Box Office Predictions: 30 May 2008

One of the celebrity gossip blogs I read on a regular basis is MSNBC’s The Scoop. One of the features I enjoy is Ms. Hazlett’s predictions every week about which movie will take the No. 1 slot at the box office for the weekend. She’s usually pretty on cue with her predictions, but I thought I’d throw my own hat into the ring this week. And I’m going to go a couple of steps further and try for the top three box office returns.

Her pick this week is the feature-length incarnation of Sex & The City. This is the obvious pick. It’s certainly had plenty of publicity, and fans have been waiting for some time to see Carrie & Co. on the big screen. But I’m not sure that’s enough to get it the No. 1 slot.

Here’s what’s working against it: (1) It’s Rated R. There goes the subsection of the market that’s just gotten out of school. (2) Most men are going to want to avoid this movie like the plague. (3) In addition to losing the pre-17 crowd, I’m not sure most 18- to 25-year-olds are going to be all that interested either. I was 16 years old when Sex and the City hit the small screen, and I’ve only seen one episode. A quick, entirely non-scientific of my friends reveals similar non-fanaticism for the series. I’m not against seeing it by any means, but I wasn’t clamoring for a midnight showing either.

So that leaves a viable market of women 30 to, say, 45 years old. (I’m banking that most women over 45 won’t be all that interested in it either based on the extensive research of my mother’s viewing habits.) I think it’ll hit it out of the ball park in that small demographic for sure, but the rest of us moviegoers? The question is what movie everyone who saw Indy 4 last weekend will want to go see this weekend. And I’m just not feeling that’s going to be Sex & the City.

So that leaves the only other wide release, The Strangers, and everything else that’s already been playing. I don’t think I have to worry about The Strangers taking the No. 1 slot. Despite a 78 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I don’t think Indy’s got enough staying power to grab a second week at No. 1. Word of mouth hasn’t been spectacular, and I don’t think most people who have seen it will want to see a second time in theatres. So I’m forecasting a fall to No. 3. I do think Sex & The City will grab No. 2.

So that leaves me with my pick for No. 1 as Prince Caspian. This got a more enthusiastic response in my non-scientific poll, with the most common response being, “Oh yeah, I want to see that!”

With many schools having let out for the summer this past week, I think we’ll see Prince Caspian do better business than last week. It’s a good four-quadrant picture (meaning it appeals to all major demographics), and it’s the only truly kid-friendly movie showing in wide release currently.

I’ll admit that this is certainly a pet pick because I’ve fallen in love with the movie. I was distracted by its similarities to LOTR: The Two Towers on my first trip (as well as the woman next to me who felt the need to either “hmmmmm…” or “eeeh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh…” every time a new character or plot point was introduced, as if she were in on some sort of inside joke with the filmmakers), but upon reflection, I felt compelled to see it again. And I did. And I fell for it. And if I’m being honest, it doesn’t hurt that Ben Barnes is certainly easy on the eyes as Prince Caspian.

So there you have it. I’m going out on a limb, I realize, but my analysis makes sense to me. So, if you’re looking to see a movie this weekend, do me a favor and go see Prince Caspian, all right?

Box Office Prediction Summary
1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
2. Sex & the City
3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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