Friday, July 18, 2008

Box Office Savant?

I'LL TRY NOT TO LET IT GO TO MY HEAD, but last week's box office predictions were pretty good, I must say. Even though I missed the Meet Dave number horribly, as I was waaaaayyyyy more generous than the movie-goers were with their interest. Honestly, I thought $17 million represented a pretty dismal opening weekend for an Eddie Murphy movie, and maybe I was right. But it wasn't dismal enough. The $5 million that Meet Dave brought in put it above the lifetime gross of Pluto Nash, so I guess that's some sort of victory, right?

As far as the two other predictions go, I was nearly perfect, nailing Journey to the Center of the Earth's debut on the nose and posting a respectable 93.2% for Hellboy II. Even with Meet Dave factored in, I was 81% accurate for the weekend, which is a solid B. Let's take a gander at those numbers!

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
My prediction: $37 million
Actual opening weekend: $34.5 million
Accuracy: 93.2%

Journey to the Center of the Earth
My prediction: $21 million
Actual opening weekend: $21 million
Accuracy: 100%

Meet Dave
My prediction: $17 million
Actual opening weekend: $5 million
Accuracy: 29%

The Dark Knight 
Here it comes, people: the biggest movie of the summer. And I'm not talking about Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. No movie will have a bigger debut this summer and no movie will take in more money overall. This is the movie that everyone has been talking about ever since Batman Begins left the theaters. And the tragedy of Heath Ledger's passing has only amplified the buzz. Two weeks ago, I ran into no fewer than a dozen people who were either in the process of securing their tickets for The Dark Knight or had just done so. Two. Weeks. Ago. The critical praise has been crazy good (over 90% positive on, the trailers look amazing, and everyone is going bananas already, and it's only been open for a few hours. Now that we're securely in the sweaty bosom of summer, it's time for us to meet 2008's box office champ. Embrace it. Love it. See it several times.
Opening weekend: $135 million
Total take: $400 million

Mamma Mia!
The wife always says of my movie predictions, basically, that I base them solely on my feelings about a movie. That if it's a movie I don't want to see, I can't imagine how other people might have a different opinion than mine. And I will not disagree with that statement, not entirely anyway. I do try to take the long view of things. Sometimes it's harder than other times. Like with Mamma Mia!, for instance. I know it's not a movie for me. Just like the musical of the same name was not aimed at me (even though, thanks to my dad, I was a fan of ABBA as a kid). But I'll say this: I thought this movie would easily take in $100 million when I first heard Meryl Streep was on-board. And I continued to think that until last week when I saw a clip and heard Pierce Brosnan's singing. First of all Brosnan is already a little bit of box office poison, even if he's not trying to sing. But good gravy, people! Have you heard the man's yowling? Sweet Jeebus! It's beyond bad. It's beyond embarrassing. That said, I still think the movie will open okay. But I just can't imagine people will return to hear the noise coming from that guy's face.
Opening weekend: $25 million
Total take: $70 million

Space Chimps 
Wow. Really? That's all you've got for me? Space Chimps? And your tagline is "Go bananas!" It's like a movie poster for a fake movie you would see as a prop in another movie. So, it already appears that the movie is, if not there already, on the edge of creative bankruptcy. But then there's the character design. All the chimps look the same, and they're not even cute. And, hey, studio guys, are you sure you want this in the theaters at the same time as Wall-E? You sure about that? You can almost hear them saying, "Well, after a couple of weeks, everyone will be tired of that dumb Pixar robot movie, and they'll be ready for our movie. Plus, our monkeys talk! That robot just says his name over and over again. Bo-ring!" Wait, I could be totally wrong about this! The movie could do really, really well. It could be huge! I'm kidding. It will be horrible and it will do horribly.
Opening weekend: $8 million
Total take: $51 million

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