FINAL TRACKING FOR 5-DAY INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND: 'Hancock' Targets $100M-$110M; 'WALL-E' Headed for $58M-$63M; 'Wanted' Should Reach $40M-$45M!
by Steve Mason
Hollywood is gearing for what is certain to be a spectacular five-day 4th of July holiday moviegoing period with two strong holdovers and a brand new PG-13-rated superhero picture starring the world's biggest box office draw.
Early reviews for Hancock (Sony), featuring mega-star Will Smith, are coming in very negative, with just a 31 percent Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Sunday night, but it hardly matters. This Peter Berg-directed superhero flick for the TMZ/Perez Hilton generation is scoring big in industry tracking, and, although I am lowering my box-office prediction for the movie, the downgrade has more to do with positive word-of-mouth for WALL-E (Disney) and Wanted (Universal) than with the spotty early reaction from critics.
Hancock will, without question, be the 12th $100 million movie of Smith's career (including the animated Shark's Tale). That will move him back into a fourth-place tie with Harrison Ford, whose Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (Paramount) is still playing strongly in theaters and will likely crack the $300 million mark sometime on Monday.
MOST $100 MILLION HITS IN A CAREER (Including animated films and excluding cameos)
1. Tom Hanks — 15
2. Tom Cruise — 14
3. Eddie Murphy — 13
4. Will Smith — 12 (Includes Hancock)
4. Harrison Ford — 12
6. Jim Carrey — 11
6. Robin Williams — 11
8. Mel Gibson — 10
9. Matt Damon — 9
10. Bruce Willis — 8
10. Jack Nicholson — 8
Will Smith, however, is about to do something unprecedented, a feat never done by either of the Toms (Hanks or Cruise). Hancock will be his eighth consecutive $100 million grossing blockbuster. Hanks and Cruise both have career-best streaks of seven films with $100 million. Here's the historic roll that Smith is on:
Men in Black II (2002) — $52.14 million opening, $190.41 million cume
Bad Boys II (2003) — $46.52 million opening, $138.6 million cume
I, Robot (2004) — $52.17 million opening, $144.8 million cume
Shark Tale (2004) — $47.6 million opening, $160.86 million cume
Hitch (2005) — $43.12 million opening, $179.49 million cume
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) — $26.54 million opening, $163.56 million cume
I Am Legend (2007) — $77.21 million opening, $256.39 million cume
Hancock (2008) — $110 million opening (Projected), TBD cume
I am predicting $100 million-$110 million for Hancock in its first five days, Wednesday-through-Sunday. Working against Hancock are soft reviews and the fact that it is a new character not based on a comic book character (like Iron Man) or a toy line (like last year's Transformers). Stiff competition from holdovers WALL-E and Wanted, however, is the biggest factor limiting Hancock’s upside. The truth is, anything in the $100 million range for the five-day 4th of July holiday is a terrific outcome for Sony.
Coming off the third-best opening for a Pixar animated film with $62.5 million or so, I am predicting a five-day of $58 million-$63 million for WALL-E. That would give the Chaplinesque little robot a 10-day domestic cume of about $140 million. Meanwhile, the Angelina Jolie action picture Wanted should add $40 million-$45 million Wednesday-through-Sunday for a new cume of just over $100 million.
If my predictions are close, then the Top 3 films for this year's five-day Independence Day holiday will sell about $210 million in tickets over the period, compared to the $193 million or so that Transformers, Ratatouille and Live Free or Die Hard combined for last July 4-8. That would represent a 7 percent increase year-over-year.