Weekend Forecast

By Reagen Sulewski

Analysis for July 20-22, 2001

Welcome to what I hope is the first of many weekend forecasts here at BOP. I'm happy to finally be able to bring my wealth of box-office data in a useable form to the general public, and I'm excited at the power of this new creation. What's important to remember, though, is that this is just data until it's interpreted. With a database this large, it can be easy to get lost, and I won't always know what you're looking for, so let me know. I get my best ideas for research from you, so think of this space as an analyst-for-hire. With that, on to the weekend...

Jurassic Park III kicked off its release with $19 million on Wednesday, thus raising hopes for the weekend that many are counting on to "save" the summer. Whether they mean in terms of quality or box-office dollars is really up for debate. It's worth noting here that this total nearly matches the Friday total for The Lost World of $21.6 million.

Officially the second-highest Wednesday ever, this gives predictor types a little more to work with, but still doesn't clear things up totally. While the recent front-loaded nature of Final Fantasy doesn't completely apply to this film, it can't be entirely discarded, and forms a nice bottom line. If it were to follow that pattern, it would wind up with a $43 million weekend take and a $75 million five-day total. I'm predicting a more even keel take for this one, as JP3 markets to a much broader market than animation buffs and is unlikely to have exhausted its core demographic as quickly as that film, something I will call here the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" phenomenon. I am expecting a $57 million dollar weekend take and a $90 million five-day total. I believe that the word is reaching the target audience that this is more of a return to the roots of the first, much as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was perceived as a return to the roots of Raiders of the Lost Ark over the darkness of Temple of Doom.

America's Sweethearts should have an easy march into second place for the weekend. The marketing strategy for this seems cribbed from Paramount's Runaway Bride, which is to say reveal as much about the film as possible and flash Julia Roberts' smile as often as you can. While it's easy to become cynical about this, it's difficult to argue with success. Barring a major disaster, this will be John Cusack's biggest box-office success, passing ConAir's $24.1 million. Make no mistake, though; this one is all riding on Julia's back. I don't think this is much heavy lifting for her, since the ads take few chances akin to March's The Mexican. I look for a $37 million weekend total.

For last week's opening films, both the surprising Legally Blonde and The Score will battle for 3rd and 4th spots. I suspect that Legally Blonde has the slight edge to this, starting out with the advantage of returning champ. Final Fantasy should fall precipitously, although that should be stemmed slightly due to the fact that a good portion of the opening weekend's business was pulled out to the Wednesday opening.

The Forecast:

#1 Jurassic Park III -- $57.5M
#2 America's Sweethearts -- $37.2M
#3 Legally Blonde -- $14.3M
#4 The Score -- $12.7M
#5 Cats & Dogs -- $7.8M
#6 Final Fantasy -- $5.4M
#7 The Fast and the Furious -- $5.2M
#8 Dr. Dolittle 2 -- $4.5M
#9 Scary Movie 2 -- $4.9M
#10 A.I. Artificial Intelligence -- $2.7M

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