October 2017 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
October 5, 2017
3. The Snowman (October 20th)
Michael Fassbender stars as a detective on the hunt for a serial murderer in a creepy snow-bound setting, and in a film whose advertising offers no more information than that about itself (except of course, unless you've read the book). Supporting players include Rebecca Ferguson, a mustached J. K. Simmons, and a former Batman (Val Kilmer), and unless the killer is a real snowman or a more deranged than usual Madea, I assume that one of the above actors is it (just a guess!).
The Snowman will most probably place among the top three of the month, though I could be misreading the situation and underrating the chances of some of the below contenders. The director is Tomas Alfredson, previously of the first Let the Right One In, while the 2007 Norwegian novel The Snowman, by Jo Nesbø, is reasonably popular, and the film, although creeping in two weeks later, seems to place itself in the tradition of the kind of early October book-to-screen thrillers that have posted spectacular (Gone Girl) or reasonable (The Girl on the Train) numbers in recent memory.
What The Snowman also has going for it is something much more elemental, those pictures and posters of a crudely designed snow person bleeding blood red, covered with the nasty and simplistic messages the killer leaves behind ("Mister police."), and the deep sense of mystery about what morbid human creature can be engineering such a scenario. From that view, the simplicity of the ads is effective and in-character; Fassbender fits the stoic nature of a winter setting; and if the film is well reviewed, it could even stay in theaters just past the year's first snowfall.
Opening weekend: $19 million / Total gross: $55 million
4. Geostorm (October 20th)
The title Geostorm contains within it a Dean Devlin science fiction film about a world once again under attack by climate-caused disasters on an unimaginable scale (malfunctioning weather satellites have doomed us all this time out). Devlin, here making his directorial debut, has historically served as filmmaking partner of Roland Emmerich, who is not involved in the film but whose apocalyptic aesthetic influence is unmistakable (and unforgivable! I'm kidding - I'm a fan).
Gerard Butler plays the muscular scientist fighting for the world and his little girl, Jim Sturgess is his brother and study buddy, Andy Garcia holds the presidency (he has my vote), Ed Harris is the grumpy but reformable Secretary of State, and Robert Sheehan, a quirky Irish actor, gets another American film role (it's a start). So Geostorm has a likable, reasonable cast for such an endeavor, even if the film seems just a little off-season (November 10th is more right than the pre-pre-Halloween weekend), though anyone who wishes to attend probably will go anyway.
Indeed, as a film about, and with, an abundant amount of special effects and city-destroying CGI animation, I could be downpegging the chances for Geostorm's upper-tier box office success. Roland Emmerich's The Day after Tomorrow and 2012 both out-paced many predictions, and indeed as far back as Independence Day many a forecaster has given themselves egg on face low-balling the Emmerich disaster empire. I could be next.
Opening weekend: $20 million / Total gross: $48 million