Lifting up from the nadir of last weekend, we're given just eeeeever so much more in the way of box office potential. However, what with it being September, an increase in quality is purely theoretical. You're much better off watching opening weekend football.
Weekend Forecast for September 11-13, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
September 11, 2015
That's largely because leading the way is a new film from M. Night Shyamalan, and you just went into a bout of PTSD. The all-time “believing his own press clipping” champion, Shyamalan is still, somehow, being given studio-sized budgets after his last four films, all of which would be contenders in a “worst film ever made” competition. Meeting us hippies halfway, he's embracing the latest trend in horror, the found footage/home movie aesthetic for The Visit, which details two children's visit to their grandparents' house. What seems like a bucolic, peaceful setting – even with the strange, strict rules – turns sinister during the first night when they hear strange noises outside their room and see odd behavior from their grandmother, including an invitation to clean that strangely large oven from the inside.
Ominously labeled on IMDb under the twin categories of comedy and horror, the comparison to Hansel & Gretel seems pretty obvious, though with how ham-fisted Shyamalan has been in his actual fairy tales, I hope I'll be forgiven in being skeptical of the better-than-previous reviews, which may be grading on a curve for him showing something resembling competence. With no name actors in this production, promotion has to focus on the Shyamalan connection even when I'm sure they'd rather not. It's a name that's certainly box office poison to many, although there probably are people with a weird loyalty, remembering The Sixth Sense (16 years ago, people!). At the very least, it was cheap to make and market, and should open with about $15 million this weekend.
Entering in the thriller category is The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut and Michael Ealy. After breaking up with long-term boyfriend Chestnut, Lathan enters into a relationship with a mysterious stranger played by Ealy, who initially seems magical in all ways, everything she ever wanted. However, he's also prone to sudden and shocking bouts of violence. Re-enter Chestnut, to rescue her from the formerly great-seeming guy, and then things turn stalky. Effectively, this then turns into a slightly less bloody slasher movie, as Ealy starts exhibiting tendencies that pretty much require super powers to make any sense.
The “woman in peril” movie isn't exactly the freshest of genres, but may have some appeal thanks to niche audience targeting. See: the recent No Good Deed, which isn't similar in plot, but is pretty similar in intent and which opened to about $24 million. Idris Elba and Taraji Henson are much bigger names than anyone involved here, so let's knock quite a bit off the top, then note that it's not being screened for reviews, which bodes... poorly. I'd look for about $11 million opening weekend.
Hot off the Christian-themed War Room slow-rolling into a weekend win, we have 90 Minutes in Heaven, based on a book about a man who claimed to have entered heaven briefly after being declared dead in a car crash. Hayden Christensen plays the lead character, with Kate Bosworth and Dwight Yoakam also playing roles, giving this a little better star power than most of these things. Still, “starring the guy who ruined Star Wars” isn't necessarily the biggest selling point. Selling itself pretty much exclusively to the already converted, its terrible reviews point to a saccharine, treacly tale and I'd look for about $5 million to start.
This is compounded by finding itself directly in competition with the aforementioned War Room, which had an excellent holdover of 85 percent last weekend. It should fall off some because of that competition, and we're likely looking at about $6 million this weekend, which puts it on track to about $40 million total.
Straight Outta Compton lost its bid for a third weekend win despite a solid holdover of 66 percent, and should still hang on for a little under $6 million this frame.
Last weekend's new movies, A Walk in the Woods and The Transporter Refueled, opened in the $7-8 million range and should fall off significantly from here with little word-of-mouth support. A Walk in the Woods should able to do slightly better with an older audience. Give the first on $5 million and the second one about $4 million. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation may grab just one more weekend barely above $5 million, but that's about it for this late summer action hit.