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July 6-8 Box Office Preview

 With Transformers showing strong strength in its Monday night to Thursday numbers, the weekend is expected to be equally impressive.

In fact, what at first seemed like a strong, but certainly not unexpected, weekend tally of $60-70 million is being upped to more than $80 million at some sites.

What I hope will become a weekly feature, I’ll be briefly discussing the new films, and also give my predictions for the Friday to Sunday box office takes of the expected Top 10 films.

First up is of course Transformers. Despite mixed reaction by the nations critics (currently sitting at 57% at Rotten Tomatoes and 61% at Meta Critic), the film opened on Monday night and went on to do impressive box office. It pulled in $8.8 million from the 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. showings on Monday night. The film continued to impress, breaking the Tuesday record with $27.85 million, increasing on Wednesday to $29.07 million and dropping mildly on Thursday to $19.18 million. Through three days (plus the Monday night showings) its domestic total stands at $84.90 million.

Also worth noting is that word of mouth continues to be strong, with the movie rating much better among the general public than the critical press. A couple examples include IMDB, where with 21,048 votes, it ranks as the 224th best reviewed film with an 8.3/10. Yahoo! Movies visitors are equally impressed with the film, giving it an A- from 21,229 votes.

Given the films strong tracking throughout the week, I’m predicting a Friday to Sunday gross of $77.1 million. Definitely on the upper end of the scale, but certainly more than a possibility and I would not be surprised if it hits and passes the $80 million mark.

The kicker though is that even an opening in the $60-65 million range would be considered great.

This weekends only other new release is the Warner Bros.’ romantic comedy License to Wed. The laugher, starring Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski, opened on Tuesday in 2,401 theaters and shouldn’t make any dent in the box office, as it has grossed a weak $7.42 million through those first three days of release. As it expands to 2,604 theaters for its weekend, expect the picture to take in another $8-10 million. I’ve settled at a final prediction of $9.3 million. That would place it fourth on the weekend.

Moving to the other expected top 10 films, we move to last week’s number 1, Ratatouille. With reaction from fans and critics aligned (i.e. this is an excellent film) the latest Disney/Pixar collaboration performed very well during the week, with strong holds day-to-day. Because of that, I see a mild weekly dip, somewhere in the neighborhood of 35-40% (an impressive feat this summer given the large weekly drops experienced by other summer fare). I’m going to go a little on the lower end of that scale and predict a weekend drop of about 38%, or $29.5 million. I wouldn’t be surprised though if it creeps up over the $30 million mark.

Like Ratatouille, Fox’s Live Free or Die Hard has performed solidly day-to-day, but since both films appeal to different audiences, I don’t think it’ll hold up as well as the animated comedy and it’ll be hurt more by Transformers than Ratatouille will. I’m looking at a drop of 45-50%. So I’m going to predict a weekend take of $17.8 million, or a 47% drop.

My predictions for the rest of the top 10 follow below (as well as for the four movies mentioned above).

(Place) (Movie) (Theaters) (Weekend Gross Estimate)

1. Transformers — 4,011 — $77.1 million
2. Ratatouille — 3,940 — $29.5 million
3. Live Free or Die Hard — 3,411 — $17.8 million
4. License to Wed — 2,604 — $9.3 million
5. Evan Almighty — 3,466 — $8.7 million
6. 1408 — 2,631 — $6.0 million
7. Sicko — 702 — $4.5 million
8. Knocked Up — 2,211 — $4.4 million
9. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer — 2,618 — $3.9 million
10. Ocean’s Thirteen — 2,102 — $3.0 million

Note: These are just predictions. They could be accurate, they could be way off. I just thought it would be fun to play the guessing game.

Source: Box office stats for “Tranformers” courtesy Box Office Mojo