketing that's only focused on generic party antics (though to the movies credit, Dave Franco does get some funny one-liners in those commercials). Look for this to narrowly eclipse the opening of Vaughn's 2013 film The Internship (which opened to $17.3 million in June 2013), but if this does anymore than that, I'll be astounded.

One of the more interesting sequels we're getting in 2015 arrives this weekend in the form of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a continuation of the very profitable first film which made $46 million domestically and another $90 million overseas. Don't be surprised if this one has similar success; the first one was word-of-mouth success that could help this sequel get to similar heights of financial success (I seriously wouldn't be surprised if it had a better per-theater average than the much more high profile Unfinished Business). Opening in 1400+ theaters this weekend, I'll estimate this one just clears $10 million for the three day frame.

Holdovers for this weekend won't be too buzzy; Focus will probably lose about 50%, while Chappie is unlikely to conjure up enough of a presence to disrupt Kingsman's excellent box office run. One interesting thing to note is that this is the last weekend where The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water is the only family film in the marketplace; next weekend, Cinderella arrives. The absorbent and porous fellow will have had 5 weeks as the only family movie in sight, as longer run than past February family films like The LEGO Movie (4 weeks) and Gnomeo & Juliet (3 weeks).

Below are my opening weekend/final gross predictions for this weekends new releases, as well as my projections for the Top 5 for this weekends box office.

Opening Weekend: $29 million
Total Gross: $75 million

Unfinished Business
Opening Weekend: $19 million
Total Gross: $50 million

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Opening Weekend: $10 million
Total Gross: $37 million

1) Chappie: $29 million
2) Unfinished Business: $19 million
3) The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: $10 million
4) Focus: $9.5 million
5) The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water: $7.1 million

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