Weekend Predictions: 12-19-08

tale-of-despereaux-bookWell it’s finally the big, huge pre-Christmas weekend. It’s also the weekend where they shoehorn in the movies that couldn’t hang with the big boys in November but are too big to dump in January.

Snatch up a copy of my spreadsheet before they’re all gone.

The biggest release this weekend is Yes Man, in 3,434 theaters. It looks to be Jim Carrey’s return to inane comedy. He hasn’t gotten to run around flapping his arms and making faces much since Bruce Almighty. You could argue that Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events were big successes for Carrey, but seeing as how there’s someone else’s name in titles, it might not have really mattered who was in his role. When Carrey has been the sole big name in a movie where he gets to run around and act like an eight-year old, the results have always been good. That bodes well for Yes Man. My calculated prediction came out to $37,906,043, which, unless I’m totally crazy, is pretty high. Based on the per screen average for Carrey’s last four movies, the total for Yes Man would be $18,959,011. I averaged those two together to get a prediction of $28,432,528. That sounds a little more reasonable.

In 3,104 theaters, The Tale of Despereaux is the second biggest new release this weekend. Based on the Newberry Award-winning book about a mouse that is different-from-everyone-else-and-gets-ridiculed-but-is-really-a-hero-in-waiting probably would pull in some decent money if it had a bigger marketing campaign. But it didn’t, so it’ll have to wait for the DVD until it makes any money. The total calculated out to $30,929,392- way too high. It was due that pesky Emma Watson. She’s only been in Harry Potter movies, so her per screen average was $23,076 while all the rest are between $5,000 and $9,000. So what I did, I multiplied the total by the percentage of the total box office in the formula of Watson ($30,929,392 * ($361,839,230/$758,697,111)) and subtracted that from the total. That gave me a total of $16,176,739. Probably too high, but I’ll let it ride.

It could turn out that Will Smith’s Seven Pounds could be the number one movie this weekend. The smallest opening he’s had since 2001 was $26.5 million with The Pursuit of Happyness. That movie is a decent analog for Seven Pounds since they’re both mildly hyped dramas. It could end up squeaking by Yes Man.

It should be a fairly low-key weekend leading into the five-day holiday featuring five new movies in 2,400+ theaters.

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