Box-Office Oracle: Jun. 4 – Jun. 6, 2010

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Before we begin… a rant…

This week a massively popular columnist, Bill Simmons, opened an article by calling Hot Tub Time Machine a “surprise hit.” This sort of thing happens all the time, and it never fails to annoy the hell out of me. Hot Tub Time Machine earned $57m on a $36m budget. Due to studio/theater splits and marketing it almost certainly lost money. How is that a “surprise hit?” Because most people only look at the numbers $57m and $36m and call it good. So we’ve still got plenty of educating to do to get to the point where we’re not giving the studios credit for failure.

Now that’s out of my system, and without further bickering, let’s break this extremely well contested weekend down!

#1 movie predicted correctly: 0 Weeks In A Row
It will drop 34 percent, perfectly positioned against a talking dog movie. In winning its third weekend in a row you start to think, “Hey, Shrek is doing alright!”

Not so fast.

The film still stands at a paltry $211m on a $165m budget, and Toy Story 3 won’t allow it to have a How to Train Your Dragon-like two month run. It needs another $113m domestically just to catch the original Shrek, and that’s not adjusted for inflation. Where’s that money going to come from?

So it’s a good news / bad news situation for Shrek. The good news is the drops have been reasonable. The bad news is it simply started too low.

Prediction: $28.6 million

You’ve really got to wonder about the three million poor souls who will venture out to see Marmaduke. They didn’t screen it for us (though Ebert got to review it), so I can’t officially say it’s awful, but the trailer made me very sad.
Prediction: $22.56 million
Films tend to fall about 30 percent the weekend after Memorial Day. Yes, there are exceptions, but five of the six films this weekend follow this trend.
Prediction: $18.65 million
When was the last time eight films made over $10m? Ever? What a fragmented field. Trivia: six films did it on this same weekend last year. This one feels a lot like 30 percent of Mr. and Mrs. Smith‘s opening take, per theater.
Prediction: $15.72 million
Comedies don’t open big. It’s not my rule, and I wish it wasn’t so, but Greek isn’t well positioned with just under 2,700 theaters.
Prediction: $14.29 million
The first one dropped off a cliff. But this one will bleed less due to Thursday sapping the overall strength of the opening weekend.
Prediction: $13.95 million
Probably the wildcard of the weekend. I wouldn’t be shocked by a four million dollar swing either way.
Prediction: $11.23 million
$18m more to pass the original. At least half of that will come this weekend.
Prediction: $11.19 million
Not even adjusted for inflation, the 1991 version doubled the domestic take of this one. That’s not ideal work outta Universal.
Prediction: $4.93 million
Contractually, I can’t be forced to talk about Letters to Juliet. So instead I’ll say this… I’ve got Icebox in the Belmont.
Prediction: $2.92 million

How say you? Want to take Marmaduke? See a Get Him to the Greek upset in our future? Have I underestimated the appeal of Heigl/Kutcher? Place your bets in the comments and do so before Friday so I can reference your picks in the Sunday Wrap-Up.

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