Whereas The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) was an underdog to win last weekend versus The Mummy 3 (Universal), I am installing the Christopher Nolan-directed comic book adaptation as the betting favorite to win both the traditional 3-day and the Wednesday-thru-Friday 5-day frames this weekend–although it could be close.
Two new movies are opening Wednesday (August 6) in the hopes of getting a jump on the Friday night Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. NBC’s prime-time coverage over the next 3 weeks will smartly feature many of the high profile swimming events, including those featuring Michael Phelps, and gymnastics, with Shawn Johnson’s pursuit of the Women’s All-Around, but the Olympics have begun to increasingly skew 25 Plus. Given that, both Sony and Warner Bros have picked a good spot for their respective releases.
Pineapple Express, Sony’s R-rated stoner comedy, is aimed at Males Under 25, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, a youth-oriented chick flick from Warner Bros, is reaching for Females Under 25. I do not believe, however, that the pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies, including a celebration of the history of Chinese culture, will do much to dampen the box office performance of these 2 new releases.
The Judd Apatow-produced Pineapple Express looks very solid in industry tracking, especially with the big money young male demo, and this marijuana-fueled comedy has an outside chance to upset The Dark Knight. Both movies are likely to finish in the same range with a traditional 3-day of $24M-$29M and a Wednesday-thru-Friday 5-day of $35M-$40M. Ultimately, I suspect that the Caped Crusader will defeat the Seth Rogen/James Franco toker jokefest, but Express will be a strong #2.
Pants 2 is the probable 3rd-place finisher for the weekend. The 2005 original opened on a Wednesday and managed a 3-day of $9.83M and a Wednesday-thru-Sunday of $13.57M. The modestly-budgeted, good-hearted “girl power” movie went on to $39M domestic. This sequel will enjoy a big step up at the box office.
With America Ferrera, now a star thanks to Ugly Betty, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively and Amber Tamblyn all returning, the new Traveling Pants seems destined to break $20M for the 5-day with something in the $19M-$22M range. The 3-day weekend should be $13M-$16M.
The Mummy 3 (Universal) will suffer a severe drop with a $13M-$16M Friday-thru-Sunday and something near $20M for 5-days. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor fell apart on Monday with just $4.24M, and that suggests a 65%+ drop-off from the film’s $44.7M 3-day opening.
FINAL 3-DAY PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST 8-10
1. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) – $28M
2. Pineapple Express (Sony) – $25M
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) – $15.5M
4. The Mummy 3 (Universal) – $14.75M
5. Step Brothers (Sony) – $8.5M
6. Mamma Mia (Universal) – $7.5M
7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) – $4.5M
8. Swing Vote (Disney) – $3.7M
9. WALL-E (Disney) – $2.9M
10. Hancock (Sony) – $2.7M
FINAL 5-DAY PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST 6-10
1. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) – $37.6M
2. Pineapple Express (Sony) – $35M
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) – $21.5M
4. The Mummy 3 (Universal) – $21M
5. Step Brothers (Sony) – $11.6M
6. Mamma Mia (Universal) – $11.2M
7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) – $6.65M
8. Swing Vote (Disney) – $5.2M
9. WALL-E (Disney) – $4.3M
10. Hancock (Sony) – $3.8M