Two new wide releases will grace theaters this upcoming weekend: Hot Tub Time Machine, and How To Train Your Dragon.

Hot Tub Time Machine had 3,049 tweets on its lead-up frame last week. The MGM flick has been pushed hard on Twitter during the last few weeks and thanks to that its buzz-levels are definitely impressive online. This number is pretty massive, however, due to the Studio actively pushing it online, and the fact that its title has spawned a host of chatter in itself not related to interest in seeing it, its going to have an above average ratio. My early guess would be something in the region of ~1,500. At this point in time its looking like it is going to secure ~8,000 tweets for the week, put these two together and we might be looking at a mid to high teens opening frame.

Lastly, How To Train Your Dragon had 1,678 tweets last week. Impressive number considering the genre, by comparison Diary Of A Wimpy Kid had 864 its week before release, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs had 801 and A Christmas Carol had 1,188. It should manage a ratio in the realm of ~350 and should be able to secure ~5,000 tweets for the full week. This should allow it to hit $50 million for the weekend.

Check back Monday night for analysis of the Monday tweet totals. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031910.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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Diary Of A Wimpy Kid really exceeded expectations on Friday (mine at least) with a very solid $7.4 million. This far outstripped my prediction of $3.9 million, and should ensure a weekend gross of $23.5 million. Its Friday Twitter ratio of 251 from 1,859 tweets last week was the lowest of all films I've tracked outside of the Christmas openers which goes to show how much it connected with younger audiences outside of the Twitter demographic. This will be helpful in gauging upcoming films hitting similar demographics such as How To Train Your Dragon.

Repo Men was dead on arrival with a paltry total of $2.2 million on Friday, giving it a Twitter ratio of 1,405 from its 3,092 tweets last week. I had predicted that it would under-perform with a $2.7 million Friday which was in the same ballpark but it even fell short of that. It should be able to bring in $6 million for the full weekend.

The Bounty Hunter led new openers with a solid $7.65 million on Friday. This gave it a Twitter ratio of 405 from its 3,101 tweets last week, slightly less than my estimated $9 million. I had predicted it would be closer to Couples Retreat's 301 ratio but it appears the appeal of Jennifer Aniston pushed its ratio up slightly more than I anticipated. The film appears to be on course for $22 million for the weekend.

Check back tomorrow for a preview of the upcoming weekend's wide release films: Hot Tub Time Machine, and How to Train Your Dragon. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031910.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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mar03192010.jpgDiary Of A Wimpy Kid scored 725 tweets on Thursday, up from 494 the previous day. That gave it 1,859 tweets for the entire week, slightly below my Monday estimate of 2,000 to 2,200. Continuing the comparisons I have used this week: The Spy Next Door managed to score 623 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 1,452 for the whole week. It had $2.43 million in sales from 2,924 theaters for its first Friday for a Twitter ratio of 599. In addition, The Tooth Fairy had 640 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 1,720 for the whole week. It had $3.5 million in sales from 3,344 theaters for its first Friday for a Twitter ratio of 491. I think Wimpy Kid is going to perform quite similarly to Tooth Fairy and come in with a ~475 ratio, as such look for a $3.9 million Friday and $13.5 million for the full weekend.

Repo Men landed 1,210 tweets on Thursday, driving its week tally to 3,049, right on the lower end of my Monday estimate of 3,000 to 3,500. Thursday's total also gave it the highest of the openers for the 3rd time this week. This film is a perfect example of what following Twitter for 6 months now has afforded, an ability to use past films as a benchmark to discount buzz volume by genre and audience. Buzz does not always equal Box Office gold, buzz bye genre compared to similar films correlated to past Box Office earnings equals prediction gold. Sci Fi plus low theater count (relatively anyway) and poor negative tweets all point to a ratio in the ~1,000 range. Expect a $2.7 million Friday and $7.5 million for the weekend.

Lastly, The Bounty Hunter had 1,016 tweets on Thursday, up from 917 the day before. This ended up being a ways under my Monday estimate of 3,500 as the film didn't have as strong of a mid-week as I had imagined. By comparison, Couples Retreat had 1,217 tweets on its Thursday before release. Couples had 3,710 tweets for the week and a ratio of 301 for a Friday tally of $12.33 million. Expect The Bounty Hunter to be slightly higher at around the ~350 mark which should afford it a $9 million Friday and $26.5 million for the three day weekend.

Check back Saturday to see Friday's numbers and the actual Twitter ratios for the weekend and follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031210.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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Source: Kyle Ward

UPDATE: Curiously, the Tweet (and three other Tweets about it) have vanished. Mum's the word? Ward's Twitter account can still be found here.

Kyle Ward, one of the screenwriters of the upcoming big-screen adaptation of the popular video game Kane and Lynch, has updated his Twitter account announcing that Jamie Foxx has signed on to take the role of Lynch. Last year, action star Bruce Willis signed to play Kane.

foxx.jpg

The plot of the video game follows Adam "Kane" Marcus, a member of an elite group of mercenaries. He is arrested in Venezuela when a job goes awry, killing several innocent bystanders, but rumor leaks out that he turned on his comrades and managed to keep the money. Surviving members of the group break him out of jail and demand the money, as ransom for his wife and daughter, and they send the dangerous madman Lynch, who is trying to join the group, to make sure he follows through.

Willis is coming off of the buddy comedy Cop Out, which has pulled in $39.5 million to date, while Jamie Foxx's last starring gig was last year's Law Abiding Citizen, which made $73.3 million (although he had a cameo in February's $109.1 million-grossing Valentine's Day). Lionsgate is shooting for a 2011 release date.

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Source: Vulture

Negotiate well and you're set for life. This is the issue facing Sony, reportedly in the middle of a minor dispute with director Ivan Reitman over who might sit in the director's chair on Ghostbusters 3.

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When the director signed his contract for Ghostbusters 2, he got quite a bit of power, including a powerful yay-or-nay on the director of Ghostbusters 3. Flash forward 20 years, and that control might mean that Reitman will be the killing blow to plans for a 3D sequel, as Sony wants to move ahead with someone else, and Reitman can veto their choices.

Similar to the Spider-Man franchise, the studio wants to revitalize the Ghostbusters brand with fresh blood, although unlike the web-slinging hero, their plans included the original team, which was comprised of comedian Bill Murray, screenwriters Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, and popular character actor Ernie Hudson. Fresh blood, however, apparently extends to the helmer, and it doesn't help matters that the 63-year-old Reitman hasn't had a hit in years (his last film was the $22-million-grossing My Super Ex-Girlfriend in 2006).

The studio was hoping a competing gig on the upcoming comedy Friends With Benefits would be enough to tie up his free time, but Reitman has apparently insisted he can do both projects. (A logical thought would be hiring Reitman's son Jason, but the director has said in several interviews that he has no interest in making a Ghostbusters film.)

In any case, Sony will have to make a decision soon. They have no other major projects lined up for 2011 (although they could probably push Men in Black 3 -- a series often compared to Ghostbusters -- into production). The studio expects a current draft of the screenplay, by "Office" producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, in May. The previous two Ghostbusters films grossed $341.7 million domestically in 1984 and 1989, which equates to approximately $692.3 million when adjusted for inflation.

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