FRIDAY FORECAST: January blues

Posted by · 5:20 pm · January 8th, 2010

Sam Worthington in Avatar*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

Barring a catastrophe, “Avatar” should spend a comfortable fourth weekend at the top and cross $400 million in the process. That would make 2009 the first year since 2004 to have two films cross that milestone. It would also make “Avatar” the second-fastest film to hit that mark, after “The Dark Knight.”

It took “Titanic” 36 days to reach $400 million and it only had $265.1 million at this point in its epic run. Still, there’s no way in hell “Avatar” can repeat the four month run at the top that James Cameron’s last film managed, or it’s $943.3 million final gross.

Competition, if you can call it that, comes from three new releases with the stench of January seeping off their posters and trailers. Lionsgate hops on the vampire gravy train with “Daybreakers” featuring a cast that should know better. “Hostel” and “Rambo” have done well for the studio in Januaries of the past but I don’t see much more than $14 million heading this way.

Amy Adams is doing her typecast image no favors by appearing in “Leap Year,” with Matthew Goode taking second billing. I follow movies for a living and I barely know who Matthew Goode is, so she shouldn’t expect much help from him in drawing the crowds.

A curious side note is that I think the goatee he sports on the poster might be the first facial hair allowed on a romantic male lead since the 1980s. Anyway, this is no “Bride Wars” and should max out at $12 million.

Finally, Michael Cera tries on his best Van Damme with “Youth in Revolt.” Believe it or not, this is really only Cera’s fifth film in a leading role and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” is his lowest earner with $31 million. His latest should easily replace that as I can’t see it opening with more than $6 million this weekend.

Drops all around should be steep as there are no more holidays to inflate the numbers and the January doldrums are set to kick in. “Sherlock Holmes” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks” still could have enough steam to finish in the top three but all eyes will be on “Avatar.” If it drops any less than 35%, then all bets are off, but if it’s more like 45%, then the Earth can start spinning normally again.

What do you guys think?

→ 13 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

13 responses so far

  • 1 1-08-2010 at 5:25 pm

    Joel said...

    “Avatar,” easy. The other films this week have no chance.

  • 2 1-08-2010 at 5:35 pm

    Charlie said...


    Next weekend is a holiday weekend (Martin Luther King weekend), so do you think that numbers will go back up next week?

  • 3 1-08-2010 at 6:00 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    I think the most noteworthy thing about this weekend is the fact that two of the opening films (currently) have a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Daybreakers has 65% from 85 reviews, and Youth in Revolt has 73% from 88 reviews. Usually you just kind of expect that anything coming out in January is shit, and I certainly didn’t hold out much hope for these (at least not Daybreakers), so that’s a welcome change from how it usually is.

  • 4 1-08-2010 at 6:34 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I don’t think Avatar will go back up on MLK week (at least not comparing the 3 day to the 3 day). It will have a soft drop though and only have to beat Book of Eli and Spy Next Door to be number one for a fifth week

  • 5 1-08-2010 at 11:02 pm

    A.J said...

    You and your adjusted numbers! Can’t you put the unadjusted in parentheses!? Pretty please!

  • 6 1-08-2010 at 11:51 pm

    Loyal said...

    “Still, there’s no way in hell “Avatar” can repeat the four month run at the top that James Cameron’s last film managed, or it’s $943.3 million final gross.”

    No, but no one thought it would do $600m either. Well, a few of us did :)

  • 7 1-09-2010 at 2:40 am

    Matthias said...

    I just wanted to add in response to #5 that I love the fact that you do this in adjusted numbers. Actually, all box-office reporting should be done like this, it puts things in perspective. All these records that are continually being broken start to lose their meaning really. Ticket prices, along with pretty much everything else, are in such immense inflation that even fairly recent numbers such as Titanic’s (12 years isn’t that long, historically) seem small compared to what they mean in today’s dollars. Gone With The Wind is still the most attended film of all time and that should be the yardstick by which success is measured.

    Still, one can’t help but be amazed at the business Avatar is doing. I for one wouldn’t have thought that a science-fiction film, especially one that’s not based on an established IP, would ever post such numbers again. We seem to be having a Star Wars here.

  • 8 1-09-2010 at 6:12 am

    m1 said...

    I feel sorry for Nine. It looked like such a good movie. But I guess a 60%-70% drop.

  • 9 1-09-2010 at 12:54 pm

    Andrew said...

    Sorry for Nine? No way. It was such a bad bad bad movie.

  • 10 1-09-2010 at 5:15 pm

    A.J said...

    I just wanted to add in response to #7 that adjusting numbers does NOT put things in perspective. There are just too many other sources to watch movies other than going to the theater. When Titanic was in theaters there weren’t even DVDs! Well kinda but not really commercially available. You just can’t compare, adjusted or unadjusted. I just want both to make my own educated decision.

  • 11 1-09-2010 at 6:27 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    I don’t see movies for a living; I watch them for entertainment. But even I know who Matthew Goode is. He’s been in at least three terrific movies: “Match Point,” “Brideshead Revisited,” and “A Single Man.”

  • 12 1-09-2010 at 6:39 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    A.J.- DVD’s may have not been around, but there are also 37 million more people living in the U.S. and thousands more screens available. No one is saying it’s gospel, but trust me, it all evens out so that adjusting gives the clearest perspective.

  • 13 1-09-2010 at 11:33 pm

    Will said... of tickets sold gives the best perspective over adjusted and non-adjusted figures.