Friday, September 13, 2013

The Mob Battles the Supernatural for Box Office Supremacy

Witness Scott die a little inside as he tries to no spend the entire article tearing apart Insidious Chapter 2, and having to admit it will likely win the weekend.

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After coming off of the weakest box office weekend for the entire year, two wide release movies will take their chance in theatres in hopes of pumping some energy back into audiences throughout North America.  One of them an action/comedy in The Family and the other a supernatural horror flick in Insidious: Chapter 2.  At this point I will attempt to shed all bias against the second movie mentioned (be it the ever so righteous condemnation that I believe it deserves for highlighting and exemplifying all things that are outrageously wrong with modern horror films, or the discrimination by relation for being a sequel to a movie that made me want to attempt turning my jaw inside out and use my new and more awesome mandible to commence chewing my own face off) and play fair with all parties.

First up is The Family, which stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as husband and wife in a mob family who is relocated to France by witness protection.  That’s a definite heavyweight star pairing for this movie as there are ten Oscar nominations (including three wins for De Niro) between the two leads.  I do not think, however, that the star power will be enough to entice audiences.  Pfeiffer does not seem to have the drawing name that she used to, and De Niro has not been particularly frugal with his choice of movies lately, which may have decreased his stock. 

It is sometimes a bad sign when a movie has no advanced screenings for critics.  When it happens I get the feeling like the studios know that they may have a dud on their hands and are trying to keep the negative reviews from the public for as long as possible.  Up until Wednesday of this week there were still no reviews for The Family and, sure enough, when they started to roll in they were primarily negative.  At the time of writing this, The Family has only 28% on Rotten Tomatoes.  When we pair that with the fact that the day before its release it had 136 tweets about it we start to get a grim idea of how this movie will perform.

The Family Opening Weekend Prediction - $7.5 million

For the second time in two months, director James Wan is releasing a supernatural horror film.  Two months ago it was The Conjuring, and now it is the follow up to his 2011 horror Insidious.  People who paid attention to a minor detail at the end of the first movie (nothing huge, just the lead male character strangling someone to death with his bare hands) may be a little confused as to why the trailers for Insidious 2 show no lingering effects from the first one (nothing huge, just a curiosity as to why the male lead is not behind bars, or depending on the state, the subject of a lethal dose).  Minor plot hole aside, there is an undeniable buzz around the sequel and some are looking at it to be the next horror franchise.  Compare the sub 200 tweets that The Family gets in one day with the 80,000 tweets Insidious Chapter 2has collected the day before release for some context.

Wan’s last movie, The Conjuring, set the highest opening weekend in history for an original supernatural horror movie ($41 million opening weekend) and ended up as the tenth highest grossing movie of the summer ($135 million domestic).  James Wan is becoming a name that people equate with horror, and there is a lot of energy and excitement around his career right now.  The performance of The Conjuring has added a lot of potential to Insidious Chapter 2, and will most likely over-ride the mediocre critical reception at the moment.  Insidious took in $13 million its first weekend and came third in the box office.  It is pretty much a given that the sequel will run away with its opening weekend, but by how much is the really hard question to answer.  It is set in a weekend that usually does not do well, with two of the last three years having a Resident Evil movie take first place.  In 2006, The Exorcism of Emily Rose opened to $30 million, so it is quite possible for a supernatural horror to make the most of its scheduling.

Insidious Chapter 2 Opening Weekend Prediction – $38 million

Lastly, in amongst the limited release movies of this weekend is one that stands out and deserves a bit of recognition.  Blue Caprice is a movie that is based off of the events of the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002.  It is the feature film directorial debut of Alexandre Moors, and is currently receiving much critical praise.  Whether or not it will ever enter serious awards conversation is secondary to the gripping look into violence and insanity that it appears to offer up.  If anything, it may offer some insight into why some people make the progression to anti-social behaviour, and it appears to do that without glorifying the acts or creating an anti-hero.

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