BOX OFFICE: Newcomers Open on Top

Unsurprisingly the energy and excitement surrounding the Superbowl contributed to the weekend Box Office’s 18% decline. Despite the fact that the two new films that were opening in wide release received downright awful reviews, they still managed to take the number one and two spots away from the Best Picture nominees. The Fighter dropped out of the top ten this week and Black Swan barely held on for likely its last appearance in the top ten as the American moviegoer begins to let go of 2010 and look forward to 2011.

Box Office Estimates
February 4-6, 2011

1) The Roommate (2,534 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $15.6 million

This is the type of movie that draws audience members that pay no attention to reviews, which is why its 8% score on Rotten Tomatoes was not enough to ruin its win. This movie probably won’t have much legs and should drop pretty drastically from its first to second weekend, but for now it’s quite a ways ahead of the pack.

2) Sanctum (2,787 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $9.225 million

No matter how many times they dropped James Cameron’s name in the promos for the film, they couldn’t trick enough people to see this movie to get it to open above $10 million. This is another film that should fall off the charts quickly with its bad reviews, but it just might make back its $30 million budget domestically.

3) No Strings Attached (3,050 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $8.4 million

Natalie Portman is everywhere lately. She is the current Best Actress frontrunner for her performance in Black Swan, she stars in this romantic comedy that has been dominating the Box Office, her independent film The Other Woman opened this weekend in very limited release, and she recently began appearing in promo spots for the upcoming Thor. I think the more Natalie, the better, so I’m perfectly okay with this trend.

4) The King’s Speech (2,584 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $8.31 million

Moving up from the 5th to the 4th spot this weekend, The King’s Speech is poised to overtake The Social Network in domestic cumulative Box Office growth. This will give The King’s Speech the advantage in pretty much everything except for critics awards, which are the least significant when it comes to Best Picture.

5) The Green Hornet (3,033 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $6.1 million

As I predicted, this film managed to hang on for a stronger fourth week than the two films that premiered last weekend. In two more weekends this is likely to become the first 2011 release to break the $100 million mark.

6) The Rite (2,985 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $5.565 million

With a 62.4% decrease in weekend total and a drop from 1st to 6th place, The Rite is this weekend’s biggest loser. I expect this downward trend to continue with it barely hanging on to a spot in the top ten next weekend and falling off completely the following week.

7) The Mechanic (2,704 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $5.37 million

CBS Films needs to pick better horses to put in the Box Office race with their last several releases being pretty much flops. I have heard good word of mouth about The Mechanic, but not enough so to increase its performance in the weeks to come.

8) True Grit (2,902 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $4.75 million

This weekend brings True Grit up above $150 million cumulative gross, cementing its spot as the third highest grossing Best Picture nominee. It probably has the legs to hang on to at least one more week in the top ten.

9) The Dilemma (2,545 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $3.45 million

I’ll admit that I root for these types of comedies to fail sight unseen. Occasionally a decent one sneaks in and makes me have some optimism for the genre, but for the most part they are crass and painfully unfunny. I suspect this one is no different.

10) Black Swan (1,977 theatres)
ESTIMATE: $3.4 million

This film is just narrowly behind The Social Network‘s overall gross and should easily surpass it duing the work week, effectively knocking the critical favorite down to the second half of the Best Picture earners.

Next week look for Justin Bieber to battle it out with Adam Sandler for the top spot at the Box Office.

[Source for Estimates: Box Office Mojo]

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