a-millions-ways-to-die-la-4-24-14

The Disney brand is a powerful thing, and it looks to dominate the weekend with Maleficent. This is somewhat surprising since the film isn’t being all that well received, but it does star Angelina Jolie, and is based on popular fairy tale/animated film. Seth MacFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West is also opening, and is being panned hard. The post-Memorial day hangover is kicking in.

So far the summer event film season started shaky and got a little bit better, but has yet to produce a clear winner. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed, Godzilla cratered, and while X-Men: Days of Future Past opened well, it did less business in its opening weekend than one of the most reviled films in the franchise (The Last Stand). Basically – though all these pictures opened in the $90 Million range, they may not do much more than $200 Million domestic. Of these, only the X-Men movie has mostly positive word of mouth, but it also opened on a holiday weekend, so it’s likely to fall 60% come Sunday. This could be a transitionary summer where films that open to near or even over $100 Million can’t guarantee much more than $200 Million at the box office. Audiences come and don’t go back, and don’t care about it that much after that three day.

Maleficent should be a winner, it’s a woman-driven film that seems to follow Frozen in terms of doing a female empowerment rewrite of an old fairy tale, but it also reminds of Snow White and the Huntsman in that it looks like stylized garbage. It’s expected to open big, partly because it’s the first actual family film of this summer season. But it seems unlikely to have any staying power. Expect a sixty million-ish opening.

Seth MacFarlane needed to take a beating, and it’s no surprise it’s happening on this film. I say that not in the sense that I wish him violence, but his success suggests that he has to take a lump or two at some point soon — such is the nature of success. And by starring in his own movie, he’s put a target on his back (though it might help if the film was funnier). Are people panning this film partly because they find his Manatee-based comedy on Family Guy wearying, or because he had too much success with Ted, or because he hosted the Oscars with little previous on-camera experience? Those could be contributing factors, though that arguement is uninteresting. It’s also possible the movie’s just no good. But it may be able to eke out a profit for Universal, and MacFarlane’s fanbase might love the movie. But it’s no Neighbors and is likely to struggle to get to $100 Million (a likely unrealistic total). Ted 2? That could open near $100 Million. This? Not so much.

So let’s predict:

  1. Maleficent - $58.5 Million
  2. X-Men 7 - $37.9 Million
  3. A Million Ways to Die in the West - $28 Million
  4. Godzilla - $14 Million
  5. Neighbors – $9.5 Million

The MacFarlane film might surprise, and Maleficent could go higher. So there’s that, but tracking suggests around sixty for the Jolie picture, and around twenty five for West.

What are you going to watch this weekend?