Weekend Forecast for February 5-7, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
February 4, 2010
This was some kind of week for Avatar. On Tuesday it finally passed Titanic as the top grossing film in the domestic market (having already broken the worldwide total last week) and earned nine Academy Award nominations. It's now also the first film to break the $2 billion mark, and the longest running film at the top of the box office since, well, Titanic and its 15 weeks at the top spot. The question for this weekend is whether those nominations will have an impact on the box office like most movies, or if there is anyone even left to impress. When Titanic was on its record run, nominations came out the weekend before Valentine's Day, which blurred things as far as the actual effect of nominations, so its 42% jump has to be considered an outlier for that situation.
Personally, I think very few people were waiting to find out if it was going to be nominated before making up their mind to see this film, and it's not as if it lacks for exposure. Still, there's bound to be some impact here, and it should take the weekend again with $28 million.
Edge of Darkness brought Mel Gibson back to the big screen for the first time in eight years (more or less) with a respectable $17 million opening weekend. I think it's clear a lot of people aren't willing to forgive Mel just yet for his past transgressions, but that's a solid figure for a revenge thriller and shows that he's still got some pull left. I doubt we're looking at the next Taken here, but around $10 million on the way to a $75 million total seems likely.
When in Rome managed $12 million off its terrible wacky romantic comedy premise and Kristen Bell's winning smile. That's about the only explanation I can really fathom or care to consider. Some pretty lousy films have had spectacular legs lately for no discernible reason (Couples Retreat, anyone?) so there's a chance this could be a bit of a sleeper, but this feels much more like a film that's going to disappear after a couple of weeks. Give it $6 million this weekend.
Oscar nominations bring out significant expansions for several of the honored films, notably An Education, Crazy Heart, Precious and A Single Man (and a relatively smaller one for Up in the Air). Of these, the first two seem most likely to benefit to a large degree, with Precious getting some help and A Single Man still sitting on the outside.
Watch for Crazy Heart to have a $5 million weekend and An Education to get $3 million, with Precious (which has largely run its course) and A Single Man to be in the $1-2 million range.