By Bill Bonfanti
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS FOR THE WEEKEND OF AUGUST 10 – 12
There are four new films opening in wide release this weekend: Jeremy Renner steps in as leading man for Matt Damon in The Bourne Legacy from Universal while Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star as political rivals in Warner Bros. R-rated comedy The Campaign. The other two new releases for the week get a jump on the weekend and open on Wednesday. Steve Carell tries to save Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones’ marriage in romantic comedy Hope Springs from Sony and ARC Entertainment releases its 3D stunt film, Nitro Circus the Movie. Based on my estimates, the Top 10 will generate about $139.6 million over the weekend, up about 3.7% from last year when Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 20th Century Fox and Disney/DreamWorks’ The Help led the overall Top 10 to a total of $134.5 million.
Universal goes to the well one more time with the fourth entry in their hit spy caper series The Bourne Legacy. The latest film is most notable for the fact that franchise star Matt Damon is nowhere to be seen and the film focuses on a different super spy played by Jeremy Renner. While this fourth film isn’t a reboot or a remake, it is not exactly a sequel either. It’s a new story that is set in the already established world of the first three films. If the film is successful, Universal can expand and make it into its own standalone trilogy or even create a fifth film that stars both Damon and Renner. That’s the big question though; will audiences pay to see a Jason Bourne movie that doesn’t feature Jason Bourne?
Each Bourne film made more at the box office than the prior one with 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum topping out at $227.5 million after opening with $69.3 million. There is absolutely no chance of the latest film performing as well as the trilogy capper, but Universal would be pleased if the film performed similar to the first film, The Bourne Identity ($27.1 million opening/$121.5M total). That would be a solid enough start for Universal to continue on with the series, with or without Damon. The brand name value of the series itself should be enough to sell quite a few tickets this weekend but the film will really be a test of Renner’s drawing power at the box office. The actor is on the cusp of becoming a heavyweight at the box office thanks to the one two punch of his supporting roles in Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol and box office juggernaut The Avengers. In addition to these roles, Renner has also earned the respect of audiences with his Oscar nominated performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town. He has proven himself to be a talented, versatile actor; The Bourne Legacy will establish if he is a movie star or not. All signs seem to indicate that Renner is more Tom Cruise than Taylor Kitsch and as such The Bourne Legacy should perform well enough at the box office this weekend.
The film was originally scheduled to hit theatres last weekend but was wisely pushed back a week to distance itself from The Dark Knight Rises and avoid going head to head with Total Recall. As it is, those two films will cause enough competition, but The Bourne Legacy will also have to compete for the young male audience with this weekend’s fellow new release The Campaign. Those three films alone will be responsible for about $60 million in ticket sales this weekend which will definitely stifle The Bourne Legacy’s debut. Next weekend the film will have to battle with The Expendables 2 which could definitely hurt its sophomore weekend, but if the word of mouth is good, the film should be able to perform well over the rest of the summer. The reviews haven’t been too kind so far, so this may not be the case. I expect The Bourne Legacy to shoot up about $41 million this weekend.
R-rated political comedy The Campaign from Warner Bros. features the dream team comedy pairing of Will Ferrell (in pseudo George W. Bush mode) and Zach Galifianakis (in typical weirdo mode) as political rivals. The film is directed by Jay Roach best known for Meet the Parents and the Austin Powers trilogy. Ferrell by himself is usually a big draw and with Galifianakis in the mix, The Campaign is bound to be a hit, but will it perform as well as Ferrell’s other late summer comedies like The Other Guys ($35.5 million opening/$119.2 million total), Step Brothers ($30.9 million opening/$100.5 million total) or Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby ($47 million opening/$148.2 million total)? The answer is probably not for a few reasons.
The main reason that The Campaign will likely not fare as well as Ferrell’s biggest hits is because political comedies are a bit of a tough sell at the box office; even in an election year. Of course, The Campaign is as silly and demented as any other Ferrell comedy, so the politics won’t turn off too many of his fans. The other major obstacle in the films path is competition for the young male audience from The Bourne Legacy and The Dark Knight Rises. The film has almost no comedy competition however, with both Ted and The Watch hovering near the bottom of the Top 10 this weekend. Although the film may not enjoy as high an opening as some of Ferrell’s other efforts, with no new comedies coming out for the rest of the summer, The Campaign should have some strong legs heading into September. Reviews have been generally positive but shouldn’t influence the performance of the film all that much. At this point you are either a fan of Ferrell’s brand of comedy or you are not. Look for The Campaign to generate about $28 million this weekend.
With all the summer fare aimed at young adults and kids occupying theatres, Sony hopes to lure in the mature adult crowd with relationship dramedy Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. The film is about a couple (Streep and Jones) who has been married for over thirty years and has lost the spark that once made them a loving, happy husband and wife. They seek help in the form of a celebrity therapist (Carell) and learn to express their feelings and ultimately save their marriage. The plot is elementary but based on the positive reviews pouring in, the film is worth seeing for the beautifully nuanced performances of both Streep and Jones and the strong support in the form of Carell, in a more serious role than we’ve seen him before.
Meryl Streep is a one of a kind actress and is the only one of her age group that still enjoys tremendous success at the box office along with major accolades from critics and audiences alike. Many regard her as the greatest actress of all time and it shows in her many box office hits over the last few years. In the past few years she has starred in It’s Complicated ($22.1 million opening/$112.7 million total), Julie & Julia ($20 million opening/$94.1 million total) and The Devil Wears Prada ($27.5 million opening/$124.7 million total) along with Mamma Mia and a myriad of acclaimed, smaller films (The Iron Lady, Doubt, etc.). Tommy Lee Jones is enjoying a bit of a resurgence coming off of Men in Black 3 and Steve Carell has a proven track record at the box office minus this summer’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Older adults have been seriously underserved this summer and as a result, Hope Springs should serve as a strong alternative to all the other summer films currently playing. The film opens on Wednesday which will dilute its opening weekend and older adults don’t always rush out to see a film on its first weekend, so a smaller debut than Streep’s other hit films is likely. The film will probably collect about $5 million over its first two days of release. Expect Hope Springs to connect with about $16 million over the weekend for a five day total of about $21 million.
In the spirit of Jackass, ARC Entertainment releases Nitro Circus the Movie 3D based on the group of stuntmen who take on audacious challenges. The group had a semi successful show that ran on MTV for two seasons a couple of years ago but has nowhere near the devoted audience that Johnny Knoxville and his cohorts enjoy. The film is launching in about 800 theatres this weekend but distributor ARC doesn’t have that much marketing reach so awareness for the film is fairly low. Instead ARC has been using a more grass roots type campaign to market the film which will likely not translate to big box office success. The film opens on a Wednesday, diluting the opening weekend potential. Diehard fans of the show will likely see the film over its first few days making the film rather frontloaded as well. Look for Nitro Circus the Movie 3D to debut outside of the Top 10 with a modest debut of about $2 million.
To see the rest of my predictions for the weekend, check out the chart below.
Weekend Release Schedule, 2012 vs. 2011
All debuting titles for the weekend are in red.
AUGUST 10 -12 2012
|1||The Bourne |
|2||The Campaign||Comedy||Warner Bros.||$28.0M
|3||The Dark Knight |
|4||Hope Springs||Romantic Comedy||Sony/Columbia||$16.0M
|6||Diary of a Wimpy |
Kid: Dog Days
|Comedy||20th Century Fox||$6.7M
|7||Ice Age: |
|Animated Adventure||20th Century Fox||$5.4M
|9||The Watch||Comedy||20th Century Fox||$3.1M
|10||The Amazing |
|TOTAL - $139.6M|
JULY 29 – 31 2011
|1||Rise of the Planet |
of the Apes
|Sci-fi/Adventure||20th Century Fox||$27.8M
|3||Final Destination 5||Horror||Warner Bros.||$18.0M
|5||30 Minutes or Less||Comedy||Sony||$13.3M
|7||Harry Potter and |
Hallows: Part II
The First Avenger
|9||Crazy, Stupid, |
|Romantic Comedy||Warner Bros.||$7.1M
|TOTAL - $134.5|
Based on my estimates for the weekend, total box office will be up about 3.7% from 2011.
Predictions for the Weekend of August 17-19 2012
There are four new films opening in wide release the weekend of August 3-5: Lionsgate releases R-rated action sequel The Expendables 2 starring Sylvester Stallone with extended roles for his former Planet Hollywood partners Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. The cast of 2010’s first film including Jason Statham and Jet Li all return (minus Mickey Rourke) and are joined by legendary action stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. Focus Features releases animated family friendly fright flick ParaNorman and season 6 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks makes her big screen debut in Sony’s musical drama Sparkle co-starring the late Whitney Houston. Arriving two days early on Wednesday the 15th is Disney’s PG family film The Odd Life of Timothy Green starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a couple who cannot conceive and wind up with a kid of their own after they make a wish.
|The Expendables 2||Action||Lionsgate||$46.0M|
|The Odd Life of |