MIDWEEK ESTIMATES: 'Pineapple Express' Slow After Fast Start but May Still Hit $45M for 5-Day and Could Top 'Dark Knight' for 3-Day Crown; 'Pants 2' Headed for $25M 5-Day Take!
by Steve Mason
THURSDAY 10:00 p.m. (Pacific): Pineapple Express (Sony), which opened to a spectacular $12.15 million on Wednesday, suffered its expected Thursday buzz-kill, falling about 50 percent according to preliminary numbers. I am projecting an estimated $6.25 million for day two of the Seth Rogen/James Franco marijuana-fueled comedy, for a pre-weekend tally of $18.4 million.
The megahit The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) appears to have received a slight uptick from Wednesday, when Males Under 25 rushed out to see the Judd Apatow-produced Sony comedy. The Christopher Nolan-directed Batman Begins sequel scored an estimated $5.35 million on Thursday, up about 5 percent from Wednesday. This sets up a heated battle for the traditional three-day weekend box office crown.
My usual sources and I have arrived at the conclusion that Pineapple Express could top $11 million on Friday, leading to a five-day of $47 million and a three-day of $28.7 million or so, compared to about $8.1 million for the Caped Crusader's fourth Friday, which would likely translate to a three-day of just over $27 million. If Express gets that high, it would mean a three-day weekend upset of TDK.
Meanwhile, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros.) appears to have followed up its $5.7 million opening day with a Thursday take of $2.9 million or so. That puts the female-skewing sequel on track for a $17.1 million three-day and a very healthy five-day of $25 million, ahead of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Universal), which is fading fast after a $40 million opening weekend.
THURSDAY 8:00 a.m. (Pacific): The much buzzed-about Judd Apatow-produced comedy Pineapple Express (Sony) got high on Wednesday. Very high. With a breakout comic performance from James Franco and the increasingly bankable presence of co-writer and star Seth Rogen, Express rode to a stunning $12.15 million on opening day. That will likely translate to a five-day figure of $42 million-$45 million, well above industry expectations. Amazingly, the movie was budgeted at only $27 million, so this will be a wildly profitable film for Sony.
The battle for No. 1 over the traditional three-day weekend now becomes very interesting. Pineapple Express is rated R and is aimed at Males Under 25. Tomorrow night's Beijing Olympics opening ceremony is unlikely to put a dent in the weed-filled fun, and it appears that the new Sony release can reach $27 million-$30 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) softened a bit Wednesday, finishing with an estimated $5.1 million. I am now pegging the $400 million blockbuster for a $24 million-$27 million weekend and a No. 2 finish.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros.) was No. 2 on Wednesday, with an estimated $5.7M. That is also better that most studio execs were expecting. Again, with the Olympics providing no real competition for this "girl power" picture skewing to Females Under 25, the weekend should be very healthy. I am projecting a five-day of $22 million-$25 million and a three-day of $17 million-$20 million, meaning that the Sisterhood would almost certainly finish No. 3, ahead of Universal's fast-fading The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.