Box Office Preview
Weekend of May 17, 2013
Stephen H Koontz
It’s mid-May, schools are beginning to take their summer break, the weather is hot and the movies are getting hotter. “Star Trek Into Darkness” will no doubt keep the box office alive this weekend. It’s the only wide release; so it won’t have any major competition but “Iron Man 3” and “The Great Gatsby” will continue to bring in a large audience.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Sequels of successful franchises tend to do better than their predecessor (Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2, Dead Man’s Chest, The Dark Knight, and many more). Since the Star Trek reboot was lauded both by critics and fans, there is little reason “Star Trek Into Darkness” won’t continue the trend. The fans have waited four years for the sequel and the franchise’s audience has grown far larger than Trekkies and sci-fi enthusiasts. More things in the movie’s favor: Director JJ Abrams has kept his reputation and name alive and well since the first entry, most notably for the announcement of him helming the next Star Wars trilogy. The movie has also shown a strong marketing effort, creating hype and effectively displaying the new plot and its villain (“Sherlock’s” Benedict Cumberbatch), giving people a reason to see the movie, more than because it’s a sequel.
The movie isn’t getting as strong of critical and fan praise as the first; but still very respectable – 86% critics approved and 90% fans liked it, on rottentomatoes.com. These are the fans who have seen pre-screenings or Wednesday night’s midnight showing, who tend to give higher ratings.
Clearly there are plenty of reasons to think this will be a big release and early numbers show the movie won’t be a box-office disappointment. Nearly 75% of all ticket sales on fandango.com are for “Star Trek Into Darkness”, of course this is a little skewed, since it’s the weekend’s only major release. And it is a major release, with 3762 locations ready to show the movie in the US. To also make it clear it will be a domestic success are last week’s international numbers – most territories are up 70% from “Star Trek”.
Fantasy Prediction: #1; with $91M (3-Day) and $112 (4-Day – Opens Thursday).
The sequel to the successful and popular reboot will bring in a huge weekend. Released by Paramount at 3,762 theaters.
Noah Baumbach is a popular indie-film director (Margot at the Wedding, Greenberg, The Squid and the Whale) and writer (Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, etc.). He directs the poor woman’s Kate Winslet, Greta Gerwig, for the second time in what some critics have said is his best work yet. It has a unanimous critic approval rating, with a 95% on rottentomatoes.com). Fans have also enjoyed it with a 7.6 rating on imdb.com. Mostly from the festival circuit.
Fantasy Prediction: Might slip into the top 20; between $170K and $190K. It opens in only a few theaters and most likely expand over the next month with solid word of mouth.
Released by IFC at 4 theaters.
Former music video director Philipp Stolzl will make another poor attempt to establish himself as a notable filmmaker. While the movie has notable actors like Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko, they aren’t enough to create any interest in this poorly reviewed movie (26% on rottentomatoes.com) that looks generic in its marketing and premise.
Fantasy Prediction: Out of the top 20; with $80K to 90K. This movie will be erased from relevance pretty quickly.
Released by Radius-TWC at 51 Theaters
A hindi movie with a decent domestic theater count will do well with its Hindi audience but will likely go unnoticed by many beyond that. It comes from an unproven director and only mildly popular Indian actors.
Fantasy Prediction: Just out of the top 20; with $100K – 150K. Not enough interest for general audiences to be a breakout hit.
Released by Yash Raj at 62 theaters
This Korean film could be the dark horse (among limited releases) of the weekend. It has gotten decent reviews and has played well with screenings and in other countries. The director, Ki-duk Kim, has a bit of a following and the movie looks consistent with the tone and style of his previous films.
Released by Drafthouse; No theater count.
Director Katie Aselton (The Freebie) tries out a whole new genre, horror/thriller, and it doesn’t look like a successful move. While it has likable stars (Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, and Aselton herself), it’s not a good genre for her, plus marketing and previews look cliche. She might want to stick to directing and acting in comedies.
Released by LD Entertainment; No theater count
The English Teacher
Popular television director Craig Zisk (Weeds, Parks & Rec, Nip/Tuck) is giving the movies a try with this low budget, big actress (Julianne Moore) film. According to critics, it’s not a good move, with a 38% rating.
Released by Cinedigm Entertainment; No theater count
This French 19th century true-story has a very limited audience and comes from first- time director Alice Winocour who is little known for her short films.
Released by Music Box films; No theater count
This French documentary covers the preparation of Natalie Dessay for her role in the Verdi opera. This has no domestic box office appeal. It can only hope to appeal to a Netflix audience among the other documentaries that don’t make it at the box office. Released by Distrib Films; No theater count
A strange documentary that will have a great chance to be seen by an audience… with streaming options, not at the box office.
Released by First Run; No theater count
- Star Trek Into Darkness (New) $91M (3-Day) and $112 (4-Day)
- Iron Man 3: $31.9M; – 56%. Star Trek will be its first major direct competition and it will continue to fall fast because of that. But a solid third weekend nonetheless.
- The Great Gatsby: $26M; -48%. It had a great opening; but one that will likely be front-loaded. However no direct competition this weekend will keep it stable.
- Pain and Gain: $3.1M; -38%. Its hold won’t be as nice this weekend; but there is still an audience.
- 42: $3.1M; -30%. It’s still baseball season and people still like this movie.
- The Croods: $2.9M; -17%. I feel bad for families, as this is still their only option.
- Oblivion: $2.5M; -39%. Like when Iron Man 3 came out, its relevance will dwindle.
- Peeples: $2.2M; -52%. The only reason it won’t fall harder is a lack of comedy options.
- Mud: $1.8M; -32%. It did not have a strong enough expansion last week.
- The Big Wedding: $1.5M; -40%. It started off weak but has shown decent holds since.
Limited Release Holdovers
Moderate releases “The Company You Keep”, “Renoir” and “The Sapphires” are all maintaining passable per-theater averages but are still slowly on their way out.
Last week’s holdovers “The Iceman”, “Kon-Tiki”, “Love is All You Need”, and “What Maisie Knew” had decent expansions and might see their numbers continue to rise this weekend, with “Love is All You Need” being the least likely.
Several movies, most notably “At Any Price”, “Cinco De Mayo: La Batalla” and “Kiss of the Damned”, tried expanding but were met with meager results. They won’t likely see any more expansions.