Weekend Forecast

By David Mumpower

November 20, 2008

The bad news is that bubbles can burst.

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After consecutive weekends with $60+ million openings, a scorching November box office campaign should sustain momentum this week thanks to the release of two high profile titles. Disney's latest 3-D animated family film, Bolt, won BOP's heart many months ago with the release of its winning trailer featuring our favorite hamster-in-a-ball, Rhino. We expect the rest of North America to catch up with us on the point this weekend. Meanwhile, teen girls and cougars are swooning over the release of Twilight, the latest romantic take on a teen girl in love with the gothic darkness. BOP loves TV's Bolt, but man's best friend is no match for lovelorn vampires, we fear.

Last month, the staff at BOP had a group discussion regarding Twilight wherein we collectively threw our hands up in the air and said, "I have no idea." The column is available for your perusal here. I will also let the introduction for that column serve as the background data for Twilight rather than regurgitate it here. Frankly, if you didn't know what Twilight was already, you don't care what happens next. If you were already a fan, you don't need the back story anyway, just the box office evaluation. The gist of it is that our range was as broad as possible when we had this discussion just a month ago in mid-October. Some people believed a $20 million opening was in the cards while others went as high as mid-$50s. At this point, all of these predictions appear to be potentially low. Even the harshest critics of the project at the time have acknowledged that they had low-balled demand for this title, and the reason why is obvious.


As of yesterday, Fandango reports that Twilight is the #7 title of all-time in terms of pre-sales. The vampire flick surpassed The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to earn this lofty spot on the charts. Among the tidbits included in the press release are that 94% (!) of sales on Fandango.com this week are for Twilight. Before you claim this is due to it being the biggest release of the weekend, I would like to point out that Twilight was also outselling Quantum of Solace this past week. In case you have attention deficit disorder and have already forgotten, the latest James Bond flick opened to $67.5 million. So, when I point out that Twilight was outselling it by a two to one ratio last week, that makes the performance all the more impressive.

Also noteworthy is the fact that 84% of the respondents surveyed by Fandango indicated they will see Twilight multiple times in theaters. This speaks well for the title's ability to avoid a Cloverfield fate wherein it opens huge (in this case, $40 million) but also does half of its business on opening weekend. Assuming that this sample survey is indicative of broader behavior, Twilight should not be a one weekend wonder. This, however, is a topic for Reagen Sulewski's return next week. For now, what matters is how well the movie performs on opening weekend. Surprisingly, there is still quite a bit to consider despite the Fandango data point.

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