Thor: The Dark World will easily win the race for the top of the box office this weekend. It really has no competition for top spot, and only token competition as far as new releases are concerned. About Time is the only other new wide release, and quite frankly, I should add quotes around both "new" and "wide", as it opened in limited release last weekend, will expand to 1,400 theaters this weekend and it likely won't reach the top five. It will be interesting to see if Ender's Game will hold up next to the competition from Thor, but that seems unlikely. Thor: The Dark World could do well when compared to last year's number one film, Skyfall, but 2013 just doesn't have the depth to thrive, so 2013 will lose again in the year-over-year comparison.
Thor: The Dark World is the first Thor film in the post-Avengers world. Iron Man 3 was released earlier this year and it saw its opening weekend grow 36% and its overall box office grow 94%. We might see an even bigger increase when it comes to the opening weekend, but not when it comes to the legs. The film's reviews are good, but not great, with a lot of people saying it doesn't live up to The Avengers, but that seems to be praising it with faint damnation. The buzz is great and the film's first weekend on the international market was very strong. There is a chance it will crack $100 million during its opening weekend and anything less than $80 million will be seen as a disappointment. I really want this film to crack $100 million, because Thor is the first super hero comic I ever owned. (It was #337, the one with Beta Ray Bill.) I'm a little concerned that I'm letting what I want to happen get in the way of predicting what will happen. Because of that, I'm going to be a little more cautious and predict an opening weekend of $84 million.
It seems very likely that Ender's Game will drop at least 50% to just over $13 million, but that appears to be the high end of expectations for the movie. With reviews that are only good, but not great, and direct competition, plus a genre that draws in fanboys, it could fall more than 60% to just under $10 million. I think the higher end is more likely, but a fall to just over $12 million will still be enough to all but kill its chances at reaching profitability.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa might score second place, if Ender's Game really collapses. It will likely add about $11 million to its running tally, which will rise to about $78 million. This will keep it on pace to reach $100 million by the time it is done its box office run.
Free Birds will be next with just over $9 million. It will be hurt by its reviews, but helped by its lack of direct competition and its target audience. Families with young kids don't have a lot of options at the box office, so it is either see this film or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 for the third or fourth time.
Last Vegas should be right behind, also with just over $9 million. It too should be hurt by its reviews, but helped by its target audience. More mature moviegoers are less likely to rush out to see a film during its opening weekend, so these films tend to have better legs. The reviews are not as bad as Free Birds' reviews are, but more mature moviegoers are also less likely to see a movie with weaker reviews than when it comes to family films.
The final new wide release is the aforementioned not truly wide, nor truly new film, About Time. Its reviews are good, very good compared to most romantic comedies; however, its start in limited release doesn't suggest a breakout opening this weekend. It would need to practically match last weekend's per theater average to crack the top five, and that is simply not going to happen. Look for an opening of $4 million and a quick exit from theaters. Hopefully more people will check it out on the home market.
Date posted: 2013-11-08