Weekend Predictions: 10-3-08

So, this is a big weekend for movies, with six debuting on, and one expanding to, 1000+ screens. That’s actually pretty unusual- there haven’t been seven movies on 1000+ screens since January 12, 2007.

The biggest release this weekend is Beverly Hills Chihuahua, showing on 3,215 screens. Rather than just use the two main actors and the director to calculate the estimate, I included the distributor and other recent movies in the talking animal genre. I think including the distributor is a good idea, as it adds a little nod to the effects of marketing and studio preference, like Disney’s tendency to make heavily marketed family-friendly movies. The calculations for Disney included Wall-E and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, both targeted at audiences similar to Chihuahua. Including other movies in the genre can lend a little insight into audience anticipation, in this case talking animal movies were trending up, ending with Alvin and the Chipmunks earning a huge $12,750.34 per screen on it’s opening weekend. So I added up the opening weekend totals for the director, two biggest actors (Jamie Lee Curtis and Drew Barrymore), distributor, and recent genre movies; divided by their total screens and came up with $7,566.50 per screen, for a total of $24,326,299.79. For some reason I think the movie will actually do better, but we’ll see how the numbers bear out.

That odd odor wafting your way is the stink of Oscar bait. Flash of Genius is dripping with it. It’s got the David and Goliath story, a star with an Oscar nomination on his resume, a cinematographer with a couple nominations, the kind of pedigree that usually nabs a nomination or two. Since this is the directorial debut for long-time producer Marc Abraham, I replaced him with the producing tandem of Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber. I included the distributor in the calculation but not any recent genre movies. It came out to $8,190.53 on 1098 screens- $8,993,199.76. I think that’s probably a little high, partly due to the competition and partly because that means it’ll have to outdraw Chihuahua if that number was close, which I don’t see happening.

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