One of the toughest weekends for the movie industry as The Super Bowl steals Sunday audiences and keeps them locked into the couch and glued to the TV instead of in the movie theater. Films often see a 60% Saturday to Sunday drop during this football-crazed weekend and that leaves few crumbs on the box office table for the films in the marketplace. An exception was Super Bowl weekend last year when Sony totally capitalized on the counter-programming draw of the romantic drama Dear John and came up with a $30.5 million touchdown. Sony should land on top again this year with the dramatic thriller The Roommate, but with a weekend in the $10 million to $12 million range. Having appeal for the female audience in particular, this variation on Single White Female set in a college dormitory may prove to be a counter-programming draw for those looking for a sanctuary from the football madness going on at home.
The rest of the top five is a veritable coin toss with four films expected to land within $2 million of each other. The most likely scenario has Paramount’s No Strings Attached grabbing second place with around $8 million and benefiting from perhaps being the only film in the top five to be truly Super Bowl proof. The R-rated romantic comedy held extremely well in its second weekend and should do so again given the strong female appeal of the film starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.
In the wake of 12 Oscar nominations and a SAG Award for best ensemble cast, Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech is gaining huge momentum as the film is becoming a film with broad mainstream appeal as even younger audiences are now lining up to see this uplifting tale. With a 30% drop the film could earn around $7.5 million in its eleventh weekend of release. A global total of over $150 million awaits this King by the end of the weekend as the continued worldwide appeal of the film continues to grow.
Anthony Hopkins in Warner Bros.’ devilish thriller The Rite, topped the box office last weekend and will likely scare up another $7 million to $8 million this weekend as it battles The King’s Speech for the souls of moviegoers in what looks to be a very tight race. The strength of Hopkins name and solid word-of-mouth will conspire to give the film a better second weekend hold than is typical for the genre and that should translate to a top three showing for the film.
James Cameron is executive producer for the film that is likely to occupy fifth place as Universal’s 3-D and IMAX enhanced action adventure Sanctum dives into theaters. The marketing campaign for the film has featured the involvement of Cameron and boasts some amazing images that should draw a crowd comparable to similarly-themed films The Descent and The Cave and thus should land in the $6 million to $8 million range.
The bad news is that our national box office nightmare will continue into its 13th weekend as year ago comparisons to the Dear John and Avatar led Super Bowl weekend will hand us yet another year over year box office defeat.