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Box Office Wizard (7.16.10)

Fancy an old-fashioned wizards duel that will make the PG stuff in The Sorcerer's Apprentice seem like weak sauce? I challenge you to beat me, the master of Player Affinity's weekly box office prediction competition. All you're required to do is predict which five movies will place in the top five of this weekend's U.S. domestic box office chart. Simple enough, right? I will make my own predictions here and explain them to you each week to give you some sort of reference point. It's then your job to enter a comment with your top five. 

This is Week #11. The first week you predict is the first week you enter the Box Office Wizard competition. For every correct prediction each week, you earn a point. Points are cumulative. The game keeps going on and on forever and ever except we will reset everyone back to zero -- let's say -- once a year. Each week there will be at least two winners: a weekend wizard for the users who guessed the most correct and a box office wizard for the user with the most points to date. The goal is to be Box Office Wizard for as long as you can. I'll pick an end date for the year at some point and then whoever has the most becomes the year's box office wizard. Maybe by the team that happens, Player Affinity will be so wildly popular that we'll have some cool free stuff to give the Box Office Wizard of the Year. Regardless, it's worth giving a try. What do you have to lose?

Week #10 Wizard(s): TheGamerGeek - 5 pts
Current Box Office Wizard: Steven C - 36 Pts 

GamerGeek nailed the Top 5 again for the second week in a row. Well done. 

Steven C - 36
TheGamerGeek - 29
SimonSays - 23
Sallas - 15
Olly H - 14

Dustin C - 10
Dementious - 5 

Matthew D - 3
Lydia - 2

Remember, only submissions in the comment section count and they must be made by 12:00 PM SATURDAY. Check our weekly recap posting late afternoon every Monday for the box office figures of the weekend. Remember, we count the WEEKEND ACTUALS, not the ESTIMATES announced on Sundays. On 4-day weekends, only the 3-day total matters.

Here are last week's top five finishers and this week's new contenders followed by my predictions.

Last Week's Top Five
                1. 1. Despicable Me - $56.3M (weekend)… $56.3M (gross)
                2. 2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - $31.7M… $235M
                3. 3. Predators - $24.7M…$24.7M
                4. 4. Toy Story 3 - $21M … $339M
                5. 5. The Last Airbender - $16.6M … $99.7M
                New Contenders this Weekend

                The Sorcerer's Apprentice
                Directed by Jon Turteltaub
                Written by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
                Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Monica Bellucci
                Genre: Action/Fantasy
                Distributor: Disney/Buena Vista
                Release: 3,504 theaters 


                Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan
                Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard
                Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller/Action
                Distributor: Warner Bros.
                Release: 3,792 theaters 

                My Top Five Predictions

                There’s no betting against Inception this weekend. Just how much money it makes will be the real question. This isn’t the global symbol that is Batman, so nowhere near “The Dark Knight’s” record-breaking numbers or possibly the $72 million plus that Batman Begins made. All of Nolan’s prior releases were limited and of course didn’t have the tag “from the director of The Dark Knight, which holds a lot of weight, especially with a younger audience. I will modestly say $50-60 million, which could be underestimating Nolan’s pull and Leonardo DiCaprio’s bankability, but I’d at least be surprised to see any less.

                The second week of Despicable Me should hold off newcomer The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for second. Expect a drop to just about $30 million for the animated surprise hit, which is what Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (the other 2010 Disney/Bruckheimer collaboration) did on a Friday release. I think the PG rating will earn more ticket sales for “Apprentice,” but with weak reviews, just more than $3 million in its first day and the extra two days anyway during the week with the Wednesday opening, I don’t see it beating a well-reviewed “Despicable.” Then again, I was wrong about The Last Airbender, a PG fantasy film that opened on a Thursday. The difference was “Airbender” had a built-in fan base.

                All those films should easily fend off The Twilight Saga: Eclipse which should earn $15 million. Expect Toy Story 3 to leapfrog yet another film this week, this time for fifth place, though it certainly might have a shot at “Eclipse.” After 3-4 weeks, animated films with good reviews (take March’s How to Train Your Dragon) tail off very slowly so it should only drop 30 percent. Horror films, on the other hand, are notorious for falling by at least 50 percent in their second week, so Predators will only make $12 million compared to an expected $14 million for TS3.


                1. 1. Inception
                2. 2. Despicable Me
                3. 3. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
                4. 4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 
                5. 5. Toy Story 3


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