Weekend Predictions: 05-01-09

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is going to kickoff a string of big weekends at the movies. Until the middle of June there will be one movie a week that’s going to be aiming for $50+ million. But this May 1st weekend will be one of the most interesting.

When the all but finished print of Wolverine was leaked at the beginning of the month, it set the stage for us to get a real test of how much piracy impacts ticket sales. Despite all the bitching and moaning by Hollywood and the FBI and X-Men fanboys, research is showing that interest in the movie is actually increasing after the calamitous leak. Isn’t there some old saying about there not being any such thing as bad press? For some reason, people have heard so much of all this Wolverine ballyhoo that it’s actually piqued their interest. I think it’ll pique interests to the tune of $88,816,837.

I’ve never really bought into the argument that each person that acquires a pirated copy of a movie equates to a lost sale. Most people will gladly take something for free they would otherwise forgo if money were involved. In the case of movies, there may be a few people who would skip a planned visit to the theater, but watching an eye candy spectacular isn’t the same thing on a laptop, or even most TVs, as it is seeing it in the theater. You go there for the experience, not just because it’s a way to see a movie. It won’t get a lot of press, but if Wolverine banks the same amount of cash the studio has always been hoping, it’ll certainly add a little validity to that thought.

As counter programming this weekend, we also get Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. A romantic comedy should haul in the ladies, and possibly their respective dudes or even just some dudes on their own, who aren’t really into the whole people with superpowers thing (to be more PC, should they be referred to as differently powered?). Matthew McConaughey always seems to do good in these craptastic romcoms and Ghosts will only really be competing with the week-old Obsessed, which in movie years is older than a dusty dinosaur fart. Ghosts could make around $19,948,630 this weekend.

And then there’s Battle for Terra. The question is, who is this Terra chick and why are folks battling over her? Well okay, the REAL question is if this movie can fare any better than Delgo. You might scoff and say no other movie could do that bad, but the parallels are there: both are independently produced computer animation scifi extravaganzas featuring a second-rate cast (Brian Cox notwithstanding) and won awards before their release. The difference might be in the distributor, as Lionsgate (Terra) puts out some decent movies, while Freestyle Releasing (Delgo) puts out a lot of crap. Terra will be lucky to make $2,801,632, but that still crushes Delgo.

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