Weekend Predictions: 10-24-08

So, this weekend looks to be a two horse race between High School Musical 3: Senior Year and Saw V. The other wide release is Pride & Glory, which looks a lot like We Own the Night Part 2. It’s inability to stand out from the crowd is not going to lead to squat at the box office. I would expect Max Payne, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, W., and The Secret Life of Bees to fall in line behind the big two.

After the success of High School Musical, I wonder how the decision was made to forgo a theatrical release for High School Musical 2. Maybe because the production costs were so small, Disney could still make a hefty profit off commercials and the DVD release, but that sounds like a pretty conservative strategy for Disney. I would have thought they’d ramp up the marketing and get kids whipped into an OCD-ADHD frenzy so parents had to take them to see it just so the kids stop obsessively talking about High School Musical. That’s what Disney did with Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour- which pulled in $31 million on it’s opening weekend. It looks pretty small, but it was only released on 683 screens. That’s a mind-numbing $45,561 per screen- biggest opening weekend average ever for a wide release. The Dark Knight is a distant second at $36,283.

Check out the spreadsheet with my calculations to get all the details.

Well, it looks like Disney is trying to rectify the High School Musical 2 release with HSM3, but I don’t think they’ve ramped up the hype as much as they could. I don’t watch a lot of children’s programming, but I heard all about HSM2. I haven’t heard jack about HSM3. Maybe I’ve just gotten lucky to miss the ads, but it feels like they just haven’t been pushing it as hard (that’s what she said). My original calculation for HSM3 came to $27,698,264.96, but that’s sounds extremely low. There are all kinds of people involved with this movie who don’t have much theatrical history, so I went ahead and subtracted out $1,000,000 for each movie missing from the formula, seven in all, and then I doubled the result, for a total of $41,396,529.91. I don’t have a good scientific reason for doubling the total, but it sounds a lot closer to reality. Regardless of how much it makes, when the topic of Disney on October 24th comes up it will give people something to talk about besides Walt Disney testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Calculating Saw V was a little different. This is the first movie I’ve tried to predict that is part of a solid franchise, so I could easily compare my result with the other Saw movies to see if it’s in line. The 24th is also about the best release date for this movie. They could have released it on Halloween, but they would have lost some potential viewers who were either trick-or-treating or partying. Since we’re now five movies into the franchise, my formula had Saw movies peppered throughout since so many people keep coming back to work on the sequels. David Hackl, the director, served as the production designer on the previous three Saws and is making his directorial debut. Because of that, I deducted $4 million from the calculated total. Since this is part of a franchise, I added in the mean deviation (thanks statistics class!) of the opening weekends for the previous movies, for a final total of $24,238,016.45. I think that’s pretty well in line with the rest of the totals as the series begins it’s decline with this movie.

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