Friday, June 7, 2013

The Projector: Wide Open Edition UPDATE

Sunday UPDATE: Solid timing for the debut of the "Momentum Meter" I'd say. The Purge surged to snare the top spot with a smashing $36.3M debut — surreal given the dystopian home invasion flick's $3M budget. But that's precisely what the power of an interesting concept plus insane social media buzz nets you, an opening that bettered one of the world's biggest box office draws most recent projects, Will Smith's After Earth ($27.5M), and came damn close to another's, Tom Cruise's Oblivion ($37M). Speaking of draws, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are starting to slide into the "has been" category with the flat opening of The Internship, a movie that even Google's godlike influence couldn't push past the $20M mark. Between the two Wedding Crashers, neither has opened a film north of the $20M mark since '09, when Vaughn's Couples Retreat hit $34M. None of this will matter next weekend, when the Man of Steel soars back to the big screen with an opening frame I'm pegging at $120M, though the "Momentum Meter" is ascending — rapidly.

1. The Purge $36.3M
2. Fast & Furious 6 $19.7M
3. Now You See Me $19.5M
4. The Internship $18.1M
5. Epic $12.1M
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As we've arrived at arguably the most wide-open (or if you prefer: widest-open) weekend of the year, I've decided to adjust the Projector a bit, with the additions of directional arrows (as opposed to non-directional ones), indicating my take on a new release's momentum headed into its debut frame. This weekend we have The Purge surging and The Internship flat, though my valuation of the irresistibly likable Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson reunion is more bullish than the any of the so-called "industry insiders". All that said, this is truly one of those "shot in the dark" kinda weekends.
  1. The Purge $30M (↑) – The home invasion horror/thriller's been trending on Twitter for days as boffo buzz builds and builds. An opening in the low $30M's range (possibly even higher) is within reach for Ethan Hawke's second horror outing in the past eight months (Sinister), though its theater count is 2,500, rather than 3,000+.
  2. The Internship $25M (↔) – Using the last successful non-sequel comedy, Identity Thief, as a guide, the Google-glorifying, Wedding Crashers reunion should be opening in the $40M range, but based on the less-than-stellar track record for Vaughn of late (The Watch, The Dilemma), expectations are tempered. Wouldn't be shocked to see it push $30M, or for that matter, finish near $20M. Thus my middle-ground estimate.
  3. Now You See Me $16.5M – Yes, I have the magician caper making more in its second weekend than I projected to bank in its first. 2013's most shockingly successful film thus far, just ahead of the aforementioned Identity Thief.
  4. Fast & Furious 6 $15M – Just hit the $500M mark worldwide — fastest film to do that in Universal's history.
  5. Epic $9.5M – Shaping up to be a big disappointment for 20th Century Fox with just $71M stateside in its first two weeks of release. For comparison, The Croods raked $104M in its first 14 days.
Also: Before Midnight – The second, slightly more critically acclaimed film featuring Hawke expands to 50 locations including: Boston Common, Kendall Square and Coolidge Corner. Tied with Sound City as my favorite film of the year.