Weekend Forecast for August 8-10, 2008
By David Mumpower
August 6, 2008
The other major opener is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2: The Pants Strike Back (or something like that). Upon release in June of 2005, the first title was an unheralded title that earned $13,575,149 over its first five days on the way to domestic revenue of just over $39 million. For a title with a $25 million production budget, it performed well enough and the title's ancillary revenue, particularly DVD sales, was solid. The reason for the greenlighting of the sequel, however, involves the reconfiguration of the celebrity status of each co-star.
At the time, Ambler Tamblyn had finished up her run as the star of Joan of Arcadia on CBS, giving her the most recognizable face of the group. A close second was Alexis Bledel, well known for her role as Rory Gilmore on my beloved Gilmore Girls as well being a treacherous hooker in the then-recently released hit, Sin City. Since then, Tamblyn's biggest role was The Grudge 2 (a $39.1 million performer while Bledel has been almost completely absent. So, the title should be in trouble, right? Its biggest two names are losing their celebrity.
You know where I'm going with this.
The shows are Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl. Unless you haven't had access to a television, entertainment magazine or the Internet over the past couple of years, you know what these shows are. Their lead actresses are America Ferrera and Blake Lively, respectively. Previously, they were the heavy set girl dealing with the ramifications of her father's impending marriage and the soccer playing tomboy who seduces her much older coach and convinces him to deflower her. So, they were an ugly duckling with daddy issues and a promiscuous teen. These roles should sound familiar to you by now. All that has happened since The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was released is that they have become two of the trendiest women on television. Ferrera has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her work on Ugly Betty while Lively has become fodder for Page Six and Us Weekly due to her real-life romance with Gossip Girls co-star Penn Badgley. There is perhaps no young actress in the industry with the popularity among teens that Lively has.
The presence of her as well as Ugly Betty on this project is the game changer here. Whereas the first project was comprised of lesser known actresses in a cute story for teen girls, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is a much bigger story now. The timing with Lively's ascension is enough to double its predecessor's opening weekend performance if not more. I think this title is going to make about $29 million over five days, making it a huge win for Warner Bros.
In terms of returning releases, there isn't much to say here. Swing Vote was as popular a candidate as Pat Buchanan (pre-Butterfly Ballot) . The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is showing signs of flaming out the same way that Hellboy II: The Golden Army did last month. I don't think it will fall over 70%, but I do think it's looking at a drop in the 63% range. That would mean a second weekend of right at $15 million. Overseas revenue is going to have to carry this one to respectability. North American audiences have made it clear that they wish this mummy had stayed buried (sorry).