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Weekend Forecast for February 20-22, 2015

By Reagen Sulewski

February 20, 2015

I think it's time to find a new hot tub.

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The high school comedy is a genre that's fallen by the wayside in recent generations, thanks in part to overexposure, and also to the challenge of finding bankable teen stars. Films have to be hits right away these days and can't find their audience organically, so without plausible lead actors, there's no one taking risks on a small demographic. Occasionally we'll get an Easy A, but there's no yearly Can't Hardly Wait, Breakfast Club, or, if you must, She's All That. Landing in theaters this weekend is The Duff, a film that's playing its formulaic cards right out on the table.

Mae Whitman (27! See what I mean?) plays the title character, which stands for “designated ugly fat friend”, a term that's supposed to be endearing, but which she somehow takes offense to after being notified of her position in the social strata of her high school. Go figure. From then on, it's off to the races to make her over and turn her into the desirable female all Rachael Leigh Cook style (I mean, get those overalls off her! OMG!). It's hard to tell if this film is playing this all straight or somehow being subversive, but I tend to lean towards the idea that it's playing it straight. With very little promotion, a cast that doesn't inspire much confidence and being in a genre that barely exists anymore, I expect The Duff to fall flat with around $5 million this weekend.

Last weekend's phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey, opened to $85 million over three days, which is both somehow impressive and disappointing. Impressive in that this is a big number for just about any film, disappointing in that if you're going to be a cultural landmark, you'd better shoot for the moon. So while as a notorious project, it certain got legions of fans out to see it, you really sort of expected more, and I'm not just talking about the sex scenes. And now the bad part – because it's so terrible, and because that passion and curiosity from its fanbase was so intense, it's going to make the Twilight films look like Avatar. The biggest question in my mind is whether this will be enough to affect decision making on sequels. I expect not, as the trilogy of books is easy enough to adapt, and even at half the box office is basically found money. Still, I wouldn't put it past Jamie Dornan to be phoning in bomb threats if it'll help stop them from happening. I'd look for about $34 million this weekend.




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Kingsman was a bit of a surprise in second place last weekend with $36 million, with the R-rated but young adult-pitched action film scoring well across a lot of markets. Not quite as successful as another Mark Millar adapted film, Wanted, but certainly much better in quality (I mean, it'd have to be), it's got some franchise potential and also has the benefit of not being repellant like another Millar property, Kick-Ass. I'd still look for it to drop to around $20 million this weekend.

The SpongeBob Movie had a solid second weekend with $31 million and crossed the $100 million mark Monday thanks to a spectacular President's Day where it actually finished first. That quirk of the calendar won't come up again, but at this point, we're looking at this being a $150 million or more earner. I'd give it $15 million this weekend.

Heading into Oscar weekend, it's only American Sniper that's really earning significant dollars of the nominees (some could still expand after, like Still Alice). Having raced out to $300 million, it's almost assuredly going to be the top earning film with a 2014 release date, although it's earned just about every dollar of that in 2015. Look for $10 million here.


Forecast: Weekend of February 20-22, 2015
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Fifty Shades of Grey 3,654 +8 34.7
2 Kingsman: The Secret Service 3,266 +62 20.0
3 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 3,680 +26 15.4
4 American Sniper 3,235 -201 10.3
5 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 2,880 New 9.5
6 McFarland, USA 2,755 New 7.7
7 The Duff 2,575 New 5.4
8 Jupiter Ascending 2,503 -678 4.7
9 Paddington 1,837 -407 3.0
10 The Imitation Game 1,408 -143 2.5

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