We continue to ramp up to November’s heavy hitters with some ambitious and well-reviewed releases, plus an obligatory horror film just in time for Halloween.
Weekend Forecast for October 24-26, 2014
By Tim Briody
October 24, 2014
The likely box office champ this week is Ouija, which really when you get down to it is the first board game adaptation since 2012’s Battleship. If that doesn’t sound scary to you, it’s from [bp:425_]Michael Bay[/bp]’s production company. In the movie, a group of teenagers (played by nobody you’ve heard of, all of whom are in their late 20s) attempt to contact their recently deceased friend via Ouija board and accidentally unleash dark and evil spirits that begin terrorizing them. I’m really not sure this is the tie-in Hasbro wanted, but it only cost $5 million to make so they’re basically printing money.
It’s predictably getting destroyed by critics and I’m a little surprised that they even bothered to screen it, since it’s in the most bulletproof genre there is. That said, 2014 has been a pretty lousy year for horror at the box office until this month's Annabelle. This is your de facto Halloween release since the holiday falls on a Friday this year and is traditionally a notoriously awful day of box office. That alone will make it a success and it appears to have the inside track on winning the weekend with around $19 million.
After flopping badly last December with some indeterminate number of ronin, [bp:117_]Keanu Reeves[/bp] returns with John Wick. It veers a little too close to the trope of “retired assassin pulled back in after the wrong people mess with him” but seems to do so with a bit of a wink, as Reeves’ title character is after revenge after the death of his dog. No, really. It also stars Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki and Michael Nyqvist.
Somehow an original idea and not based on a graphic novel, book, other film, John Wick is landing extremely positive reviews for its stylish look and action set pieces, which is something Reeves' career needed after a few years without a genuine hit. It even has franchise potential should it play well with audiences. Lionsgate seems to be hedging their bets some by putting it in just under 2,600 theaters, but word-of-mouth is something that can carry this type of movie. There’s potential for a real breakout here given the strong reviews, but Ouija should have a clear path to the weekend title. Look for a weekend of around $14 million.
After a pair of weekends in under 100 theaters, St. Vincent gets a wide release. Starring [bp:1313_]Bill Murray[/bp] and Melissa McCarthy, it’s a comedy drama as Murray’s cranky unkempt vet becomes an after school mentor to his neighbor McCarthy’s son. Feeling like yet another attempt to get Murray an Oscar, (look, we all feel bad about it, but if it didn’t happen for Lost In Translation, it’s never going to happen), it’s getting decent if not spectacular reviews and it did okay in limited release but it didn’t blow anybody’s doors off. St. Vincent is clearly a vehicle for Murray, but McCarthy’s presence will certainly help it at the box office. Give it a weekend of $9 million or so.
Fury topped the box office last weekend with a slightly weaker than expected $23.7 million, a total it reached largely thanks to [bp:78_]Brad Pitt[/bp]. It’s a good war movie and there’s a solid crowd for that sort of thing, but it’s not going to expand its audience much beyond that. Look for $12 million in its second weekend.
Gone Girl ceded the top spot after two weeks but still only dropped 34% to cross $100 million in its third weekend, a ridiculously impressive feat these days and something that keeps it in the Oscar conversation because that’s how it works. It will continue to roll, probably until Interstellar comes out in a few weeks, and becomes the biggest hit of [bp:4222_]David Fincher[/bp]’s career. Gone Girl should add another $11.3 million this weekend.
Animated and live action films aimed at kids performed strongly last weekend as The Book of Life opened to $17 million and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day fell just 36% to $11.4 million. Book of Life, with its Day of the Dead theme, stands to have another good weekend as we get closer to Halloween, and should earn around $11 million, while AATTHNGVBD adds another $7.4 million.
Finally, in the category of Movies You’re Going To Hear About A Lot Over The Next Several Weeks, Michael Keaton’s Birdman expands to 50 theaters after earning $100k per screen with a NY/LA release last weekend. That’s not enough to crack the top ten just yet, but the story of a washed up actor best known for playing a superhero attempting to revive his career is one of the big films to watch as Keaton establishes himself as a Best Actor frontrunner.