Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is the all but certain victor this weekend, barring actual meatballs becoming sentient and instituting martial law. That’s right, for the first time since mid-July the family dollar will hold sway (unless you count One Direction: This is Us, which I don’t).
Oddly enough, according to our formula, factoring in marketing and theatrical splits, the first Cloudy movie probably didn’t make all that much money, earning only $243 million on a $100 million production budget. Sony did something smart here though, they lowered the budget to $78 million, and with the sequel bump they’re likely to see a handsome profit. I’m near the tracking on Cloudy 2 at $47 million, around 50 percent higher than the original’s opening weekend.
Playing for second will be Rush, a film that, according to the trailers, will leave you feeling more “alive in theaters” than you have in years. Huh? It’s a solid movie, but that’s one painfully desperate little marketing campaign they’re cooking up over there, and although I wish people would see the film, the numbers indicate they won’t. Internationally? It will do great, but most ‘Muricans aren’t all that interested in a Formula One rivalry from the ’70s, or at least they don’t know they should be. I’ve put my number at $13.2 million, but I’d love to be wrong. This is another example of studios being told, by ticket buyers, that only sequels and superheroes matter. Shame.
In other, somehow even worse marketing news, Don Jon has a shot at some truly brutal Cinemascores if people head in expecting a romp. This film is a drama, not a comedy, nor a romance, even if there are elements of the latter two mixed in. To look at the trailers you’d think this was 500 Days of Summer in New Jersey, so anyone who drags their significant other along for a date night is going to get some serious looks afterward. These are tragic laughs about facile sex and addiction, but very few “JGL is a dreamboat!” moments. That said, though the film gets a little lost at times, there’s definitely directorial potential for young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, hopefully with his next film he can ask them politely not to totally bone him with audience expectations in a sad attempt to scalp first weekend dollars. I’ve got it just above $12 million, but the falloff from Friday to Sunday could be huge.
Finally, let’s take a gander at Baggage Claim. It is, no kidding, an exact replica of What’s Your Number? – to the point where this is likely to be mentioned in every review, including mine. So storywise, you know what you’re getting, which is not much. However, I found the comedy here to be redemptive, which made my moviegoing experience palatable. How will it do opening weekend? Tracking is low, no surprise there, and my $11.7 million call, though above tracking, could end up low as well. It’s really hard to say on a film like this, because for every Think Like a Man (opened at $33 million) you’ve got a Jumping the Broom (opened at $15 million). Minority driven comedies are still clearly very difficult for Hollywood marketing to entice, perhaps because they attempt it so infrequently.
And now I’ll turn it over to you, the adoring public, to prognosticate and predict away!
Current Record: 16-37-3 against the wisdom of crowds.
Major Theater Chain (MTC) Tracking
SIDE NOTE: Some of the theater numbers below are estimates. We’ll have the actual counts in Sunday’s wrap-up article.