Current Streak: 1 Weekend in a Row
Threat Level to Streak Being Broken: Fifty five percent.
Reason: It’s pretty wacky out there in the third weekend of January, there’s at least one strong horror contender, plus two action/thrillers that have a pedigree far better than their tracking is currently indicating.
Mama: $17 million
Broken City: $11 million
The Last Stand: $9 million
Zero Dark Thirty is looking to repeat this weekend, but it faces double demographic trouble. The production budget is $40 million, so it will need Academy legs to lock in a profit, especially because the international prospects won’t be as rosy. Though snubbed in the Best Director category and seemingly out of the Best Picture race, (based on historical percentages) if Zero Dark Thirty can pull off the repeat it will go a long way towards strong future holdovers. I’ve got it pegged at $18.4 million this weekend.
The main competition will be offered by Mama, a film I’ve predicted at just under $16 million, slightly underperforming against expectations. This will be a case of Chastain on Chastain violence, with the good news being she’s almost certain to be involved with the top film based on the likely outcomes. The Rite and the Friday the 13th reboot again offer hope for a big number, but there’s precedent the other way as well. Mama currently sits at 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, not a deal-breaker in terms of word-of-mouth. Call it a slightly weighted coin flip against an established champ.
When considering The Last Stand, the natural comparison is The Expendables 2, but without the novelty or massive amount of stars. The tracking isn’t there, even after a huge marketing push, so that was all I needed to put it just under half the per theater average for Expendables 2 at $11.2 million.
Broken City looks fully broken, a film with a disastrous production budget being thrown to the wolves against Academy films. The reviews won’t save them either, mine will post shortly on this very site, and I can’t see many people evangelizing on its behalf. Audiences will have a decent time, think B+ Cinemascore, which of course translates to a C- or D+ critical rating, and very little Saturday / Sunday buzz. Many a person will say it was “okay for what it was”. My prediction, $12.2 million.
The last interesting story this weekend is the expansion of Silver Linings Playbook from 800 to 2,500 theaters. Have they timed this right? We’ll be heading into the seventh weekend audiences could see it, not counting the extremely limited Los Angeles or New York City availability. Have those folks laid the groundwork that will lead the laggards to embrace the film? As it’s the first movie to receive nominations in every acting category since 1981, it’s fair to put it right under $5,000 per theater. However, if it catches fire as a “date night” movie look out, because it has the most wiggle room of any title on the board. No number below $20 million would be a shocker.
One final note, if we’ve got any industry insiders reading who know how I can 1.) Sign up for MTC or RS tracking or 2.) Want to email me the numbers on Tuesdays, please let me know in the comments below. I’m not a big fan of using third-party sourced numbers, though it’s the situation I currently find myself in. If you don’t know what either of those things are, feel free to ignore this plea. Thanks much.
Enough of asking for favors, how say you? With three new releases and two legit holdovers, there’s plenty to predict. I’ll turn the keys over to you, get behind the wheel!
SIDE NOTE: Some of the theater numbers below are estimates. We’ll have the actual counts in Sunday’s wrap-up article.