FINAL WEEKEND TRACKING: 'Harold & Kumar' Will Likely Get 'Higher' Than 'Baby Mama'; 'Iron Man' Could Grab $100M Next Weekend!
by Steve Mason
As of Monday night, I projected that Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo (Warner Bros.) would win this final pre-Iron Man (Paramount) weekend, and I'm standing by that, although I don't expect any new film or holdover to top $15 million.
Industry tracking suggests that the Harold & Kumar "legend" has grown exponentially since their first adventure in 2004, which delivered a modest $18.25 million. I'm told that this stoner comedy has a Total Aware above 70 percent and more than 60 percent of Males Under 25 have Definite Interest. One reason this call is tough is that the picture sports an R rating, but with over 30 percent of Males Under 25 calling it their First Choice, I'm going out on a limb and forecasting a win.
Kal Penn and John Cho have become the latter day Cheech and Chong thanks to DVD, cable and midnight movies. In the first H&K adventure, a convoluted trip to White Castle, they gave us gems like this:
Harold: I want 30 sliders, five french fries and four large Cherry Cokes.
Kumar: I want the same, except make mine Diet Cokes.
Young males are predictable. When they say that they're interested, they tend to show up on opening weekend. I say Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo will deliver $14.5 million on opening weekend, and that should translate to about $30 million domestic by the time it finishes its domestic run.
The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Baby Mama (Universal) has a more friendly PG-13 rating, and it could certainly win the weekend based on Total Awareness exceeding 70 percent. Its strongest demo in tracking, however, is Females Under 25, not nearly as reliable, especially when young males tend to make the decision on "date night."
There are two other factors working against Baby Mama. First, Harold & Kumar is the second choice of Females Under 25 with a score in the double digits. Also, the Universal holdover Forgetting Sarah Marshall will hold strong, based on word-of-mouth, and it will, to some degree, cannibalize the audience for their new release. I am predicting that Universal will grab the No. 2 and No. 3 positions in the Top 5 with, Baby Mama on top at $12 million. Ultimately, the Fey/Poehler vehicle will finish its domestic run with $26 million.
The other wide release is the barely-screened-for-critics Deception, which is being dumped by Fox, despite a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams. This picture is DOA and will be lucky to reach $4 million on opening weekend. Ultimately, it will be tough for this bomb to reach even $10 million domestic.
Last bit of tracking info for this week. On Tuesday, I wrote that for next week's Iron Man, "$60 million-plus is all but guaranteed." According to the latest tracking and conversations with several studio sources today (Thursday), I'm revising Iron Man to $100 million in the period starting Thursday (May 1) at 8 p.m. and ending Sunday night (May 4). In fact, Paramount's company line seems to be that "anything that starts with a 7 would be great."
If Iron Man's own studio is talking about $70 million, it's safe to call for something bigger, and $100 million seems like a good bet. Also, given the advantage that Spider-Man 3 received for being the first blockbuster of the summer, I think the Robert Downey Jr. Marvel superhero epic could finish its domestic run with $275 million.
FINAL PREDICTIONS FOR APRIL 25-27
1. Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo (Warner Bros.) — $14.5 million
2. Baby Mama (Universal) — $12 million
3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal) — $11.2 million
4. Forbidden Kingdom (Lionsgate) — $10.7 million
5. Prom Night (Sony) — $4.4 million
6. Deception (20th Century Fox) — $3.5 million
7. Nim's Island (20th Century Fox) — $3.4 million
8. 88 Minutes (Sony) — $3 million
9. 21 (Sony) — $2.75 million
10. Horton Hears a Who (20th Century Fox) — $2.1 million