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Weekend Predictions: Are the Box Office Chances Going, Going, Gone?

October 2nd, 2014

Gone Girl poster

The first weekend in October promises to be better than the average weekend in September was, but then again, it would practically have to. Gone Girl is aiming for first place and most analysts think it will get there. On the other, Annabelle has an outside shot at top spot over the weekend. That seems unlikely, but thanks to its genre, it has a better shot at earning first place on Friday's daily chart. The final wide release of the week is Left Behind, which as it turns out isn't opening truly wide. The buzz is so bad that some expect the film to open below the Mendoza Line. This weekend last year, Gravity opened in first place with $55.79 million. No film is going to open with that much money. In fact, all three wide releases combined might not make that much. 2014 is going to lose in the year-over-year comparison, but frankly we should all be used to that by now.

Gone Girl is the latest film from David Fincher, who hasn't directed a bad movie since his first movie. This one stars Ben Affleck, who has made some great movies recently, but also some duds. His box office record as a director has been better than his acting success recently. That said, this film's buzz and its reviews are both fantastic, so it should be a major hit. However, given the genre and the director, I doubt it will get off to a fast start, but instead will rely on long legs to get to the century mark, if it gets there. Look for an opening weekend box office of $33 million, which will put it right on the border of reaching $100 million in the end.

Annabelle is a spin-off to The Conjuring, which was a surprise hit at the box office. This film likely won't come close to its predecessor, in part because the buzz is lower, in part because none of the cast are returning, but also because the early reviews are all negative. Granted, as I'm writing this, there are only three reviews and that is way too early to judge a movie, but this is still a bad sign. On the other hand, this is a horror film opening in October, so it shouldn't bomb completely. In fact, I think it will earn first place on Friday before settling into second place over the full weekend. Look for an opening of $26 million, but shorter legs than average.

The Equalizer will be pushed into third place during its sophomore stint. The reviews are fine, but Gone Girl will eat into its target audience, at least a little bit. If the film can avoid a 50% drop-off, then it will be on pace to reach $100 million with relative ease. I think that's asking a little too much, but a sophomore stint of $16 million will put it on pace to reach $95 million, maybe more, which means the studio might give it a little push to get it over the top.

The Boxtrolls and The Maze Runner will likely be in a very close race for fourth place with between $10 million and $11 million. It should be close enough that they will switch places at least once over the weekend. I think The Boxtrolls has a slight advantage this weekend, but then again, I thought it had a slight advantage last weekend and it still came in behind The Maze Runner.

The final wide release of the weekend is Left Behind, which is only debuting in roughly 1700 theaters, so it isn't truly wide. Additionally, the buzz is really quiet and the only review on Rotten Tomatoes is negative. There is a chance the film will open below the Mendoza Line and quickly disappear after that. I'm a little more optimistic, but not by much. I see an opening per theater average of close to $3,000 giving the film an opening weekend of $5 million.

One final note, The Good Lie is opening in 450 theaters this weekend and it is earning amazing reviews. If it can earn an opening weekend per theater average of just over $5,000, it should be able to grab a spot in the top ten. This isn't a sure thing, but I'm willing to bet it will grab tenth with $2.5 million.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Equalizer, The Boxtrolls, The Maze Runner, Gone Girl, The Good Lie, Left Behind, Annabelle, Ben Affleck, David Fincher