Sunday, June 3, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman rules the box office

Universal has had a rough couple of months. After two back-to-back smash hits in Safe House and The Lorax, the studio found themselves with two flops. The Five-Year Engagement was a major miss and the studio's $209 million board game adaptation Battleship was worse. So, it had to be a relief when Snow White and the Huntsman significantly over performed with a $56.2 million opening weekend. Universal had projected a low to mid $30s opening, while analysts predicted higher with low to mid $40s. Despite the performance not living up to my prediction last week, even I knew that a $65 million opening was virtually impossible. The fact that an original fantasy film that wasn't in 3D opened this high is spectacular. Huntsman opened just higher than Sony's MIB3 did in 3D last weekend and that was over a holiday weekend. Snow White and the Huntsman has finally seemed to break the summer box office slump that claimed victims such as Battleship and Dark Shadows after The Avengers destroyed tons of records. In second place this weekend was MIB3 with a 49% drop to $28 million. That is a decent drop but the film will come nowhere close to the $250 million the original grossed or even the $190 million that the much panned sequel mustered. MIB3 is now at $112 million.

The Avengers crossed more milestones this weekend. On Friday, the film became the 3rd highest grossing film of all time both domestically and worldwide. The Avengers made another $20.2 million this weekend to raise its total to $552.7 million in the US. Battleship finished fourth with a $4.8 million gross. The film has now made $55 million and will finish its run with less than John Carter. The Dictator finished fifth with $4.7 million and has raised its total to $50 million. The other film that opened this weekend, the drama For Greater Glory opened to $1.8 million.

June 8-10 predictions

Next weekend will be big. June 8 marks the release of two major summer releases in the form of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Prometheus. Both are somewhat difficult to predict but I think both will be hits. Madagascar 3 is the first big animated movie since The Lorax and besides Brave and Ice Age 4, there isn't much else out there for families this summer. The film may fall victim to franchise fatigue, but I don't see that happening. The original grossed $47 million in its opening weekend, while the sequel grossed $63 million. With the extra 3D surcharge and the scarcity of kids animated films this summer, expect Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted to open to $66 million. Prometheus is a lot harder to predict. Prometheus is an R-rated science fiction horror movie with little in terms of recognizable stars and it may or may not be an Alien prequel. But this film has a lot of strong advance buzz and has been labeled as the next "event" movie of the summer. It has already posted strong box office returns in the UK and I don't see any reason that it can't do better here. Expect a debut of around $55 million for Prometheus. I'm being really modest, this film could be a smash, but I have significantly over-guessed on MIB3 and SWATH, so I'm being conservative here. Expect SWATH to drop to around $30 million. After all, a lot of schools get out that week and there is no real PG-13 movie to see opening next weekend.

1. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $66 million
2. Prometheus- $55 million
3. Snow White and the Huntsman- $30 million
4. MIB3- $13 million
5. The Avengers- $10 million

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