Friday, July 29, 2011

Box Office Battle - July 29th

I should probably reconsider the purpose of this column. In an attempt to show off my amazing knowledge to the world of my many reader(s), it seems I have been caught with my pants down facing the mirror. After last week's mess of a guess where I - and to be fair just about everyone else on the internet - underestimated just how much America loves movies about America...or captains of America as the case my be, I have had to grapple with the fact that I may be trying to gauge the country's cultural pulse with a scalpel rather than a stethoscope. Now with three major motion pictures muscling their way in to theaters I have put aside all misconceived medical metaphors to make my movie money estimates for the coming weekend.

Cowboys & Aliens

This weekend's biggest film, both in terms of noise and likely budget, is the latest from Iron Man director and ex-Swingers co-star Jon Favreau: Cowboys & Aliens. Thinking about this movie is difficult because moviegoers have lately shunned westerns, while science fiction films and space sagas remain fairly popular. The trailers I have seen are emphasize both aspects while also highlighting the involvement of current Bond, Daniel Craig and potentially still current Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford. Each week I feel as if the nation will suffer action fatigue, and each week I am proven wrong. While the film's name does not carry the heft of many of the other big name franchises of the summer, I can see this movie opening similar to a movie like Super 8 ($35M), which clearly had an otherworldly threat, but also did not have an established brand to draw a massive audience. Perhaps Battle: Los Angeles is a nice compliment to this film, as that also opened to $35M, and like Super 8 did not have the same star power that Favreau's film has, which should help this movie's final totals.

Prediction: $40.89

The Smurfs

The family option this week comes in the form of The Smurfs, a film that is sure to be a smurfy smurf at the smurfs as audience smurfs want to smurf their smurfs out with a smurfy smurf because they smurfed smurf on what is probably a smurfing pile of smurf. Boasting a cast that smurfs bit time smurflebrities like Katy Perry and Neil Patrick Harris, The Smurfs (in 3-D!) seems to be smurfing the same audience that smurfed movie theaters during in the winter months when the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies released. But I don't think this franchise really has the smurf of a smurf like those smurfing chipmunks. Actually, this summer has not been very smurfy to family comedies with Zookeeper opening up to $20M and Mr. Popper's Penguins smurfing to $18M, and despite the smurf name maybe carrying more smurf than these nameless franchises they also had much more star smurf smurfing them forward. Smurf this smurf, I'm just going to smurfing smurf.

Prediction: $20.04M

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

If you have turned on a television in the past week - any channel really, as I've seen ads for this one playing across many demographics - you have likely seen a trailer for the ensemble dramadey Crazy, Stupid, Love. Despite a trailer that has a few lines which border on insufferable, I am actually incredibly interested in checking this out because the cast is so strong. Though Julianne Moore, Steve Carrel, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Kevin Bacon have all had their own individual successes, the trailers have not really pushed one as the definitive lead, which might hurt the overall numbers. While Friends With Benefits would be the obvious comparison, opening last week to an expected $18M, there does not seem to a spot of raunch that has propelled other summer comedies to commercial success. Actually, the advertising campaign reminds me of a quieter film like Larry Crowne, which opened to $13M or last year's similarly named Eat Pray Love, a film that took in $23M. But Moore is a long way from Roberts, and I fear this may come across as a bit too vanilla for too large an audience.

Prediction: $14.52M

With three films opening, and larger films still going strong, placing in the top five is going to be a hard fought battle. Here is how I think the list will look come Monday morning.

1. Cowboys & Aliens
2. Captain America
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two
4. The Smurfs
5. Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Which of the Big Three are you most interested in catching this weekend?


Comments are welcome and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blogfilled with all original works for your reading pleasure. Or if video games are more your thing, I have a blog dedicated to all gaming news, reviews, and opinions.

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© 2011 Richard James Thorne

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