Weekend Forecast for Ocrtober 16-18, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
October 16, 2015
It's one of those great variety weekends of fall, with two original properties, huge names, Hollywood royalty really, and gothic style. Of course, in usual fashion when we have these kinds of weekends, that's not what's going to be leading the way at the box office.
Instead, we've got an adaptation leading the way, because of course we do, although in fairness this is at least a somewhat different take on how to adapt a property. Goosebumps takes the series of scary-but-not-scary young adult horror novels and decides that while each one of them is too slight to make a movie on its own, maybe all of them together make a film? It's something I have to credit, as it could have been very tempting to go all “extended universe” on these and try working six or seven non-notable films into the mix. Here, we have one film with a bit of a hook (and hey, you can still do a sequel if you really wanted to).
Jack Back stars as R.L. Stine, the author behind the approximately seven zillion Goosebumps books, which mostly take on classic horror monsters or urban legends about things that go bump in the night. It's a classic rite of passage of childhood on par with the Choose Your Own Adventure books. In the film, Black has written all these stories in order to keep the very real horrors captive within the pages of a secret library. On a Halloween night, a group of precocious pre-teens (they are just the *worst*) stumble upon this collection and set it loose, leading to all sorts of PG-level mayhem.
Essentially, it's a film about horror films, or at least the tween version of horror films, and filled up with just enough action-adventure to bring to mind things like the Goonies and Monster Squad. Black appears to be in a barely restrained manic mode, which is a good fit for him, and playing off his typical Carrey-esque manner. It's actually been four full years since Black has been anything that's received a major release, so it's tough to judge how relevant he is these days. The Kung Fu Panda films really don't count, even kid-targeted as they are. A new Shrek movie would do really well, but that hardly makes Mike Meyers a live-action draw. However, the particular choice of actor here makes a wacky kind of sense, and the film looks both accessible enough and interesting enough to capitalize on the huge name recognition of the series. I'd be looking for a little below the typical YA adventure numbers here, with about $24 million for topicality.
The prestige release of the weekend involves two of the biggest names to ever grace Hollywood, Spielberg and Hanks. Bridge of Spies is a lower-key film for both of them, focusing on the Francis Gary Powers spy crisis during the 1960s. Hanks plays the lawyer recruited by the CIA to negotiate the release of Powers in exchange for a Russian spy caught in America. He's sent to East Berlin, the home of espionage and paranoia, and with his own goals that may have to bend to realpolitik. Spielberg rarely does pure intrigue, so it'll be interesting to see just what that looks like.