Friday, October 18, 2013

Gravity Tries to Rise to the Top for a Third Week

A slew of interesting movies enter the box office this weekend along with Gravity remaining a must-see movie event.  Scott weighs-in on what pictures he thinks have the best shot at making it to the top of the box office.

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For the third weekend in a row, I am thinking that Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity will be taking first place in the box office. Last weekend it suffered a mere drop of 23%, and it will probably need to drop 50% or so this weekend in order to have another movie pass it. It does have some stout (and not so stout) competition, though. There are three wide releases tussling for your dollars this weekend, as well as a number of really interesting limited releases. Let’s take a look at how things may break down.

Horror re-makes are a dime a dozen, but rarely is there one that looks intriguing. Kimberly Peirce is directing Stephen King’s Carrie, and the rumour is that this version of the film will be aiming to stay close to the written material. It stars Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore, a possibly great combination to play Carrie and her mother. The highest opening weekend for a horror re-make is Friday the 13th (2009), which brought in $40.5 million before dropping an incredible 80% for its second weekend. I doubt that Carrie will come anywhere near those opening weekend numbers, but it should be able to hold a bit better in its second weekend. Chloe Moretz is still building a name for herself, and this movie should help to establish herself as a rising star.

Carrie Opening Weekend Prediction - $20.5 million

Escape Plan is a movie that stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, a film that is around 25 years too late. Is it better late than never? I will be quite bold and say, ‘nope.’ Both of these action heroes have found it hard to gain the audiences that they once commanded, and being together is no longer a nostalgia sale, thanks to The Expendables. During the winter, both stars had movies hit theatres with a thud. Schwarzenegger had The Last Stand which made $37 million worldwide on a budget of $30 million (it may look like it made money, but the studios do not get all of the money made in the box office, and there would have been promotional budgets in there as well). For Stallone, the story was much worse. His movie, Bullet to the Head, made a very dismal $13 million worldwide on a budget of $55 million. The budget for Escape Plan (a movie that seemed to have a constantly shifting title for a while) is a staggering $70 million, which I do not think they are going to get back.

Escape Plan Opening Weekend Prediction - $8 million

Also opening this weekend is a movie that at one point had some Oscar buzz around it. The talk of awards seemed to end during the Toronto International Film Festival when The Fifth Estate played.  After the balloon was deflated a bit, Disney started talking about how the movie was not being marketed as an Oscar contender. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. The movie, which did have a good amount of anticipation behind it at one point, is currently sitting at a Rotten Tomato rating of 38%, a fact that will not help it when there are so many quality films in theatres. Earlier this year saw a biopic about a technical personality, which ended up failing to connect with audiences (Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, which opened to $6 million) and The Fifth Estate will probably follow suit.

The Fifth Estate Opening Weekend Prediction - $3.8 million


In limited release, there are two movies that have some legitimate Oscar potential. One of them is 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. I could go deeper into the cast, but it would take an extremely long time, as it is just brimming with talent. Brad Pitt is a producer of this film about a free man being kidnapped and sold into slavery, and it is said that without his participation this would have been a movie that may never have been greenlit. The best picture contest at the moment seems to be a two horse race between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave and it is time now for audiences to be able to compare and weigh in.

12 Years a Slave Limited Release Opening Weekend Prediction - $70,000 per theatre


All is Lost is the other limited release movie that I mentioned above. Similar to Gravity, it is a lone survivor style movie. It is directed and written by J.C. Chandor and stars Robert Redford. Literally… just Robert Redford. He is the only person in the entire movie, and early reviews seem to indicate that he is up to the challenge of carrying an entire movie and is a strong contender for an Oscar. All is Lost opens at 6 theatres, and I am opting out on the prediction (tossing in the towel) as I am just too short on time to do the needed research for saying something educated.

Heck, I’ll shoot from the hip and see what happens.

All is Lost Limited Release Opening Weekend Blindfire Prediction - $45,000 per theatre

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