300 opened the door, and Alice in Wonderland showed the way; March has now become one of the biggest months in cinema. It’s where studios can put their titles that could be huge movies, but aren’t as battle tested as the latest superhero or sequel. And though March had some misfires this year, The Hunger Games is all but guaranteed to open to over $100 Million this weekend.
The Hunger Games was a weird sort of phenomenon, one that seems half-fabricated, and half-real. This may be inside baseball, but last year when casting was being announced, I would talk to the editors of the site, and try and get a pulse on the news. Do people really care that Josh Hutcherson is Peeta Gallek? But the books are best sellers now, and the sell-out crowds for the midnight showings are real enough. There’s already been $15 Million made in pre-sales.
But in comparison it felt like the ground was moving for Twilight when the first film opened, even though it was under-estimated when it hit. Perhaps there’s some backwards ‘we were wrong about Twilight” butt-protecting going on here, but that’s doubtful. The big thing about The Hunger Games is that if it opens as big as they are predicting – and it’s been tracking like a monster – it’s getting good enough reviews (currently at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes) that people who didn’t go first week may want to check it out. Franchise pictures normally fall off anywhere from 50-70% in second weekends, but this might offer people a chance to get in on the ground floor, and keep that drop from being so high.
The question is if it has a limiting aspect. Perhaps the young adult nature of the source material might keep some adults away. But we’re now at the point where the children of the baby boomer generation are in their forties, and that generation still keeps an eye on pop culture, and still turn out for comic book movies. Perhaps they take their children with them. It’s hard to know if seniors will go, but then a film like The Artist seems targeted at older generations and still hasn’t cracked $50 Million.
The ceiling for an opening weekend seems to be $150 Million, though The Hollywood Reported stoked the fires by suggesting it could open above Lionsgate/Summit’s highest opening ever, which is $138 Million. It’s going to be a monster of some sort for sure.
So let’s predict:
- The Hunger Games – $145 Million
- 21 Jump Street – $22.5 Million
- The Lorax – $14 Million
- John Carter – $8 Million
- Project X – $2.5 Million
21 Jump Street should hold strong with it’s really strong word of mouth, though The Hunger Games could act like a vacuum. The bottom on The Hunger Games seems to be around $120 Million, and I’m going high because that’s more fun.
What are you going to see this weekend?