After taking off from predictions last week, here are my brief thoughts for the weekend ahead:
1. The Five-Year Engagement - $23.0 million (NEW)
2. Think Like A Man - $17.2 million (-48.9%)
3. The Pirates! Band of Misfits - $12.5 million (NEW)
4. The Raven - $11.5 million (NEW)
5. The Lucky One – $9.3 million (-58.7%)
6. The Hunger Games - $9.2 million (-37.3%)
7. Safe - $8.5 million (NEW)
8. Chimpanzee - $4.5 million (-57.8%)
Jason Segel reunites with his director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-writer on The Muppets to deliver another spring-time relationship comedy in the vein of Marshall and 2009′s I Love You, Man (which Stoller wasn’t related with). Last week’s breakout opening of two female-leaning flicks won’t do any favors for Engagement‘s potential audience, but the upside is that its social media activity on Facebook and Twitter has been strong this week (ahead of No Strings Attached by a wide margin). The film’s greatest strengths, however, lie within the considerable fan base of Segel (thanks to a hit TV show and solid film resume so far) and the marketing strategy of connecting the film’s Apatow credit to last year’s Bridesmaids.
Personally, though, I fear the Bridesmaids angle has been played up a little too much. Audiences are smarter than we give them credit for, and Sarah Marshall is still well-regarded and recent enough to have deserved more credit in this film’s marketing.
I’ve been pretty optimistic on this one for awhile, but realistically an opening over $17-18 million is really all this needs to not be seen as a slight disappointment. I think it’ll eclipse that mark with about $22-23 million this weekend, but wouldn’t be surprised to see it get closer to Bridesmaids‘s $26.3 million. Legs might not be as strong as Segel’s other late spring comedies if reviews are any indication, but it has little competition in the coming weeks and could find an asset in the fact that wedding season tends to give these kinds of movies long play-ability.
The Pirates! has had subdued marketing campaign and we’ve seen plenty of non-CG animated films disappoint in recent years. With families and kids waiting for The Avengers next week, I don’t see that trend changing this weekend. Social media activity has been weak, but the film does boast over 10,000 Flixster votes. Compare that to Arthur Christmas‘s 4,632 pre-release and the fact that there hasn’t been a pure kiddie flick since The Lorax, and we could see a moderate surprise this weekend. But…it could really go either way, and I’m on the lower end of expectations.
The Raven is the kind of film that could easily get sacrificed by audiences this weekend as they start saving up the cash for Avengers next week. Granted, its a different kind of audience, but the film’s marketing has been scattered. Still, MTC is calling for $16 million (versus ReelSource’s $15 million) and it has over 20,000 Flixster votes. That’s incredibly surprising to me. I’m going against the grain on this one and giving it an $11.5 million opening.
Last up is Safe, another Jason Statham action pic. The film is only slightly behind The Mechanic in online tracking and also boasts over 19,000 votes on Flixster. MTC went 23% lower than RS with its call though, and considering the number of new releases this week I have to think that one is going to get hit really hard. With Avengers around the corner and having the most similar audience to Safe versus any other new release this weekend, I’m banking on this being the one that goes overlooked this weekend. I’m expecting similar numbers to Haywire ($8.4 million) and Killer Elite ($9.4 million).