October 2006 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
Unlike last month, there are quite a few films to choose from that have the definite possibility of making a big splash at the box office. I think my top four have what it takes to make it. They really vary in terms of genre, such as horror, action, and war. There is a nice variety for moviegoers to choose from this month. The other thing special about this month is that even the movies toward the bottom of my list aren't going to be flops like most months. They should still have decent numbers when the weekend figures are tallied.
Let's move on to my top ten for October 2006.
1. Saw III
The popularity of this series should continue in this latest installment. The original made a nice $55 million in the U.S. and its even more popular sequel made $87 million. People just love the psychological and gory aspects of these movies. I think quite a few people missed the original when it was in theaters, but saw it on home video once word-of-mouth had spread. My thought is that this one should end up over the magic $100 million mark by the time it ends its theatrical run.
2. The Departed
The people involved with this film are what's going to make it a popular choice for moviegoers. We generally list the top three stars in our Movie Release Schedule here at Box Office Prophets. Usually, that's enough to take care of the biggest names in the cast. But with The Departed, we leave off one of the biggest names, Jack Nicholson. Any film with Nicholson and director Martin Scorsese would be enough to draw in audiences. However, this film has added a bunch of young talent including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg. I also think that having the youngsters rave about the seasoned veteran (legendary?) actor and director in their interviews adds to the public's interest.
3. Flags of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood takes another turn behind the camera in this World War II film. Eastwood has made big name for himself as a director and every one of his efforts seems to be award worthy. Ever since Saving Private Ryan set the bar for World War II films, moviemakers have been trying to take it one step further. I think that Eastwood has what it takes to add quality to this genre and be successful at award time, which is just around the corner.
4. The Prestige
Here's one of those films that I'm not quite sure about. It was not originally planned to be a big release. However, with the advertising that we're seeing at three weeks out from opening weekend, it sure doesn't seem like a smaller release. But I kind of have my doubts because it doesn't seem like too many films of that period do well. And maybe that's why the moviemakers have used a lot of special effects to jazz up this story about rival magicians.
5. The Grudge 2
As with many sequels, it comes down to how the original or previous film did at the box office to determine if a sequel will be made. Since the original made $110 million domestically and another $33 million worldwide, there was definitely going to be a sequel to this horror film. I'm thinking it should do about as well as the original, but I don't think it will surpass it. Having Sarah Michelle Gellar return to the sequel is a plus, but I think her star is fading quickly. Hopefully, she may be able to get some luster back, but she needs an original breakout hit soon.
6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
This one could be interesting. A lot of people were turned off by the last installment of this classic film series. Fans feel like it didn't do the original movie much justice. I'm of the opinion that there are going to be a lot of those horror fans that aren't going to give this series a second chance and it's going to reflect in weak numbers at the box office.
7. Man of the Year
Robin Williams takes another crack at a comedy with this movie about a comedian who runs for the office of President of the United States and wins. The problem that I see with this film is that it doesn't have a solid idea of what kind of film it's going to be. It's not wacky and slapstick with the crazy misadventures of the new president, like we might expect in a kids' comedy. And it's not grown-up enough for the adults, as we see with Williams wearing a powdered wig in the presidential limo. I think this movie will suffer because of its lack of focus.
8. Employee of the Month
This movie has been getting a lot of exposure through a variety of media sources. Of course, the stars are showing up on television interviews and press junkets. This time, I have also seen one of the stars (very popular comedian Dane Cook) on Yahoo's "The 9", highlighting some of his Internet favorites. With all of this publicity and the wacky scenes we're seeing in the commercials for the movie, it's a pretty safe bet for box office success. Plus, the two biggest stars in the cast (Cook and Jessica Simpson) are definitely in the public's mind right now. But even with all this going on for it, I don't think it's going to be a blockbuster.
This remake of the family classic should do fairly well. It's not going to make major bucks at the theaters, but family films still sell well in the home video market. There will be some effect because one of the stars is popular country music singer Tim McGraw, but that should be very small. This may affect sales of the soundtrack more than the movie's box office take.
The only thing that keeps this film in the top ten is the two big stars, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iarritu is once again making a film about the human condition. I think that with this late year release, the studio is looking more for award consideration rather than box office dollars. The money will come from the home video market and a possible re-release when the awards start rolling in.