Friday, September 27, 2013

Meatballs, Airplanes, Porn, and Race Cars Cloud Up the Box Office This Weekend

Scott serves up his predictions in a weekend that is filled with a diverse range of films when it comes to new releases.

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A very busy weekend is upon us, as we have looming over our heads and wallets three new wide release movies and one movie that is expanding nation-wide after opening in limited theatres last week.  The genres are different, which means two things; there will be little battle for demographics, and there is more choice for everyone.  It is the last weekend of September, so brace for the cool fall days, grab a coffee, and join me as it is now time to ponder just how well each of these movies will do.

This weekend makes my life extremely easy, in that I could not be more confident in picking what movie will take the first place trophy in the box office.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is situated nicely in the release schedule, as the over-saturation of animated movies from the summer has appropriately worn off.  There is next to no direct competition for it, which will mean a very good weekend for the sequel to the 2009 movie that grabbed $30 million opening weekend, on its way to $236 million worldwide.  There has been some good anticipation for the sequel, which has some decent Twitter activity behind it.  It will not be rocking out the numbers that Despicable Me 2 or Monsters University were able to get, but it will try to challenge Insidious Chapter 2 for the best September opening weekend of the year.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Opening Weekend Prediction - $43 million

Opening in just over 2,000 theatres is romantic comedy Baggage Claim.  It stars Paula Patton, who has been getting some decent exposure as of late being in movies such as 2 Guns and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, but it is hard to tell if she is yet able to carry a movie by herself.  While Hollywood is usually pumping out predominantly white content, Baggage Claim looks to fill the gap for the minority market, which can definitely be lucrative (best current case in point is Instructions Not Included), yet for some reason studios seem reluctant in venturing down that path and perhaps it would not be a talking point if it was not so rare an occurrence.  While the movie looks generic, the trailers show a very energetic cast, and it may take double digit millions, which is an excellent start considering the modest budget of $8.5 million.

Baggage Claim Opening Weekend Prediction – $10 million

Another comedy opening this weekend, Don Jon, is written by, directed by, and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt.  A definite rising star in Hollywood on the acting front, it will be interesting to see what he is able to bring forth from his roles behind the camera.  Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a man who knows what he likes in life, and the content of his interests may actually put some movie goers on edge (Jon really likes pornography) and prevent them from purchasing admittance.  Aspects that will help the movie this weekend are the positive reviews it is getting (at the time of writing this it is at 83% on Rotten Tomatoes), as well as the interesting cast of Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza (hold me closer), and Julianne Moore.  This same weekend last year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt had Looper open to $20 million, though that would have been aided by Bruce Willis being in it, and Don Jon is the type of comedy that will not be for all audiences.

Don Jon Opening Weekend Prediction - $9.5 million


Expanding from limited release this weekend is Ron Howard’s Rush, a racing movie about the real life rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.  It has done really well with critics, and was able to earn just shy of $40,000 per theatre when it was released in New York and Los Angeles last weekend.  It has gained some great buzz from the Toronto International Film Festival, which will help its chances out a lot.  As well, it stars Chris Hemsworth who is gaining some real traction for his career with his role as Thor.  Even though it has many factors going for it, it is just too crowded of a weekend and it will probably end up fighting for second place in a close four-way competition (between the new releases and Prisoners).

Rush Wide Release Weekend Prediction - $11.5 million


Just a few miscellaneous notes here for you.  Metallica Through the Never, an IMAX concert movie with a fictional story line thrown in opens in over 300 locations this weekend.  The critical reception for it is fairly decent, 83% on Rotten Tomatoes as I type this.  For fans of the band, it looks like a great way to part with a few dollars this weekend.  Also, completely non-Metallica related, The Wolf Of Wall Street may not be in contention for any Oscars this year.  The Martin Scorsese movie has been pushed back due to a three hour run time, and they are currently trying to make the Christmas day release, though that may not quite happen.

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