The Weekend Warrior

Box Office Preview: Spider-Man Sets Off the 4th of July Fireworks

Source: Edward Douglas
July 3, 2012

Summer has been grinding right along and we're now pretty much at the halfway mark where June turns into July, and we get the third major holiday of the summer, Independence Day!

The 4th of July is a weird holiday when it comes to moviegoing because schools are generally out all across the country now so there's nothing to keep the kids from going to see a movie anytime they want, and there have been a number of huge hits, most of them either involving Michael Bay or Will Smith (but never the two of them together, even though they made two "Bad Boys" movies together). Last year saw the release of Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon on the Tuesday before the 4th of July, yet it was still able to bring in nearly $98 million over the weekend, allowing it to set a new 4th of July record. The second-biggest Independence Day opener is Sony's Spider-Man 2, which may be the most important comparison for this week's big release.

Opening today is Sony Pictures' reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield taking over for Tobey Maguire, joined by Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field and Denis Leary, and helmed by music video director Marc Webb, who made an impact at Sundance a few years back with his comedy (500) Days of Summer. There is no question that Spider-Man is one of the best known comic book characters, right up there with Superman and Batman, and his popularity goes far beyond that of comic book readers, having been around for nearly fifty years and appearing in cartoons and comic strips and toys for about as long. Whether you're 5 years old or 50, you're likely to have been touched at some point in your life by the character, and it's one that women can dig because when he's not swinging around on a web or showing off the proportionate strength of a spider, he's dealing with the sort of relationship issues we all face. Oh, yeah, and there were also three previous movies by Sam Raimi that each have grossed over $300 million domestically and $780 million worldwide.

This movie is really a different story because it's a reboot and it's one done only five years after those clearly popular movies, and that might give some people pause, just like it did with Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins in 2005. That movie's $200 million gross may not have seemed like much for a high-profile summer movie, but it paved the way for The Dark Knight to become the second (now fourth) biggest movie of all time domestically.

Reviews have generally been good except for a number of fanboys sites who are not happy with the idea of rebooting Spider-Man so soon, but Sony has an easy job marketing this one, with lots of product partners allowing for maximum coverage across the airwaves thereby creating a saturation of awareness for a movie that will be an easy choice for those looking to get out of the heat this week.

For comparison's sake, we have to look back at the last Spider-Man movie to open over the 4th of July weekend and that was Spider-Man 2 in 2004. It actually opened on Wednesday, June 30 to $40.4 million, dropped 41% on Thursday then took in another $88 million over the weekend. A major difference between that movie and this one (besides being the sequel to a hugely popular movie) is that the 4th of July was on a Sunday that year, which means many people were off work on Monday. That isn't the case this weekend. A better comparison may be Michael Bay's original Transformers which opened on Tuesday, July 3 and made $27.8 million after a preview night where it took in $8.8 million. It had a slight bump on the 4th of July, then dropped Thursday and ended up with $70 million over the weekend.

That seems like a very possible scenario with The Amazing Spider-Man and we think its Tuesday opening and 4th of July Wednesday will be very big days for the movie, with it bringing in between $27 and 30 million on both days, possibly more, but then it will drop a bit going into the weekend with between $18 and 20 million on Thursday and then should pick up again on Friday. Since we think reactions to the movie may be mixed, it will probably make less over the weekend than its first three days, and we think that amount will probably be between $69 and 72 million. That basically adds up to The Amazing Spider-Man bringing in roughly $145 to 150 million in its first six days, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, but with The Dark Knight Rises coming in two weeks, we think this one will tail off around the $260 million mark.

Review

Interview with Director Marc Webb

Interview with Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone

Interview with Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen and Denis Leary

As hard as it may be to believe, there are other movies opening this week and on Thursday, the day after the 4th of July, Paramount releases their new 3D concert doc Katy Perry: Part of Me (Paramount), which hopes to mirror the success of last year's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which opened with $29.5 million on its way to $73 million. Katy Perry certainly has a pretty big fanbase out there, having sold over 2 million copies of her record "Teenage Dream" in the United States alone, though one expects her audience is mostly made up of younger girls and women who look up to her for her music, and they'll be the primary audience for the movie this weekend. We don't think there will be quite the demand to see the former Mrs. Russell Brand as there was for the Justin Bieber movie, so after making between $4 and 5 million on Thursday, it should make another $12 to 14 million over the weekend and probably end up with $35 million or less.

Review (Coming Soon!)

Another option is the latest crime-thriller from Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, Savages (Universal), based on the novel by Don Winslow with an ensemble cast that includes Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson (star of Kick-Ass), John Travolta, Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro. It's a modern story that takes place in the world of drugs and the Mexican cartel, which may make it a draw for a wide range of guys in different locales. Oliver Stone is a well-respected filmmaker although he's never had many huge box office hits, his last movie Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps opening with $19 million and grossing $52 million, though that was a sequel to one of his classics with Michael Douglas reprising his popular role of Gordon Gecko. Early reviews are generally good, but we thinks this will end up with mixed reviews and the audience will generally be the older guys not interested in The Amazing Spider-Man (or those who have already seen it earlier in the week). We doubt that the mostly female "Gossip Girls" fans will go see this for Lively, nor will the five people who saw Battleship and John Carter for Kitsch, and while we don't think this will tank, opening a movie like this in the summer against a movie like The Amazing Spider-Man is not a huge vote of confidence by Universal. Oliver Stone's name and his cast should be enough for the movie to bring in between $11 and 13 million (maybe a little more if Universal continues to step up their ads) but this one will probably tap out around $40 million regardless.

Review

Lastly, Woody Allen's latest travelogue comedy To Rome With Love (Sony Pictures Classics) will expand nationwide into an unknown number of theaters, only with far less raving reviews across the board, although older moviegoers in the areas where it opens may be intrigued enough after enjoying Midnight in Paris to give it a look and depending on the number of theaters, it should be able to get into the low end of the Top 10 with between $3 and 4 million.

This weekend last year (which was four days after the 4th of July) saw the release of two comedies--in one of those cases, we use that term loosely--but neither of them were able to dethrone Transformers: Rise of the Moon in its second weekend, as it grossed $47 million, down 52%. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day starred in Horrible Bosses (New Line/WB), the R-rated comedy which brought in $28.3 million over the weekend, followed in third place by Kevin James' family comedy Zookeeper (Sony), which opened with $20 million. The Top 10 grossed $140.5 million and the presence of The Amazing Spider-Man and strong returning movies from last week should help put this weekend over the top.

This Week's Updated Predictions -

1. The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony) - $71.4 million N/A

2. Ted (Universal Pictures) - $27.7 million -49%

4. Magic Mike (Warner Bros.) - $18.8 million -52% (up .3 million and one spot)

3. Brave (Disney•Pixar) - $18.3 million -47% (down .5 million and one spot)

5. Katy Perry: Part of Me (Paramount) - $14.0 million N/A (up .3 million)

6. Savages (Universal) – $12.5 million N/A (down .1 million)

7. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection (Lionsgate) - $11.7 million -54%

8. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) - $7.0 million -38% (down .2 million)

9. To Rome With Love (Sony Pictures Classics) – $3.4 Million 520% (down .1 million)

10. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) - $3.2 million -35%

The Chosen One

Filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass (Cyrus) release their second movie of the year with the low budget comedy The Do-Deca-Pentathlon (Red Flag Releasing) starring Steve Zissis and Mark Kelly as estranged brothers Mark and Jeremy, whose competitive nature drove them apart after a controversial ending to their home-grown Olympics games. During a family reunion, the two of them decide to replay the games to get a definitive winner, much to the exasperation of Mark's wife (Jennifer Lafleur) and their mother.

I've already made it clear what a big fan I am of the Duplass Brothers and their work and it's funny that their second movie of the year also deals with arguing brothers. This one was something they were working on before their foray into working with established actors with Cyrus and it sort of feels like it, although it's clear they also brought some of what they learned from making that movie and Jeff, Who Lives at Home to bring better production values to this movie than their earlier work.

This is definitely one of the Duplass' funnier movies mainly due to Steve Zissis' hilarious portrayal of the overweight Mark, who seems to have something to prove, not only to his younger brother but also to his son. He's also suffered from stress and other things, which would not be helped by a grueling competition with his brother, which is why they have to sneak around to keep it a secret from his wife.

While this may not be as easy an entry point to the filmmaking style of the Duplass' as Cyrus, anyone who has grown up with a brother can appreciate the relationship between the two main characters and appreciate this terrific mix of their lower budget sensibilities with the skills they've developed in recent years.

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon has been playing on VOD but it will open theatrically in select cities on Friday.

Interview with Mark Duplass

Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen star in Rob Reiner's The Magic of Belle Isle (Magnolia) with Freeman playing novelist Monte Wildhorn whose fight with alcoholism sends him to a cabin near on the beautiful belle isle to try to find his writing voice. There he meets a single mom (Madsen) and her daughters who help Monte find his inspiration. It's currently paying on VOD but it opens on Friday in New York and L.A.

Hugo Weaving stars in Glendyn Ivin's Australian drama Last Ride (Music Box Films) as the father of a ten-year-old son who goes on the run after committing a violent crime as the two of them battle the elements.

Actor Martin Donovan writes and directs Collaborator (Tribeca Film) in which he plays playwright Robert Longfellow, who has been having no luck on Broadway and having marital troubles, so he returns to his childhood home where he gets into a conflict with his childhood neighbor Gus (David Morse), who holds him hostage in a drunken night gone wrong.

Tom Shu-Yu Lin's drama Starry Starry Night (China Lion Entertainment), which just played at the New York Asian Film Festival, is a love story between Mei and Jay as they journey into the mountains to find her grandparent's home after her grandfather's death.

Adam Sherman's drama Crazy Eyes (Strand Releasing) stars Lukas Haas as Zach, a divorced father living the Hollywood dream, having figured out how to seduce women at the town's hottest nightclubs. Things change when he meets "Crazy Eyes" (Madeline Zima), who proves to be his first real challenge forcing him to reconsider his partying lifestyle. Co-starring Jake Busey, Ray Wise and Valerie Mahaffey, it opens in New York and L.A. on Friday.

Nicholas McCarthy's horror-thriller The Pact (IFC Midnight) is about two sisters who return to their childhood home after the death of their mother--I'm starting to see a trend for the movies this weekend--only to be terrorized by noises in the night and objects moving around as one of them starts having dream visions that lead to a mystery from their mothers' past.

Next week, the month of July continues with just one new movie in wide release, the animated fourquel Ice Age: Continental Divide (20th Century Fox) bringing back all of your favorite prehistoric talking animals.

You can read stuff like this and regular box office, awards and festival coverage on the new Weekend Warrior Blog and to keep up with the latest articles and posts, you can follow us on Twitter.

Copyright 2012 Edward Douglas




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