We’re knee deep into fall and it’s another week that is attempting to offer something for everyone. The big guns are clearly being saved for November as once again the films are mostly solid, but there will be few fireworks at the box office.
Weekend Forecast for October 17-19, 2014
By Tim Briody
October 17, 2014
Fury brings us [bp:78_]Brad Pitt[/bp] in a World War II movie, but it’s more Saving Private Ryan than Inglourious Basterds. Pitt (with the convenient nickname of “Wardaddy”) leads a small division in a Sherman tank deep behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany as the Allies make a charge. While it’s obviously banking on the star power of Pitt, also along for the journey are Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, and in his first major role since his numerous public meltdowns, [bp:5059_]Shia LaBeouf[/bp].
Directed by David Ayer, he of the failed Arnie comeback vehicle Sabotage from earlier this year, but also of the well received End of Watch, Fury is getting largely positive reviews for its strong acting and brutal depiction of war. It’s not quite Oscar material, but it certainly seems like An Important Movie. While I mention Pitt’s star power, it doesn’t always translate to box office; for someone who is arguably one of the most famous people on the planet, he has only three movies in his entire career that have grossed over $150 million domestically. His tendency to pick smarter projects over the typical blockbuster brings something to what seems to be a somewhat typical WWII movie. That’s likely to push Fury to a weekend of $27.8 million.
We’ve still got a few weeks until Big Hero 6 so this weekend the Day of the Dead-themed The Book of Life will have to do for kids really jonesing for something animated, what with the loss of Saturday morning cartoons and all. A fantasy adventure musical of sorts, it’s got voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum as the main characters, and the animation house was previously responsible for last year’s Free Birds, a film I’m 100% sure we all had forgotten about until now.
Holiday themed animation is never a sure thing but The Book of Life doesn’t appear to have delusions of grandeur in terms of box office expectations. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day padded word counts among writers everywhere and also opened to $18 million last week, so while there’s competition among family fare this weekend, there’s room for both since there’s been nothing CGI since Planes. There’s likely an itch to scratch. Look for a weekend of $17 million.
If you’re wondering why your eye may have started twitching uncontrollably, it’s likely because there is a Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation also released in theaters this weekend. The Best of Me is the latest five-hanky weeper, this one starring [bp:7190_]Michelle Monaghan[/bp] and James Marsden in the story of star crossed soul mates or something or other. As per usual, it’s getting roasted by critics, but that won’t stop any of his fans from showing up this weekend.
Sparks adaptations are reliable mid-level performers, with none earning less than $40 million. They’re also cheap to make, which is why they keep making them. 2013’s Safe Haven opened to $21 million but had a convenient Valentine’s Day release. There doesn’t seem to be anything with The Best of Me that defines it outside of “chick flick” but sometimes that’s all it needs. It’s looking at a weekend of $16.2 million.
Fury ends Gone Girl’s two weekend run at the top, both times where it was not the top film on Friday. With just a 30% decline from opening weekend, it’s looking to cross $100 million this weekend, and actually stands a chance at topping Benjamin Button for the highest earning film of [bp:4222_]David Fincher[/bp]’s career. While it remains to be seen whether or not it’s a legitimate Oscar contender, it will continue a great run in theaters with an $18 million weekend.
Dracula Untold attempted to origin story the vampire character and was rewarded with a $23 million weekend. It’s all downhill from here, though, as it’s looking at a second weekend of $9.4 million. Elsewhere, Addicted found both African-American audiences and erotic literature fans to earn $7.4 million virtually out of nowhere. It adds just enough theaters this weekend that it just might hang in the top ten with another $3.6 million or so.