This weekend is about two things: Seth Rogen‘s and Zac Efron‘s appeal and the staying power of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. What might have been seen as a happy collision of two things sold to different audiences may turn into something of a fight.
No one would have thought a couple months ago that Neighbors would challenge The Amazing Spider-Man‘s dominance at the top of the box office, it was thought to be a repeat of 2011, when Bridesmaids went up against Thor. Bridesmaids wasn’t supposed to put up much of a fight, while Spidey seemed stronger than Thor – as it was blindsided by Fast Five, which opened the week before. Thor ended up outperforming Bridesmaids, but only just – the difference in gross was twelve million domestic, though Thor made almost $450 Million worldwide compared to Bridesmaids‘ $288 Million. Then again, the latter cost $32.5 Million to make while Thor cost a whole lot more. But it wasn’t really a competition, and Bridesmaids supposedly skewed more to female audiences.
But this weekend the two films may be going after the same audiences. Spider-Man may appeal to woman as much as men, but the pluses for both films to the four-quadrants are just as arguable. One has Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and big budget action, the other has Rogen, Efron, Rose Byrne, and the promise of huge laughs. Seth Rogen is also coming off of This is the End, which did over a hundred million theatrically, and has played well since. Rogen has also taken his lumps at this point: He doesn’t come off as cocky or annoying, and doesn’t feel overexposed. He also knows what works, and has sworn off doing movies like The Green Hornet and The Guilt Trip. He knows his wheelhouse.
But the film’s secret weapon might be the appeal of Efron doing something that is both in his comfort zone, but also shows him evolving. Those who grew to love him in stuff like High School Musical and Charlie St. Cloud might want to see him with a slightly rougher edge, while he’s in that place where Justin Timberlake was a couple years ago where dudes who would seemingly dismiss him came around and realized he could be the goods. Where Seth Rogen might guarantee a $20-$30 Million opening, Efron and a lack of interest in Spider-Man could push that to a $40 Million plus opening. Heck, $50 Million isn’t out of the question.
On top of which — though Sony hasn’t let the flop sweat show (yet) — The Amazing Spider-Man was not received with great enthusiasm. Though the film has its fans — of course it does — there’s not an overwhelming feeling of love for the title, which means that on top of a standard huge drop — and to be fair Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opened bigger and got better reviews and cinemascore, fell over 56% — has real competition. Which means it would be down right Herculean for the film to do over $40 Million this weekend. It would be unprecedented, considering that 60% means a $37 Million dollar weekend.
If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ends the weekend around $150 Million, that would put it in parallel to either X2 or Thor: The Dark World, which would mean an end total of somewhere between $200 – $220 Million, which would make it the lowest grossing Spider-Man film domestically. Even if compared to something like Star Trek Into Darkness (which opened to less) it wouldn’t have the Memorial Day bounce in its second weekend, and that made it to $228 domestic. Considering The Amazing Spider-Man made $262 domestic, it looks impossible for this film to top that. It would then have to have a super-huge international number to be profitable or to make more money than the last film. Spider-Man 2 is likely to be over a half a billion dollars by weekend’s end, but if there’s no new territories to open in, this could be the last big weekend for the film, which suggests a worldwide cume of less than $750 Million. It would make it the lowest grossing Spider-Man film domestically and worldwide.
Let’s look at my predictions:
- Neighbors - $41.5 Million
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - $35 Million
And then next weekend brings Godzilla, leaving Spider-Man old news. It’s not looking pretty for the web slinger. Even if Neighbors only gets to $30 Million, it will look like a still strong opening (and the film could play longer, and should get over $100 Million and possibly end up in the $120-$150 range), while unless Spider-Man makes it over $40 Million and shows a stronger hold than history and the film’s reception would suggest, then there’s no way it will make more than its predecessors.
What are you going to watch this weekend?