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Weekend Forecast for October 27-29, 2017

By Reagen Sulewski

October 27, 2017

That moment when you realize you took a role in a Saw movie.

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Not wanting to feel left out of 2017's rebootapalooza, Not-Quite-Halloween weekend goes back to one of the most successful horror franchises of all time, although in comparison to some of the other reboots/delayed sequels out there, this doesn't have nearly the same amount of cobwebs on it.

From 2004 through 2008, the Saw franchise effectively owned Halloween weekend, though its totals seem awfully quaint to modern eyes (it topped out at $87 million). The super-low budget films reset the stage for horror in the early 2000s, with huge opening weekends (for the time). One might notice that I ended at 2008, though, when Saw films kept coming out until 2010. Indeed, its lunch was stolen by the ultra-low budget affairs of Paranormal Activity, and the decision was made to cut out while the cutting was good.

This decision actually cost it a chance to get in on all the sweet, sweet international money and thus, we have a back-to-origins Jigsaw film (after they rejected my suggestion of Seen). It's named, of course, after the central figure in the series, a terminally-ill sadistic serial killer who designed impossible traps. Supposedly dead for ten years, a new set of killings leads investigators to believe that a copycat killer has picked up his mantle. But then again, that title. Maybe he wasn't actually dead? It wouldn't be the most ridiculous thing this series has come up with.

The Saw franchise was one of the films on the vanguard of the “torture porn” wave of horror, which has thankfully found itself on the outs. Directed by the Spierig Brothers of Daybreakers and Predestination fame, one can hope this will be taken in a better direction, but it's still ultimately a weird procedural with gruesome deaths baked in. Box office potential isn't really all that high, since as I noted, it wasn't actually all that popular in the first place. The cast for Jigsaw doesn't really inspire all that much enthusiasm, with the two most recognizable names being Laura Vandervoort and Callum Keith Rennie, who I might not even mention in other write-ups if they weren't the top people. With awful reviews and a best-by date that's long since passed, this should manage around $14 million this weekend.

George Clooney returns to the director's chair with Suburbicon, working from a Coen Brothers script. A “comedy” of sorts, it stars Matt Damon as a nebbishy suburban father in a quiet '50s town whose life is disrupted when a home invader kills his wife. This reveals a heretofore unknown dark underbelly of the town and things just spiral totally out of control.




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We're going for pitch black comedy and satire here, which the Coens certainly do well, and Clooney has been known to hit from time to time – though that seems to not be the case here. Combine this with a segregation subplot that seems crudely tacked on (and which is almost absent from ads), and we have all the recipe for a giant mess. Despite a good deal of critical success in the past, Clooney's directorial efforts have never hit the mark commercially, though 2014's The Monuments Men has done the best of them. Despite a strong cast that includes Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, Surburbicon looks like a big miss that should at least get morbid curiosity from all of the respective fanbases, pushing this to about $9 million opening weekend.

Miles Teller's second attempt this month to look like a normal human being comes in Thank You For Your Service, a story about Iraq war veterans returning stateside and their difficulties in re-acclimatizing to society. The transition, as one would expect, is not simple. He's front and center of a mostly unknown cast (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Haley Bennett, and Amy Schumer, for some reason, stand out the most), in what may be a thoroughly depressing tale. Directed by the screenwriter of American Sniper, it certainly shares some of that film's DNA, but suffers in the casting and promo department, and also being based on a fictional set of soldiers – where Chris Kyle had some notoriety for this story to build on.

It's actually pretty rare for American audiences to embrace war films, and things like Stop-Loss are much more the rule than the exception. There's a little better ad campaign this time, but the downer nature of the film will be hard for a lot of people to take, and not the rah-rah sort of war film like Lone Survivor. This should come in with a mere $6 million this weekend.

Our lead returning film is Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, which showed some slippage from last year's Tyler Perry entry. A $21 million opening weekend should give way to around a $12 million second weekend, as the thematic synchronicity helps out these normally rather front-loaded films.

Geostorm was an utter flop, at least domestically, with a $13 million start against a $100 million budget. We're in a different world now, where these disaster films have become completely passe. There's a big ol' dropoff coming here, to about $5 million.

Happy Death Day may stave off irrelevance thanks to Halloween weekend, but this horror film has also seen a huge fall off. Halloween not actually being on the weekend helps it a tad, as it's notoriously a bad day for movies, and it may just barely approach $5 million because of this.


Forecast: Weekend of October 27-29, 2017
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Jigsaw 2,941 New 14.4
2 Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween 2,388 0 12.1
3 Suburbicon 2,046 New 8.8
4 Thank You For Your Service 2,054 New 6.4
5 Geostorm 3,246 0 5.7
6 Happy Death Day 3,531 +233 5.2
7 Blade Runner 2049 2,421 -782 4.0
8 Only the Brave 2,577 0 3.7
9 The Foreigner 2,505 -10 3.4
10 It 2,538 -22 2.0

     


 
 

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Monday, November 20, 2017
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