Nikki Finke claims Warner Bros. and rival studios were originally hoping for a weekend opening in the high $60 million range, possibly $70 million. Now, she says, most studio experts are thinking the film’s three-day total will be $55 million.
Meanwhile, Slashfilm and Rope of Silicon think the film’s Friday total puts Watchmen on track to score a weekend opening in the low $60 million range; EW still thinks it will finish will a total in the high $60s. But, as EW noted, there are a lot of films that made more than $25.1 million on their opening days (31 to be precise), including 300 ($28 million).
Interesting sidenote: look at the rest of Friday’s top 5: Taken was #3 and He’s Just Not That Into You was #5. We told you Taken would do well this weekend and that chick flicks would see a boost. Should be interesting to see what happens tonight and tomorrow.
EARLIER: Ardent fanboys who’ve been waiting as long as 20 years for the big-screen version of the classic graphic novel should make Watchmen the No. 1 movie at the box-office this weekend. The Warner Bros. film will also be helped by a lack of competition (there’s no other major release this weekend) and the fact that it’s showing in 3,161 theatres, a record for an R-rated film, including 124 Imax locations, which offer the added box-office benefit of expensive tickets.
Both Entertainment Weekly‘s Joshua Rich and Nikki Finke think Watchmen will make roughly $70 million by Sunday (EW puts the total at $75 million). 1,595 midnight shows, including every Imax screening, all of which were sold out, already pulled in $4.6 million. As of Friday morning, the movie was also dominating Fandango and MovieTickets.com’s early ticket sales, accounting for more than 90% of each site’s advance sales.
This is all to be expected; the real test of whether the film is a success will be how well it does over subsequent weekends, once the fanboys have seen it. Will it be able to appeal to general audiences? We’ll see.
After all, a $70 million opening is nice, but with the pic’s $125 million budget, it’s still got at least $180 million to go at the domestic box office before Warner Bros. and its co-financier Legendary Pictures break even. Even 300, Zack Snyder’s last film and the biggest March opener of all time with $70.9 million its first weekend, couldn’t do that.
Only Entertainment Weekly bothered to speculate about how the other films out there would fare (go see them, Ben Affleck has two kids to feed). The rest of EW‘s predicted top 5 is as follows:
2. Slumdog Millionaire—$10 million
3. Madea Goes To Jail—$9 million
4. Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience—$8 million
5. Taken—$7 million
While we agree with most of these estimates, particularly that the PG-13 Taken will get the teenage boys who shouldn’t be let into the R-rated Watchmen, we have a feeling that the many female-friendly films still in the marketplace will see a boost this weekend. After all, women go to the movies too, and Watchmen isn’t tracking very well with the ladies.
So, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Jonas Brothers movie places a bit higher (perhaps people were waiting until theatres were less crowded, anticipating a crush last weekend) or if He’s Just Not That Into You, Confessions of a Shopaholic or Coraline manage to sneak into the top 5. Coraline, incidentally, would have a better shot if the Jonas Brothers hadn’t taken all of its 3D theatres, but what’s done is done.
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