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Hong Kong: March 8 Predictions
Rank Movie Title Prediction % Change
1  A Simple Life $1,150,000 (3-day)  
2  John Carter $700,000  
3  The Iron Lady $400,000  
4  Hugo $94,500 -55%
5  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance $81,000 -73%

A trio of films enters the Hong Kong marketplace but #1 won't be the most recognizable to domestic audiences. Buoyed by numerous accolades, A Simple Life (桃姐) is poised to be the first big local film since Overheard 2 to hit #1. A Simple Life has picked up quite a few trophies on the awards circuit. Deanie Ip recently won the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival for this movie. Ann Hui, the director of A Simple Life, as well as the two leads, Deanie Ip and Andy Lau, all won Golden Horse awards for Best Director/Actor and Actress. Ann Hui was also nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. If all the awards wasn't enough, Ann Hui has also been critically acclaimed for her past work in The Way We Are. Andy Lau also has a big fanbase in Hong Kong from his Cantopop days. The two leads share chemistry as well as they have collaborated before on Dances with the Dragon (與龍共舞) and Prince Charming (黑馬王子) on the big screen. All of this adds up to an impressive opening weekend in store. While there have been huge hits in the past few months, none of them are truly local but with a solid fanbase along with strong reception from local and foreign awarding bodies, this could be the breakout film to break Hong Kong from its local slump. Opening in a massive 40+ theaters, this will be playing ultra wide and will garner huge support from all theaters. All theaters are giving this the biggest screens, shunning John Carter and The Iron Lady to the side. Pre-sales have been remarkable as all of them have shown strong selling ever since pre-selling started 2 weeks ago at UA theater locations and 1 week ago at Broadway theaters. Theaters have already begun to tip the scales in A Simple Life's favour by putting this on 2 screens at night. It won't get the 2nd or 3rd biggest screen at most locations due to John Carter and The Iron Lady carrying their own but another screen to go along with the biggest screen means it will allow for more business to be done in the 3-day period. Some places, especially at UA, have done amazing business. It has done so well on opening night at a couple of theaters that they have gone ahead and given it a second screen at night even before its traditional release period which is usually 2 days before opening day. Additionally, some places have already sold out their weekend showtimes so far. There are many positive factors that suggest A Simple Life will bring in a big opening weekend. All of the goodwill from awards will bring in the cinephiles and skippers who won't watch Hong Kong movies. The ardent Andy Lau fanbase will bring in a solid amount of money. Combine all those with the big pre-selling so far and A Simple Life looks good for a hefty payday this weekend. $1,150,000 on opening weekend may sound very aggressive especially since A Simple Life will only have a 3-day weekend but its pre-selling has been strong and is very reminiscent of Pirates 4 and Harry Potter 7-2 early pre-selling.

Try as he might, John Carter heads off to Mars to do battle but will only come back with a 2nd place finish. 3D will be huge as people will want to view the latest 3D spectacle and John Carter offers a serviceable alternative to the tearjerker A Simple Life. Also opening ultra-wide like A Simple Life, it has been strangely relegated to the 3rd biggest screens at Broadway while The Iron Lady has been given the 2nd biggest screens. With good reviews at the moment, it seems like the Andrew Stanton helmed feature film will pour in more money than the last few 3D aberrations such as Underworld: Awakening, Hugo and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. It also has the support of almost every theater in Hong Kong which suggests gigantic money-making picture material. IMAX will help widen the gap between itself and The Iron Lady. It has performed quite well at the 2 IMAX theaters with weekend afternoon/evening showtimes at 20-30% capacity. At showtime, these will be at about 70-75% full. Regular theaters seem to be doing similar business. Walk-ins should prove very powerful with this movie. There's even a marketing gimmick ongoing where customers who purchase 2 tickets to see John Carter will receive a free limited edition Avengers poster. With IMAX in tow and 3D prices set at more than 40 theaters, this should finish well ahead of The Iron Lady for #2. A $700,000 beginning would be a good start considering the recent 3D flops like Hugo and Ghost Rider 2.

The Iron Lady is another movie that has been garnering praise amongst motion picture professionals. Meryl Streep won the Oscar for Best Actress as the unrepentant Margaret Thatcher and that distinction will translate into relatively good numbers at the box office. Opening day seems to suggest as much as The Iron Lady is already getting close to half full on 2 screens at night at about half the locations. Broadway/AMC are giving it full support with it being on the biggest screens opening day and on the 2nd biggest screens on Friday. On the flip side, UA doesn't seem as enthused as it will only show it on half of its theaters while other chains will be hit or miss with 1 out of 4 or 5 theaters giving this showtimes. Early pre-selling is showing very high ticket sales at the business district and high traffic theaters. Even with strong competition coming from A Simple Life, it will still rope in its share of onlookers. Its opening day should be very inflated as it has gotten 2 screens at night at a few locations. As award shows like The Golden Globes or Oscars have a lot of say in what viewers here watch, they will sway those that might not have wanted to catch this at first. We've recently seen this with Hugo where it didn't win any of the 4 major awards at The Oscars and is still headed for a 2nd weekend increase. The Iron Lady will feed off of Meryl Streep's award winning turn and her small fanbase will push this movie forward into the top 3. Opening wide in more than 20 theaters, this will debut with around $400,000, a sizable opening weekend amount for Meryl Streep.

Hugo found some help last week via The Oscars after he was left on the railroad tracks to fend for himself on opening weekend. Hugo took home 5 technical awards and that was enough to see it bounce back on its 2nd weekend to drive it to a more respectable total. Now it is aiming to be the leader amongst the holdovers with a steady sophomore drop after the Oscar-fueled weekend. Oscar films typically hold on for a few weeks and Hugo looks to be no different. It will be gone from a couple of theaters this week but those that are still continuing to show Hugo are becoming resilient; some are even giving Hugo more showtimes than last week. It may be feeling the pinch with showtimes, however, as most theaters are dropping this down to 1 or 2. It will still grab some people who didn't see this last week and it should fall lighter than most holdovers. One downside is that theaters might give A Simple Life more showtimes on the weekend to compensate for high demand so Hugo might only get a few showtimes here and there. It's possible that Hugo could see a harder drop with all this uncertainty. As it stands right now, a weekend drop of 55% would give it $94,500 for the weekend and a total somewhere between $600,000-$625,000.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is on its way to the record books but not for honourable mentions. Its poor outing on opening weekend will see it finish below the original's full week gross and this does not bode well for its sophomore frame. With huge competition this week which includes a 3D action release, this will be looking to drop over 65%. Poor WOM is contributing to the putrid ticket sales for Ghost Rider 2. Other factors such as the lack of anticipation for this film in addition to the misfortune of releasing 1 week before a higher profile 3D release is also bleeding into its admissions. It never was going to be an hit movie but its atrocious gross is going to give Columbia Pictures 2nd thoughts about releasing another Ghost Rider flick here. Its performance has been unacceptable and for it to lose to the original is shameful. Heck, it might not even make half of The Sorcerer's Apprentice gross in HK (1.201m). Downgraded at most places, it is being left with a few showtimes at about 60% of the locations. Its major concern will be the weekend as A Simple Life and the other 2 openers are going to claw and scratch for every screen available leaving holdovers with little showtimes. It will tumble in the rankings from 1st to 5th and will flame out with a 73% dive. That horrendous fall would put it near or at $500,000 in 11 days.

The Artist is hanging on tough this week. With huge Oscar wins for Picture, Director, Actor, it saw a 2nd weekend increase that is the norm for Oscar winners. While most films are quickly filing out of theaters, this one will ease its way out. As the big Oscar winner, it'll be interesting to see how 2 acclaimed movies opening this week will affect its run. It has received great WOM so far and theaters have rewarded its strong 2nd weekend outing by cutting only 1 showtime or giving it an extra showtime. Its uniqueness as a silent movie will allow it to achieve the best drop for a wide release this week. Continuing a tradition set forth by previous Oscar winners, it should have no problems dropping under 50% in its 3rd weekend. Locking down another weekend in the top 10, The Artist will see the best drop of any wide release. -40% would equal a $75,000 weekend and its total will move to $435,000.

Love had a nice 2nd weekend drop but is being tied down by the heavyweight openers this week. Helped by its strong 2nd weekend, theaters are only scaling back showtimes to 2 or 3 times a day instead of cutting it outright. It'll be challenged by Love is Not Blind throughout the weekend but it seems like theaters are leaning towards the Taiwanese hit. A 61% slip would give it a $70,200 weekend and its total would be boosted to $765,200.

Love is Not Blind is being held over due to its 2 week engagement with theaters. As much as theaters are trying to find showtimes for this, it's being hammered by the trio of openers and strong holds displayed by The Artist and Hugo last week. It won't dip as much as others but it will get pounded hard and will fall more than 60%. -65% would leave it with only $51,000 for its 2nd weekend, dragging its total to about $250,000.

Opting to showcase the film in limited theaters, A Separation may be thankful that it has only 5 theaters to deal with. Theaters have been receptive in giving it another weekend of full day showtimes after its strong weekend last week. Getting close to a $10,000 PTA opening weekend, this, like The Artist, will be arthouse crowd's favourites for the week. Seeing as theaters are leaving this with almost full day showings, A Separation could trip only 30%, bringing its total to a cool $110,000.

Underworld: Awakening had an OK run here and has already seen the 4th film outgross all the other Underworld films in the franchise. Getting knocked out at most theaters this week, it is being positioned for a decline over 80%. -87% would leave it with a bruising $22,000 for the weekend and see its total inch up to $870,000.

The Devil Inside did semi-respectable numbers for the horror genre last weekend but rancid WOM will convince curious moviegoers to skip it altogether so expectations are not high for a drop below 70%. It is getting pushed around in theaters, down to only 1 showtime on Friday or is getting cut on Wednesday. The Devil Inside is only looking to scare up another $20,000 this week, which is about -84% for a grand total of $190,000 in 11 days.

If you want more information about this week or any other, please visit this thread. -

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