Box Office Barometer 11-29-11: A New Hope?
Another weekend means more analysis lamenting the decline in movie ticket sales. For every movie that does well like The Muppets, there’s a Happy Feet Two (leading to layoffs), Immortals (successful, but the budget’s too high to make money), and Tower Heist (just didn’t meet expectations). Instead of finishing the year on a sour note, let’s pinpoint which movies we predict to actually do well.
New Year’s Eve
This exists only because Valentine’s Day made $110.5 million. Operating within the Crash school of filmmaking, NYE puts a bunch of stars in its movie, hoping that fans of each will come see it. Even the terrible He’s Just Not That Into You made $93.9 million, so this will make money. With what will most likely be an identical $52 million budget, New Years Eve looks poised to make money, but not the most. Prediction: $20-25 million opening weekend
This movie will do better after Jonah Hill made himself a movie star by losing weight and starring in Moneyball (you don’t have to lose weight to be a movie star, but it generated more buzz for him). R-rated comedies are the new rage after The Hangover, and Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher only perpetuated it it. It will perform similar to Bad Teacher, only it doesn’t have the Cameron Diaz sexy factor to boot. Prediction: $20-25 million, with a final total of $70-80 million. Not bad.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked
Pixar ruined everything. No longer can studios animate some animal, stick it in 3D, and expect families to come clamoring for more. In two weeks, Happy Feet Two has only made $43.4 million, while the original made $99.2 million in the same amount of time, AND went on to win the Oscar. Surprisingly, both Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Squeakquel have made almost identical amounts of money ($44 and $48 million opening weekends, and $217 and $219 million total grosses). Even if Chipwrecked only made half of the Squeakquel, that will be a success. Prediction: $30-35 million
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
For some reason, people liked the first one. It made $209 million on a $90 million budget. It has Iron Man, Jude Law and the guy who directed Snatch. It’s a bros wet dream (I don’t know how Jude Law factors into this. Maybe it is because he was married to Sienna Miller?). Although they didn’t get Brad Pitt as their Moriarty (they got Lane Pryce from Mad Men, or as I like to refer to him, Dr. Kent Webber from Extraordinary Measures), there’s nothing to indicate that it won’t be a smash hit. Prediction: $55-60 million
The Adventures of Tintin
It made $200 million worldwide already. They took Secret of the Unicorn out of the US title. Let’s just say it won’t make that much in the US. Prediction: $50-55 million
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Daniel Craig is not a box office draw (see: Cowboys and Aliens or Dream House). It’s a gritty drama, but it is directed by David Fincher, and it will definitely benefit from The Social Network’s connection. $40 million opening weekend.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
It looks like a cool movie, but it has to account for the Tom Cruise Factor (Tom Cruise Factor: people are afraid of Tom Cruise movies because they are afraid of Tom Cruise). The studio Shia LeBeouf’d him with Jeremy Renner. But, don’t forget about the Dad Factor: this is a movie fathers will want to see and their children will take them to see to spend time with them during the holidays. Prediction: I would say $60 million, but going up against Tintin and Dragon Tatoo, let’s say $45-50 million.
We Bought a Zoo
A movie people will like, but will forget to see it in theaters. Prediction: $20 million
The Darkest Hour
We got the lead from The Girl Next Door and the friend from Juno starring in a sci-fi movie about people evaporating by the hands of invisible aliens. I’m in. I also think America will be in, because it is produced by Timur Bekmambetov, the guy who brought us the overperforming Wanted. Don’t count it out. Prediction: $25 million
One movie has to be left behind, and this has to be it, right? It’s based on a British stage play that’s based on a book, and it take place during World War I, the disappointing older brother to World War II. It’s about a horse, which negates the Dad Factor, and it’s an Oscarbaiter. Maybe Steven Spielberg’s name will draw some business, but not a ton. Prediction: $20 million
Since the public demands an answer, I’d say it’s between Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. I’ll give the edge to Alvin and the Chipmunks, because there are no signs of derailments on this Cain Train.