Stars vs. Rawrs: Scott Breaks Down the Weekend Box Office

Sorry, this is posted really late this week. I ended up being out of town, and then having a full slate yesterday so I didn't have time to format the article. The box office weekend is wrapping up, but you can now compare how close his predictions were to the reality. Also see if you catch on to what movies Scott plans to see, and which ones he secretly hopes fail.

Last weekend saw Despicable Me 2 set pace to become the number one animated film of the year, while The Lone Ranger underwhelmed expectations and is proving to have missed the mark on recreating the fun and success of Pirates of the Caribbean.  This week sees two wide release movies that share nothing in common in their fight for your cinema dollars.  One is a collection of comedians returning for a follow up to Grown Ups, and the other has no blockbuster name power but does boast the power of giant robots and giant monsters.  Star power vs. robot power… let’s dig in.

Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Kevin James are back in Grown Ups 2, the follow up to their 2010 summer comedy.  The movie proved to be a trial by fire experience for critics and scored a horribly low 10% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Luckily for Sandler and friends, people would be undeterred by this and the movie’s opening weekend grabbed $40 million from audiences on its way to a worldwide total of $270 million.  A haul like that would make anyone consider a sequel, and consider it they sure did.  Here we are on the eve of attempt the second, and there is no way a star studded comedy can be a miss, is there?

Sadly, this year has shown that audiences are increasingly fickle about their comedy movies.  You are no longer able to attach a few recognizable names and expect the movie to be a hit.  For more information on this ask Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Jim Carey, Steve Carell, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, or any of the many people associated with Movie 43.  Over the past two years Adam Sandler has started to experience a decrease in drawing power with Jack and Jill earning only $25 million its opening weekend, and 2012’s That’s My Boy failing to make back its budget.  However, with the amount of Twitter activity around this movie, I think these four comedians will see some profit on this film as the audiences will forgo critical opinion once again (Grown Ups 2 is currently 7% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Grown Ups 2 Opening Weekend Prediction - $42 million

Pacific Rim enters theatres this weekend, bringing a feel of Godzilla versus Robot Jox in a blockbuster movie directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and starring actors most people may not recognize.  Now, if you are a fan of the television station FX, you may have giddy excitement for seeing Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day.  If you watch the trailers for Pacific Rim you will notice that they pay no attention to the human aspect of the movie… it is all about the robots and monsters.  For those who enjoy movies with deep, rich characters and interesting arcs, you should be staying away from this movie.  It is a special effects extravaganza; the kind that suggests you should bring an extra few dollars for popcorn so you can get the full experience of the fun blockbuster.

There are two movies this blockbuster season that are considered wild cards, which means they are hard to predict, and they could end up bringing in a lot more money than people expect.  Pacific Rim is one of them, the other is The Conjuring, and I will be talking about that movie next week.  At this point in time, Pacific Rim has had early success in the box office.  Last night it brought in $3.6 million, which is consistent with where World War Z was in its late night releases.  Online movie ticket purchasing website Fandango reported that Pacific Rim accounted for 60% of their advanced ticket sales for this weekend and was ahead of World War Z sales leading up to its release.  Also, this movie has already taken first place in a number of international markets, and international monies are a very coveted commodity.  Many of the websites that I lurk around on are predicting Pacific Rim will take in around $40-45 million this weekend.  Alas, I must go a different route.  Because this movie is showing many indicators of being on the same trajectory as World War Z ($66 million opening weekend), I feel that the $40 million mark is a bit low and this movie could shock a lot of people with how well it does.  The trailers for Pacific Rim tell me to ‘go big or go extinct,’ and that is exactly what I must do.

Pacific Rim Opening Weekend Prediction - $55 million

Another movie that needs mentioning this weekend is the limited release Fruitvale Station which is an independent movie based on the story of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a police officer in 2009.  It is one of the year’s first serious Oscar contenders, and has won awards at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.  Fruitvale Station is the first feature film directed by Ryan Coogler, and it is noted for having an amazing performance from its lead actor, Michael B. Jordan.  If you happen to live near one of the seven theatres playing this movie, consider myself envious of you, and I hope you get a chance to see this film.