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How Did I Do With My 2009 Box-Office Predictions?

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 30, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 30, 2009 |

In mid-December 2008, some of you might recall that I put together box-office predictions for the top grossing films of 2009 and the biggest box-office flops of 2009.

Given the fact that the predictions were made up to a full year in advance of the release dates (and before I’d even see the trailers for most of the films), I thought I did pretty well. But before I made my 2010 predictions, let’s take a look back at what I got right and what I missed. Sometimes terribly.

In the box-office flop category, I was very right on one count (Dragonball: Evolution, which only made $9 million at the box office — I’d predicted $18 million) and very, very wrong on another — I’d predicted that Avatar would only pull in $135 million. It made that in under a week, although what I wrote back in 2008 wasn’t too far off the mark: “Unfortunately, after a 12-year gestation period, Avatar became the film world’s version of Guns n’ Roses Chinese Democracy. It would’ve been a huge groundbreaking film … in 2002. Sadly for Cameron and his decidedly middle-tier cast, the world and Zack Snyder passed him by and Avatar became just another generic sci-fi blockbuster in a marketplace full of them.”

Well, it was a middle-tier cast.

I was way off on the final box office tally on Where the Wild Things Are too (I predicted $18 million; it made $75 million), but I was somewhat prescient on why it didn’t do better, writing: “Though a huge critical success (85 percent on the Tomatometer), the movie based on the classic and beloved Maurice Sendak children’s book failed to bring in the kids. The film — directed by Spike Jonze and written by Dave Eggers — was simply too dark and sophisticated for younger audiences, many of whom were frightened by the themes and imagery of the film. ” I was relatively close on the RT meter reading, too (73 percent).

Elsewhere on the duds list, I incorrectly predicted that both 2012 and G.I. Joe would fail, but I was right about them sucking (OK — any asshole could’ve predicted that).

How about in the box-office successes? I only missed Angels and Demons by $20 million; Sherlock Holmes will probably end up right about where I predicted ($150 million); I whiffed on Public Enemies (prediction $159 million; actual $97 million — who’d have thought Christian Bale and Johnny Depp — with Michael Mann — would fall short of $100 million); I only missed X-Men: Origins by $4 million and correctly noted that it would be “a critical failure and a disappointment with most audiences”; I really blew it on Watchmen ($185 million prediction compared to $107 million actual), but correctly noted that it would receive a “mixed reception from critics and audience”; and wildly underestimated the success of Star Trek (missed it by $60 million), but did correctly predict that the “origins story brought in millions of newcomers to the franchise without too terribly disturbing the Trekkies.”

As for the top four, I nearly got the placement of Up right (I predicted number four, it landed at number three), but missed the gross by $70 million; totally whiffed on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (by $150 million), though I did somewhat correctly note that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the first and second movie; I wildly overestimated Terminator Salvation, but I was pleased that I was wrong in suggesting that it would solidify “McG as the next generation’s Michael Bay.” And my prediction for number one? Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which actually came in at number two, and I only missed that by $7 million.

All in all: I missed as many (or more) as I got right, but most of my predictions (save for Terminator) on quality were fairly spot on.

2010 box-office predictions (and a small preview of next year’s movies) this afternoon.

DVD Releases 12/23 and 12/30/09 | Pajiba Love 12/30/09

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.