BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS FOR THE WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 30 – OCTOBER 2
This weekend four new films will try to make a dent at the box office: Anna Faris revisits her ex-boyfriends to see if she missed out on Mr. Right in What’s Your Number? from New Regency Productions, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen tackle cancer in dramedy 50/50 from Mandate Pictures, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz move in to a ghostly nightmare in Universal’s Dream House and TriStar releases Christian family/small town police drama Courageous from the producers of Fireproof. None of these newcomers are packing too much heat and they will be fighting for a place in the Top 5 while holdover films, The Lion King 3D, Dolphin Tale 3D and Moneyball duke it out for box office supremacy. Based on my estimates, the Top 10 will generate $91.5 million over the weekend, up approximately 9.9% from last year when Sony’s award season entry The Social Network and Warner Bros. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole led the overall Top 10 to a total of $82.4 million.
What’s Your Number?
R-rated comedy What’s Your Number? from New Regency Productions stars Anna Faris as a single woman who decides to revisit her ex-boyfriends to see if she missed out on Mr. Right. The film co-stars Chris Evans as her lothario neighbor who helps her on her quest. The film also features a bevy of cameos from actors such as Andy Samberg, Chris Pratt and Zachary Quinto as Faris’ exes. The trailers for the film are quite funny and the marketplace is ripe for a comedy hit giving What’s Your Number? the best chances of success at the box office out of all the newcomers this weekend. The biggest thing working against the comedy is its formulaic plot, but Anna Faris has had some success in the genre in the past and may propel the movie to be this year’s Easy A.
This is the first film Faris has headlined since 2008’s surprise hit The House Bunny opened with $14.5 million and went on to collect $48.2 million. Her last two comedies, this year’s little seen Take Me Home Tonight ($3.4 million opening/$6.9 million total) and 2009’s Observe and Report ($11.0 million opening/$24.0 million total) failed at the box office, but to be fair, those films weren’t really Anna Faris vehicles and owe their failure to their leading men, Topher Grace and Seth Rogen respectively. The question is whether audiences will support her in a leading role after a three year break from headlining. With not many films in theatres catering to young women right now, What’s Your Number? may draw in the date crowd this weekend. Expect What’s Your Number? to ring up a solid $12.5 million.
R-rated dramedy 50/50 is based on writer Will Reiser’s real life bout with cancer. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the young man stricken with the disease and Seth Rogen as his best friend. The cast is rounded out by Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard and takes a comedic look at Reiser’s diagnosis and subsequent battle with the disease. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been carving out quite a career for himself, gaining the respect of audiences and critics alike by starring in many quality independent films over the last few years. His supporting turn in Inception has brought him more into the public eye, as will his role in next summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. This is his first starring role since Inception and it will be interesting to see if the exposure he received from that film will translate into box office prowess; it certainly didn’t help co-star Tom Hardy’s well-reviewed Warrior.
The film has strong support in Seth Rogen. The actor has plenty of detractors but you can’t argue with his success at the box office. He’s had a few clunkers (the above mentioned Observe and Report), but overall he has a solid batting average. That being said, the film is about cancer, a subject that many moviegoers don’t find entertaining. This in and of itself will keep the film from breaking out at the box office. The cast and rave reviews from critics will guarantee the film has a decent opening and good legs in the weeks ahead, but it is doubtful the film will earn more than $30 million overall. I think 50/50 will earn about $9.5 million this weekend.
Universal’s PG-13 rated suspense thriller Dream House stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. The film directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father) is about a couple and their two daughters who move into a house only to discover that the last family to live there was murdered by the husband/father. Naomi Watts plays their neighbor who helps them unravel the mystery behind the deaths. The film has a wonderfully talented cast, but none of them have all that much pull at the box office.
Craig, outside of the James Bond series, has yet to fulfill his potential at the box office. This summer’s Cowboys & Alienswas a huge test of his reliability at the box office and the film tanked. Craig will be redeemed with what is sure to be a hit this December with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The respected cast might have been enough to pull in older moviegoers who normally skip this type of haunted house movie, but Universal’s decision to not screen the film for critics has all but guaranteed that that will not happen. They clearly know that the movie is terrible and have put minimal effort into the marketing. Dream House should scare up about $8 million this weekend.
Courageous is a faith based drama about four police officers who are forced to a decision that will forever alter their lives after an unexpected tragedy. The film is directed by Alex Kendrick who along with his brother Stephen are responsible for the Christian themed hits Fireproof and Facing the Giants. Their films play very well to churchgoing audiences and many church groups have already purchased tickets for mass screenings of the film. The film is opening in about 1200 theatres (a typical wide release is 2500+ theatres) but that shouldn’t stop the film from meeting expectations; it will just mean that there will be more sold out showings.
2006’s Facing the Giants scored a $1.1 million opening and displayed sturdy legs to collect a total of $10.2 million. Two years later the Kendrick’s scored an even bigger hit with Fireproof starring former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron. That film opened with $6.8 million in 800 theatres and went on to an impressive final gross of $33.5 million. At this point the Kendrick’s have a loyal Christian following so there is no reason to believe that Courageous won’t perform on par withFireproof. It might not open quite as big due to the cast largely being made up of unknowns; Kirk Cameron definitely gave Fireproof a boost, drawing in some non-Christian audiences who were curious to see their former teen idol all grown up. Look for Courageous to collect about $5.5 million this weekend.
Based on my estimates for the Friday to Sunday period, total box office will be up about 9.9% from 2010.
Source: the-numbers.com, HSX, filmgo.net, imdb.com