Weekend Forecast for October 25-27, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
October 24, 2019

I totally know her uncle in real life. No, really.

October's been a banner month for box office so far, but four weeks of it was probably too much to ask. In advance of Halloween, there's a least a horror movie to be thematically appropriate, but its unlikely to energize the receipts enough to matter this weekend.

Yet another film that's bent on making technology the boogeyman, Countdown seizes on the best trend from 10 years ago, apps, to try and strike fear in the hearts and minds of cinema goers. The subject of the film is an app that purports to tell you the exact time of your death. Quelle amuse, until you get a death date that's just days or hours away. Even then, it should just be a slightly unnerving drop down to all zeros, and then you delete the app. But what if the app deleted *you*? People will shortly arriving countdown dates start dying in gruesome and unavoidable ways, meaning there just might be something behind this.

Elizabeth Lail (lately of Once Upon a Time) plays a woman who receives one of those imminent death dates, and bands together with a bunch of fellow countdowners to try to defeat and/or outsmart Death, with varying success - the idea being that you simply need to last one second longer than the app says. Seizing on a familiar idea that technology is actually a malevolent evil, such as in films like The Ring and a number of J-horror classics, it also seems to borrow from a couple of other series like Happy Death Day and Final Destination. There's a lot of familiar here, but it's also a clumsy looking pastiche, and its PG-13 rating guarantees that it's going to be mostly jump-scare based horror.

With mostly terrible reviews and an anonymous cast, it's going to be left playing to a fairly young audience. The one saving grace - Halloween isn't on the weekend, so people priming for Halloween parties won't have to make the choice between subpar scares and houses with bubbling cauldrons. With little to sell it beyond that crowd, this should start with around $12 million this weekend.

Cop drama Black and Blue goes for an extremely literal rendering of its title with Naomie Harris playing a rookie (43 year old!) New Orleans police officer who is witness to another officer committing murder. Because she was wearing a running body cam while it happened, she's now a target for the rest of the force, who want that footage gone, whether she's alive to talk about it or not. Preferably not.

Harris then must turn to her former friends from before she became a cop, most of whom are involved in some shady things. First and foremost of them is Tyrese Gibson, attempting to expand outside the world of Fast & Furious films, and seemingly improved as an actor from the bad old days of 2 Fast 2 Furious. It's a very topical film, but it's ultimately not that different than a lot of "one good man on the run" stories that earn in the low double digits or high single digits. That it's about a cop doesn't make it much different than something like Run All Night. I'd expect this to come in with about $7 million.

The third new film is The Current War, advertised as the director's cut of the story of the development of AC vs DC power as the standard for electricity, pitting Thomas Edison vs George Westinghouse and Nikolai Tesla. Though it has a solid cast, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult and Tom Holland, the subject matter is bit ... esoteric. It's a film that only earned $4 million in its international release, and on around 1,000 venues in North America, it's unlikely to make much impact here, opening with about $2 million.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil should get a second weekend at the top then, after opening with $36 million. That's a significant drop from the $69 million of the original, and strongly shows that there's really not two stories to pull out of these fantasy adaptations/remakes. This should be a major drop off this weekend, to $16 million, but still enough for first place.

While Joker had a decent second weekend, its third saw normal comic movie patterns reassert themselves, and it got a 50 per cent haircut to $29 million last weekend. It has, however, crossed $250 million domestic, with around $325 million as a final target and maybe $900 million worldwide. That's a boggling figure for what amounts to a character drama about depression, and I look forward to Riddler, which will be a Beautiful Mind-like drama about paranoia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Look for $13 million here.

Zombieland: Double Tap held even with the original's opening weekend of $26 million - one problem being that it's ten years later. Zombies seem to be largely played out, even with a wonderful cast and premise, and this should fall to about $12 million this weekend.

The kid-friendly version of The Addams Family notched $16 million in its second weekend, and as the main family play for the weekend, should see around $10 million, even with soft reviews and word of mouth.