October 2010 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

October 1, 2010

I wish I had a box of sparklers

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Quite a month we've got here, with the usual assault of horror movies (especially down in limited release), some potential sleepers, and not as much Oscar bait as usual (the latest Jackass sequel is a notable exception, of course).

1. The Social Network (October 1st)

The prestige project of the month. There's a carefully assembled batch of rising stars here (Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and the soon-to-be very prolific, film-wise, Justin Timberlake), and the behind-the-scenes names (David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin) are impeccable. Give any other drama those credentials, and I'd peg it as having cautious but optimistic box office potential. But something very special has happened here: the reviews have been as enthusiastic as for any film of late, and the buzz has certainly began to assert itself. I don't know much about Facebook, but The Social Network is starting to look like a lot more than your average Oscar film (especially as far as opening weekends are concerned).

Opening weekend: $29 million / Total gross: $92 million

2. Jackass 3D (October 15th)

Through circumstance rather than malicious intent, I have never seen a Jackass movie before. So, while I can give no personal testimony to the matter, I assume that whatever worked before has been replicated in this third go-around - and thus, when it comes to predicting the numbers here, who am I to argue with the history books? Four years should have starved the fanbase into anticipating a third film, and the 3D ought to bump the numbers up some, even if they won't make it a runaway smash - as Resident Evil: Afterlife can personally testify to.

Opening weekend: $31 million / Total gross: $71 million

3. Paranormal Activity 2 (October 22nd)

In producing a sequel just one year after its predecessor's shaky cam-imbued success, the Paranormal Activity folks seem to have followed the Blair Witch model right down the line. Except for one thing: unlike Book of Shadows, this part 2 has eschewed conventional filmmaking and returned to the style of the first film, and that's looking like it will make all the difference. The trailer is okay, if you like that kind of thing, and the release date is just about perfect - far away enough from the critically-acclaimed little vampires, and close enough to Halloween to count. First-time horror sequels almost never outgross their predecessors, something that'll likely be demonstrated once more here, but the difference in opening weekends between this and P.A. 1 should certainly be a hoot.

Opening weekend: $33 million / Total gross: $68 million


4. Let Me In (October 1st)

The weekend's other hyper-praised star-making film, and one with perhaps just a bit less hype (odd to see a vampire unable to outrank a preppie - or is it?). As a decidedly R-rated horror film about two middle school-age protagonists, Let Me In is certainly an oddity. But that's where the reviews come to the rescue again, and I think we'll see just how far that near-100% Rotten Tomatoes rating can carry a horror film in October, especially when it's not a sequel. Nosferatu films may have worn out their welcome, but quality still sells.

Opening weekend: $22 million / Total gross: $64 million

5. Red (October 15th)

Fans of character actors, perk up. Indeed, films based on graphic novels unfortunately almost never have casts as prestigious as this, with a saddle of very Oscary people (Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich) teamed up with the no less-masterful Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker. Aside from a snappy trailer, Red is looking like the thematic sequel to the Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading - with a madcap cast of characters involved in some potentially incomprehensible misadventures, and the presence of Malkovich, essentially reprising his character (still writing his memoirs, is he?). As far as action films go, it ought to do pretty well, even if it won't put some of Willis' recent films (Surrogates, Cop Out) all that much to shame.

Opening weekend: $18 million / Total gross: $51 million

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