Saturday, May 26, 2007

Predicting Pirates will sweep the box office

I don't yet have a review of Pirates of Caribbean as I will see the movie tomorrow. Nevertheless, I am going to predict that Pirates of the Caribbean comes out on top this summer at the box office race and I just wanted to post it here before the box office report comes out.

My reasons:
1. It has more family appeal than Spiderman in my opinion, because Jack Sparrow might be more popular with kids. This is just my guess but Captain Jack Sparrow might be a little bit more appealing to kids at a slightly younger age, while Spiderman/Peter Parker is more of an adolescent hero. At the same time, Pirates might appeal to adults more because because many people in their 50s or 60s might have grown up on Pirate Movies as a kid and this is an effective homage to the genre. This is interesting because it's the first time the Pirates and Spiderman, the two biggest summer giants of the decade have squared off in the same season.

2. The release schedules. Spiderman 1's release at the beginning of the summer several weeks before any other movies came out was a strategy that paid off and shot the film northward of $300 million dollars. However, with two juggernauts being released within 2 and 3 weeks of Spiderman's opening in Shrek the Third and Pirates III, that is going to cut into its intake. Expect Spiderman to drop significantly this weekend. Pirates III has a wide open field that I doubt Ocean's 13 will do much to affect in a couple of weeks. The truth is that all three films will hurt their chances to realize their maximum profit by releasing their films so close to each other. And it's such a shame because it's all on memorial day, but Pirates will hurt itself the least. Pirates might not equal Spiderman's opening 3 day record, but it might gross higher in the long run. At least, I hope so because I am a pirate lover

3. Pirates has good reviews, whatever that's worth. It's even enough to get viewers on board who aren't familiar with the series, period.

So my predictions:
Spiderman III: $360 million
Shrek the third: $319 million (on the plus, there's no other kids' movies for competition, but May is a crowded month)
Pirates II:
Opening weekend: $124 million, total $387 million

Other summer films:
-Ocean's 13 will be an interesting choice. It's director Stephen Sodebergh won an oscar for his innovative film making in traffic and has since been nothing if not innovative and constantly experimenting with the medium (i.e. Full Frontal, Bubble, Good German). At the same time, a lot of these films are just plain awful. Unfortunately, Ocean's 12 fell under the same trap of a filmmaker so caught up in experimentation that he forgot to hold his story together with a coherent plot. Still, the greatness and potential of the director is evident and that might be enough for many to fill the seats. The film's gross is also hard to predict because the previous films were released during December and this one will be released in the Summer. Considering the first one made $183 million domestically, I'm gonna guess that this one can hit the $200 million mark if it gets decent to good reviews
Prediction: $49 mil opening $220 million

-Evan Almighty: the first film was a $200 mil+ hit. Evan Almighty has practically nothing to do with Bruce Allmighty in the sense that while Morgan Freeman still plays God, Jennifer Anniston and Jim Carrey are gone. This is just a cheap attempt to capitalize on Steve Carrell's rising stock and framing it as a sequel. So the question is how appealing is Steve Carrell? Well, the 40-Year Old Virgin did well but that was through good word-of-mouth, Steve Carrell as a break-out star, a catchy gimmick, and the revered reputation of writer/director Judd Apatow. I hear that if a guy is on a TV show, it's difficult to get anyone pay to see him in a movie when the TV show is free. I bet this one will be a little subpar on expectations
Prediction: $32 mil opening $121 mil

-Fantastic Four: The first one had bad reviews, a great opening weekend at $55.7 million, and a slightly above average total at $154 million total. In other words, this difference between great opening weekend and decent total means great hype but not-so-great word of mouth. I think the studio that funded this project underestimated the need for the sequel. Jessica Alba's growth as a star attraction will have to help move this film along. The film also needs to hope that comic book geeks will flock to the film for the added attraction of the Silver Surfer and unlike the first film, moviegoers might be more deterred by bad reviews if they occur a second time. This is what sunk Tomb Raider II and Charlie's Angels II.
Prediction: $44 mil opening, $152 mil

-Transformers: The transformers are a nostalgic trip for those raised in the 80s, but that's a small, small demographic, and I don't think live action will appeal as well. It's produced by Spielberg, which might sound like a sure thing, but remember: it's not directed or written by him. I predict this to be a bust, unfortunately. I am predicting this to be a humongous, humongous flop, by the way. This is the equivalent of predicting a 13 seed over a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament
Prediction: $19 mil opening, $100 mil

-Harry Potter V: The last Harry Potter movie to open in the summer was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azhkaban which had a respectable opening en route to $249 million dollars. I see no reason why this film will do better or worse than that one. If people are falling out of interest in the series, (which I don't think they are), I think the quality of the films is increasing anyway. It's getting a great release date, about 6 weeks after people will get tired of Pirates, so I predict slightly higher
Prediction: $66 mil opening, $258 mil

-Simpsons: Let's face it, the Simpsons are on the demise. They haven't had a remotely original episode in 5 years, at least, and while some people could successfully argue that Family Guy won't ever be as good as Simpsons was 10 years ago, in 2007, I can't see the Simpsons generating enough buzz for a decent season premiere this September, let alone show up in mass droves for a movie premiere. The Simpsons' success has always been that of casual viewership, in my opinion. It's just something decent to watch at 6 or 7 pm while preparing dinner and nothing more. It's just a generic answer you might have if someone asked you your favorite TV show and you didn't want to answer with something too wierd. Just like George Clooney when he was on E.R. and trying to become a bankable TV star, people often won't want to pay for something that's on TV.
Furthermore, I predict it will be the failure of this movie that will get people asking the long overdue question, "Is the Simpsons really that culturally relevant anymore?"
Prediction: $13 mil opening, $79 mil total

-Knocked Up: This is going to be the sleeper hit of the summer and raise Judd Apatow's profile even more. He's rumored to be launching Tom Cruise's comeback next. I've heard from everywhere it's very good, but I don't believe that'll translate into a strong weekend opening. Not with Pirates still around.
Prediction: $25 mil opening, $132 mil total

-Nancy Drew: Is the next tentpole for a series like Harry Potter? It might have that crossover appeal that parents might want to watch with their kids but it's just not being marketed heavily enough.
Prediction: $21 mil opening, $112 mil total

-Liscence to Wed: It looks like summer filler similar to RV. I'm not saying Robin Williams is by any means going downhill, but with RV, Man of the Year, and Liscence to Wed he's starting to get into too much of a comfortable zone
Predictions: $10 mil opening, $68 mil total

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