I Am Legend

Will Smith’s I Am Legend (Warner Bros) is the biggest opening of his storied career. The sci-fi thriller, adapted from the 1954 Richard Matheson novel of the same name, has grabbed a spectacular $28.35M on Friday, and it’s headed for a weekend of at least $70M. The film will be a bit frontloaded, but my rough estimate as of Friday night is for an estimated $73.71M by Monday morning.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter forecasted an I Am Legend weekend gross in the $40M+ range, which was way too low based on the latest industry tracking. Thursday night, I went online with my final prediction at $60M, and, as it turns out, I underestimated the power of Will Smith as well.



All-Time Top 10 Will Smith Openings

1. I Am Legend – $73.71M (Estimate)
2. I, Robot – $52.17M
3. Men in Black II – $52.14M
4. Men in Black – $51M
5. Independence Day – $50.2M
6. Shark Tale – $47.6M
7. Bad Boys II – $46.5M
8. Hitch – $43.1M
9. Wild, Wild West – $27.6M
10. The Pursuit of Happyness – $26.5M

When I Am Legend passes $100M domestic, it will be the 7th consecutive Will Smith vehicle to reach that benchmark, and it will give him 11 films at $100M+ in his last 13 projects. Only Ali at $58.2M and The Legend of Bagger Vance at $30.9M have fallen short of $100M since 1996.

Legend is also the 6th-best opening weekend of 2007, comparing favorably to the “big guns” of summer.

Top 10 Opening Weekends of 2007

1. Spider-Man 3 – $151.1M
2. Shrek the Third – $121.6M
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – $114.7M
4. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix – $77.1M
5. The Simpsons Movie – $74M
6. I Am Legend – $73.71M (estimate)
7. 300 – $70.8M
8. The Bourne Ultimatum – $69.2M
9. Transformers – $70.5M
10. Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer – $58M

Amazingly, if the Francis Lawrence-directed thriller manages to top $74M, it will crack the list of the All-Time Top 20 Opening Weekends in modern box office history.

Meanwhile, the modestly-budgeted Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) is a surprise blockbuster. The animation/live action hybrid version of the heritage cartoon critters generated a terrific $13.25M on its opening day, and, with a healthy “kiddie bounce” on Saturday and Sunday, it should surge to an estimated $38.425M for the 3-day. If the number holds, Alvin will score the 4th-best opening for an animated film in 2007, topping far more expensive ventures like Bee Movie and Beowulf.

Top 10 Animated Openings of 2007
– includes animation/live action hybrids –
1. Shrek the Third – $121.6M
2. The Simpsons Movie – $74M
3. Ratatouille – $47M
4. Alvin & the Chipmunks – $38.42M (estimate)
5. Bee Movie – $38M
6. Enchanted – $34.4M
7. Beowulf – $27.5M
8. Meet the Robinsons – $25.1M
9. TMNT – $24.2M
10. Surf’s Up – $17.6M

The #3 movie for the weekend will be New Line’s The Golden Compass, but there’s no saving this albatross. It appears to have finished Friday at just over $3M, and it will likely only reach $10.2M for the weekend, representing a monstrous 61% drop from its 3-day opening. Enchanted (Disney) will bank another $6.82M over the weekend for a 4th-place finish and a new domestic cume of $93M, and the Golden Globes have boosted No Country For Old Men (Miramax) to #5 with an expected 3-day of $2.83M.

On the specialty front, Fox Searchlight has expanded Juno to 40 locations with fantastic results. With Golden Globe noms for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Actress – Comedy or Musical for Ellen Page and Best Screenplay for former stripper Diablo Cody, the film grabbed almost $10,000 per location on Friday, and it will easily win the weekend PTA race with nearly $35,000 per.

Focus is platforming Atonement more aggressively with 117 screens in play. Capitalizing on its 7 Golden Globe nods, the Joe Wright-directed epic romance rounded up $482,000 or so on Friday for a PTA of $4,118. Its 3-day take should be an estimated $1.68M (#11) for a $14,000+ PTA (#5).

Khaled Hossein’s bestselling novel The Kite Runner has arrived on the big screen, directed by the solid Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) and distributed by Paramount Vantage, but it has opened sluggishly. The movie had only the 5th-best Friday PTA despite bowing on just 35 screens, and it is unlikely to top $15,000 per for the weekend. Featuring no stars and with 5 languages spoken including English, Dari, Pashtu, Urdu and Russian, this is a very difficult movie to market. For comparison’s sake, last year’s Babel, also from Vantage, had a $55,621 PTA when it opened on 7 screens last October, and when it expanded to 35 locations the following week, it held up well with $26,000+ per.

Two other specialty releases of note debuted Friday. Vitagraph’s Look, a creepy film shot using surveillance cameras, opened on 2 screens and delivered $2,400 per on Friday, and it’s headed for a weekend PTA of $8,000. However, Francis Ford Coppola’s first film as a director since 1997’s The Rainmaker, Youth Without Youth (Sony Classics), is an arthouse flop. It managed only $1,177 at each of its 6 locations on Friday, and it will limp to a 3-day PTA of just $4,296.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – $28,350,000, $7,862 PTA – [$28,350,000 cume]
2. NEW – Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) – $13,250,000, $3,813 PTA – [$13,250,000 cume]
3. The Golden Compass (New Line) – $3,050,000, $865 PTA [$34,993,112 cume]
4. Enchanted (Disney) – $1,950,000, $636 PTA [$88,217,303 cume]
5. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $859,520, $638 PTA [$31,421,993 cume]
6. This Christmas (Sony) – $742,073, $386 PTA [$44,485,553 cume]
7. Fred Claus (Warner Bros.) – $656,472, $239 PTA [$67,315,756 cume]
8. August Rush (Warner Bros.) – $605,942, $302 PTA [$26,885,733 cume]
9. NEW – Perfect Holiday (Yari Film Group) – $600,000, $459 [$1,250,000 cume]
10. Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $525,000, $316 PTA [$78,403,881 cume]
11. Atonement (Focus) – $481,748, $4,118 PTA [$1,620,661 cume]
12. Awake (MGM) – $438,535, $304 PTA [$12,307,382 cume]
13. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – $397,333, $9,933 [$1,123,279 cume]
14. Hitman (20th Century Fox) – $352,876, $209 PTA [$37,475,277 cume]
15. American Gangster (Universal) – $336,157, $276 PTA [$126,837,147 cume]
*NEW – The Kite Runner (Paramount Vantage) – $137,690, $3,934 PTA [$137,690 cume]
* Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $75,670, $850 PTA [$5,626,797 cume]
* I’m Not There (MGM/Weinstein) – $48,667, $327 PTA [$2,443,684 cume]
* Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) – $38,868, $321 PTA, [$1,271,792 cume]
*Days of Darkness (Odeon) – $32,418, $477 PTA [$336,701 cume]
* The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – $28,948, $2,895 PTA [$463,747cume]
*Starting Out in the Evening (Roadside Attractions) – $25,746, $599 PTA [$271,106 cume]
*The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (Miramax) – $14,867, $4,956 PTA [$216,194 cume]
*NEW – Youth Without Youth (Sony Classics) – $7,062, $1,177 PTA [$7,062 cume]
*NEW – Look (Vitagraph) – $4,828, $2,414 PTA [$4,828 cume]
*The Walker (Thinkfilm) – $4,134, $517 PTA [$27,914 cume]
*Revolver (IDP Films) – $3,780, $420 PTA [$64,292 cume]
*Grace is Gone (MGM/Weinstein) – $2,106, $301 PTA [$22,655 cume]
*NEW – A Walk Into the Sea (Arthouse Films) – $1,026, $1,026 PTA [$1,026 cume]

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – $73,710,000, $20,441 PTA – [$73,710,000 cume]
2. NEW – Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) – $38,425,000, $11,058 PTA – [$38,425,000 cume]
3. The Golden Compass (New Line) – $10,217,500, $2,896 PTA [$42,160,612 cume]
4. Enchanted (Disney) – $6,825,000, $2,226 PTA [$93,092,303 cume]
5. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $2,836,416, $2,104 PTA [$33,398,889 cume]
6. This Christmas (Sony) – $2,523,050, $1,313 PTA [$46,266,530 cume]
7. Fred Claus (Warner Bros.) – $2,396,124, $871 PTA [$69,055,408 cume]
8. NEW – Perfect Holiday (Yari Film Group) – $1,950,000, $1,492 [$2,600,000 cume]
9. August Rush (Warner Bros.) – $1,939,015, $966 PTA [$28,218,806 cume]
10. Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $1,785,000, $1,076 PTA [$79,663,881 cume]
11. Atonement (Focus) – $1,686,118, $14,411 PTA [$2,825,031 cume]
12. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – $1,390,664, $34,767 [$2,116,610 cume]
13. Awake (MGM) – $1,315,605, $912 PTA [$13,184,452 cume]
14. Hitman (20th Century Fox) – $1,146,847, $680 PTA [$38,269,248 cume]
15. American Gangster (Universal) – $1,136,210, $932 PTA [$127,637,200 cume]
*NEW – The Kite Runner (Paramount Vantage) – $523,222, $14,949 PTA [$523,222 cume]
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $272,412, 3,061 PTA [$5,823,539 cume]
*I’m Not There (MGM/Weinstein) – $175,200, $1,176 PTA [$2,570,217 cume]
*Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) – $134,094, $1,108 PTA, [$1,367,018 cume]
*Days of Darkness (Odeon) – $113,462, $1,669 PTA [$417,745 cume]
*The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – $101,318, $10,132 PTA [$536,117 cume]
*Starting Out in the Evening (Roadside Attractions) – $93,973, $2,185 PTA [$339,333 cume]
*The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (Miramax) – $54,265, $18,088 PTA [$255,592 cume]
*NEW – Youth Without Youth (Sony Classics) – $25,776, $4,296 PTA [$25,776 cume]
*NEW – Look (Vitagraph) – $16,174, $8,087 PTA [$16,174 cume]
*The Walker (Thinkfilm) – $14,468, $1,809 PTA [$38,248 cume]
*Revolver (IDP Films) – $12,286, $1,365 PTA [$72,798 cume]
*Grace is Gone (MGM/Weinstein) – $7,371, $1,053 PTA [$27,920 cume]
*NEW -A Walk Into the Sea (Arthouse Films) – $3,488, $3,488 PTA [$3,488 cume]

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – 40 locations, $9,933 PTA
2. NEW – I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – 3,606 locations – $7,862 PTA
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax) – 3 locations, $4,956 PTA
4. Atonement (Focus) – 117 locations, $4,118 PTA
5. NEW – The Kite Runner (Paramount Vantage) – 35 locations – $3,934 PTA
6. NEW – Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) -3,475 locations – $3,813 PTA
7. The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – 10 locations – $2,895 PTA
8. NEW – Look (Vitagraph) – 2 locations – $2,414 PTA
9. NEW – Youth Without Youth (Sony Classics) – 6 locations – $1,177 PTA
10. NEW – A Walk Into the Sea (Arthouse Films) – 1 location – $1,026 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – 40 locations, $34,767 PTA
2. NEW – I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – 3,606 locations – $20,441 PTA
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax) – 3 locations, $18,088 PTA
4. NEW – The Kite Runner (Paramount Vantage) – 35 locations – $14,949 PTA
5. Atonement (Focus) – 117 locations, $14,411 PTA
6. NEW – Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) -3,475 locations – $11,058 PTA
7. The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – 10 locations – $10,132 PTA
8. NEW – Look (Vitagraph) – 2 locations – $8,087 PTA
9. NEW – Youth Without Youth (Sony Classics) – 6 locations – $4,296 PTA
10. NEW – A Walk Into the Sea (Arthouse Films) – 1 location – $3,488 PTA

Read More at Fantasy Moguls.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: