Box Office

Box Office Preview for May 1-3, Avengers hoping to break records again

So the summer box office battles unofficially get underway this weekend with the opening of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Herein lie my predictions for the weekend box office.

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – $221 million

It’s safe to assume this superhero sequel will take the top spot this weekend. It’s also almost a foregone conclusion that it will have one of the biggest opening weekend domestic grosses ever. The only question is: Will it set a new mark for highest grossing opening weekend in history? Considering the growth of the Marvel brand since the first Avengers film came out in 2012, the marketing for this being enormous, the addition of many more 10pm Thursday night showings in recent years, and the lack of heavy (film) competition, I could easily see this film answering that question with a resounding YES. I’d be very surprised if it does not clear the $207 million The Avengers opened to back in 2012. The only potential roadblock is the many other non-movie options audiences have this weekend. There are NBA playoff games, NHL playoff games, the NFL draft, Yankees-Red Sox, the Kentucky Derby, and biggest of all, the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. If not for this being one of the biggest sporting event weekends of the century, I’d go even higher.

  • Furious 7 – $10 million
  • The Age of Adaline – $8 million
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2- $5 million
  • Home – $4 million
  • Ex Machina- $3 million
  • Unfriended – $2 million

How big do you think Avengers 2 will open? How much will sporting events hurt its box office? Will it cross 200mil? 220? 250!??!

Please let me know in the comments.

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Box Office

Mockingjay soars to a weekend win! (or crashes and burns, depends who you ask)

It may have not been the windfall Lionsgate was hoping for, but Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 pulled in $123 million over the weekend. This is the largest opening of the year by a wide margin over Transformers: Dawn of the Planet of the Robot Dinosaurs or whatever the title is. The first films in the franchise each opened over $150 million which is why this tally is considered somewhat of a letdown. This can be easily explained however by seven key factors:

a) Critics and fans are more mixed regarding this film vs it’s predecessors. The first Hunger Games has a 67/100 critic score and a 7.0/10 user score on Metacritic, while Catching Fire holds a 75/100 critic score and a 7.9/10 user score. Mockingjay, on the other hand, has a 62/100 critic score and a 6.2/10 user score.

b) Mockingjay is considered by the majority of fans of the book series to be the weakest link in the trilogy.

c) Too much Hunger Games too quickly. Three films in three years is a lot.

d) No IMAX screenings as Interstellar is still being shown in all such theaters.

e) The Part 1 in the title may have scared some people off who are hoping for a complete film experience.

f) While marketing was decent for this film, with a lot of key actors on the talk show circuit and plenty of tv spots running, it was not as prevalent as it was for the first two films.

g) There are no hunger games in the film titled HUNGER GAMES: Mockingjay Part I. This could keep away some casual fans. This fact is not hidden as it was even mentioned explicitly in some of the advertising.

As far as I’m concerned, opening to over $100million, (let alone 120,) while not the incredible mark it once was, is still quite impressive. If I’m Lionsgate I’m happy with this result and wouldn’t lower my guesstimates for part 2’s opening weekend next year.

I would however consider rethinking the decision to split “Divergent” threequel “Allegiant” into two films. Compared to the loathing of that book among a great deal of Divergent fans, Hunger Games fans uniformly consider Mockingjay to be the greatest book of all time. I understand the monetary motivations to split these final films in popular series into two films, but with that one they may bite off more than they can chew.

I will be posting my 7 second review on twitter later in the week along with a lengthier review in a blog post over Thanksgiving weekend.

In the meantime, are you surprised by Mockingjay “failing” to make it over $130million? Did you see the film? If so what did you think? Please let me know in the comments.

Jay

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Guardians of the Galaxy Putting Up Numbers

Guardians of the Galaxy moved to $300million domestic and $600million worldwide today. The Marvel scifi/comedy recently became the (domestically) highest grossing film of the year, a title I don’t think even the film’s most avid supporters ever expected prior to its release. It’s likely the film will relinquish this title to either Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (likely) or Interstellar (less likely), but still it’s quite an incredible accomplishment to be leading the yearly box office in September.

It’s especially remarkable when you consider

(A) the film is about a group of misfit heroes that most people have never heard of, one being a talking raccoon

and

(B) there were two  comic book films  X-men: Days of Future Past & Captain America: Winter Soldier that not only are sequels in a huge franchise but also were critically acclaimed (and rightfully so as far as I’m concerned).

I for one am glad that Guardians has done so well. It was truly an extremely well-made film and easily one of the funniest of the year. Congrats to James Gunn. As of today it is in my top 10 of 2014, and I don’t expect that to change.

Jay

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