Grizzly Bomb’s Box Office Dartboard Predictions

Welcome to the inaugural Grizzly Bomb Box Office Dartboard Predictions! This will be a weekly feature and I will be your regular host for these events. The main reasons we wanted to do this:

  1. Dr. Kronner wanted me to actually do a weekly feature so I’m not buried behind a computer attempting to fix random issues that pop up (this week’s culprit: hidden code that causes redirects)
  2. We want to let our audience know what’s out there, and if you should probably get advance tickets. We’re basically the movietickets.com commercials you see at the beginning of the shows…only mildly less annoying.
  3. I’m a sucker for math and algorithms so this stuff makes me excited. Also I like to have the power to make predictions.
  4. I’ll probably have a Sunday feature where everyone will make fun of my predictions because I’ll be horribly off base.

Honestly, I want to do this because I want our audience to be aware of what’s out there in the world and plan accordingly if they choose to go out to the movies. It’s a spectacle now with big crowds and big money so we want to sway your opinion one way or another if it’s worth the trip or not without being shut out for tickets or in some cases, maybe you want to go to an empty theater (Cloud Atlas?) and just find a place to hook up with someone. Regardless, here we go, I welcome comments as always to help me improve the piece as we move on from this point forward.

This is actually a pretty easy week as we only have one wide release and that is the already critically-acclaimed Skyfall, with Daniel Craig at the helm in his latest 007 adventure. Seeing that it has already topped $287 million overseas as of November 8th, it should be a no-brainer on what the number one movie will be right? Hell, it’s already the 3rd highest grossing Bond movie of all time and we haven’t even seen the receipts in the States yet.

I think the real question is how much money it could possibly rake in. This movie has been in our sights for the last month already with Europe seeing its early release and commercials for the movie; Heineken, Sony and everything under the sun that features Daniel Craig in it. It’s a cross-promotion wet dream that’s unfolding in front of us. It does, however, risk overexposure. Could the North American audience already be sick of Bond? Do we really need to know that he likes to drink imported beer from Holland and loves to infiltrate secret lairs run by Sony VAIO computers? It doesn’t hurt and nor will it because of the massive amount of terrific reviews out there.

Here’s the thing. It’s the only major release out there. It’s dropping in 3400 theaters, which is on target for most PG-13 wide releases out there. Let’s look at Casino Royale for a second. That came out November 17, 2006 and was 2nd in the box office behind Happy Feet (yep, that happened). It dropped 40.8 million that weekend and opened to similarly fantastic reviews in 3,434 theaters. It averaged nearly 12k per screen. Quantum of Solace had a similar opening in the theater count with 3,451. However, it dropped an enormous 67.5 million that weekend and also led the way with an average of 19.5k per theater. This did well despite the fact that the movie opened to lukewarm reviews and made about the same domestically as Casino Royale in the end, due to drop offs in the upcoming weekends and worse word of mouth.

Now for another comparison’s sake, let’s look at two other movies: The Bourne Legacy and Taken 2. With The Bourne Legacy, that opened in about 3700 theaters and grossed 38 million opening weekend. This was a spy thriller franchise looking for a comeback after a few years off. Granted, it also was missing Matt Damon and the franchise proved to be a lot more reliant on him showing up and being the face as opposed to just the name Bourne. It also opened in the busy summer season where it faced other similar pictures vying for the action movie demographic. Taken 2 was international appeal, fall opening, Liam Neeson growling his way through his warpath leaving nothing but Eastern European corpses as his calling cards…this could be another good comparison. The movie opened a month ago and crushed its competition with a 49.5 million opening gross in 3600 theaters for an average of 13.5k per screen.

I love math so let’s put this all together with my predictions. It’s safe to say that this movie will surpass both those movies in gross. So if you look at the per screening, it’s safe to say that it would probably be around 25k per screening. That’s a 6k increment increase that you got from the previous two Bond films and I imagine it would be the same in this case. You have to look at the inflation and those patterns. Plus there is an audience clamoring for a Bond movie after the four year drought. This movie also carries a ridiculous amount of buzz and there is no other competition out there to conflict with. Taken 2 and The Man with the Iron Fists would be the closest, but Taken 2 is in its twilight and the RZA flick isn’t punching its way out of the hole it’s in. So we do the simple math of 25k and multiply it by the amount of theaters, and we get an 85 million dollar opening estimate. Looking at outside factors, like the snow storm heading to the east coast, the 2hr and 25 min run time, and IMAX, we can adjust accordingly to be more conservative. However, the movie has already opened in some places today because of IMAX screenings. We can adjust to an additional 5-10 million.

So, my prediction? 82 million dollars this weekend for Skyfall. Granted I’m just throwing the figure out, but it’s going to be an event movie and with no other competition, new and existing, mark that down and watch me eat crow on Sunday.

Lincoln also opens in 11 theaters this weekend and those will surely be packed as the film is garnering major critical and awards buzz. In the major cities, look for it to get about a 20k per screen share so probably a 200k limited release opening before it goes wide next week.

Looking at the other holdovers, Wreck It-Ralph will have a steady decline this weekend to the 2nd spot. It made 49 million last weekend and has garnered good to great reviews (even though I personally thought it was overrated). Tangled opened comparably, but over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Its initial decline was 55% to the second weekend. Its declines afterwards averaged about 30-35% so it’s conceivable to think that it will have a 40% decline before it levels back to 30% because Wreck-It Ralph doesn’t compete directly with Skyfall and will still pull in the kiddies. Look for a 30 million dollar follow up frame for the Disney picture which should bring it up to 90 million for the first 10 days.

Argo continues to perform with minimal declines and while the adult audience will flock to Skyfall, I still see only a 25% decline so it should roll in about 7-8 million for the weekend. The Man with the Iron Fists? Yeah, 007 is going to crush that and take away its target demographic. 60% decline as the RZA and Russell Crowe flick will drop to 3-4 million. Taken 2 and Cloud Atlas will have similar declines of 50% due to the Bond movie and apathy, respectively. Taken 2 will drop to 3 million and The Wachowskis flick will go to 2-3 million as well.

So let us recap the list right now:

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1.) Skyfall: 82 million
2.) Wreck-It Ralph: 30 million
3.) Argo: 7 million
4.) Taken 2: 3 million
5.) Cloud Atlas: 2 million

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Again, we’ll have to see how this holds up on Sunday when I review the estimates and probably remove the foot from my mouth (foot on hand since I’m typing?). Disagree with me? Well, you know where the comments are.

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