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Weekend Forecast for March 14-16, 2014

By David Mumpower

March 14, 2014

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The latest release is Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club, with a premise that sounds vaguely similar to a popular 1996 comedy titled The First Wives Club. That movie, starring Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn, was #1 for three straight weekends. The Single Moms Club does not have such lofty expectations. It does, however, possess a stellar cast. Also, the film is a true Tyler Perry project, which he wrote, directed and starred in, unlike Tyler Perry Presents Peeples.

Perry is unquestionably one of the hardest working people in the movie industry, and his audience has demonstrated a great deal of loyalty to him over the years. While I am not expecting a breakout performance here, $16.8 million would be a very strong debut for a title released in only 1,896 venues. And we look forward to having this same discussion again in a few months.

There is one other title of note this weekend, although it is probably not going to be a box office factor. The infamous Veronica Mars Kickstarter has finally produced a movie. Show creator Rob Thomas brokered a deal with Warner Bros. in partnership with its digital division wherein the studio promised to release the film theatrically if Thomas could persuade loyal fans to invest $2 million in the project. As a point of honor, I should note that I was one of the investors, so I do have a degree of bias towards this project. As a box office analyst, I think it is a fascinating story.




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For years now, BOP has chronicled the changing dynamics of movie exhibition. Veronica Mars instantly becomes the most heralded day and date release thus far. The catch is that none of the major exhibitors was interested in advancing the timetable of their inevitable extinction. Regal, the #1 chain in the world, flatly refused to show Veronica Mars. A deal was eventually brokered with AMC Theatres which allowed the distributor to rent out the venues. In exchange for paying the rental fees, Warner Bros. will claim all of the box office.

The catch is that most of the box office has already been paid in advance. Once of the Kickstarter reward levels included a free ticket to the movie. Moreover, another reward level included a digital copy of the film, which is great news for this particular Veronica Mars fan. Since I am in Regal’s backyard, I would have to drive four hours to see the film on opening weekend. Yes, I have done that before, but only for a Serenity advanced screening. So, I will be watching the movie on Vudu this weekend. Not only is it available to people who supported the kickstarter, but it is open for purchase tomorrow as well.

Projecting box office is a virtual impossibility with all the moving parts. What I can say for certain is that the Thursday advance screenings were more difficult to get than Springsteen tickets. Given how few there are, you should not read too much into that. Veronica Mars could realistically make no box office of note, or it could be a shocking performer. No matter what actually happens, it will be one of the most discussed sub-$5 million debuts of all time. Veronica Mars was recognized as one of our Top Film Industry Stories of 2013. The actual release phase of the film is every bit as engrossing.


Forecast: Weekend of March 14-16, 2014
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Need for Speed 3,115 New 27.0
2 300: Rise of an Empire 3,490 +20 23.0
3 Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3,951 +17 22.0
4 Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club 1,896 New 16.8
5 Non-Stop 3,182 +69 9.8
6 The LEGO Movie 3,040 -250 7.4
7 Son of God 2,990 -281 4.7
8 Frozen 1,466 -194 2.2
9 The Monuments Men 1,594 -407 1.9
10 Grand Budapest Hotel 66 +62 1.7

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