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2005 Preview: October

October 1st, 2005

October is a transition month. No holidays to boost the box office, but at least Halloween will help the few Horror films playing during the month. There are no sure-fire winners this month, nor does there appear to be any major flops. The competition will again hurt box office potentials as there are on average four wide releases each weekend, and that is way too many. Also worth noting, with award season heating up, there are more and more limited releases that could make noise at the box office (Good Night and Good Luck, for example). Discuss the upcoming movies on our forums.

Name: Domino
Studio: New Line
Official Site: DominoMovie.com
Release Date: October 14th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content/nudity and drug use.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Biography and Fashion
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: The Real Life story of a Fashion model turned bounty hunter. It could be an interesting story, but that seems unlikely at this point; the first trailer was awful and the second was only marginally better. Granted, a poor trailer doesn't necessarily mean the movie will be poor quality, but it will hurt the film's chances at the box office.

Name: Doom
Studio: Universal
Official Site: DoomMovie.com
Release Date: October 21st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence/gore and language.
Source: Based on a Video Game
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Alien Invasion. Visual Effects, and Video Game
Production Budget: $70 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: Not only is this film based on a video game, its visual style is taken directly from the Video Game it's based on. There are a couple of real concerns about the film's chances. First, the First Person Perspective will either set this film apart and make it unique, or it will be a complete disaster; it's just too soon to tell. Secondly, while The Rock was a hugely popular wrestler, he hasn't been able to carry a film; even his biggest hit was a mild disappointment. (Not including his cameo in The Mummy Returns.) It will most likely have the biggest opening of the weekend, but have the weakest legs.

Name: Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: Dreamworks.com
Release Date: October 21st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language.
Source: Based on a True Story
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Horse Racing
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $45 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: Dakota Fanning in a movie where she's not in mortal danger. I don't know if I can handle that. In three of her last four movies someone, or something, was trying to kill her, and the fourth she was just the narrator. Early buzz on the film is that it's marginally engaging, but less than inspiring; you'll be entertained while watching the movie, but instantly forget it once the credits roll. Even so, it should do well enough at the theatre / home market to allow the studio to earn a few bucks.

Name: Elizabethtown
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: Elizabethtown.com
Release Date: October 14th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual references.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Funeral Reunion and Road Trip
Production Budget: $57 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: Cameron Crowe has an excellent track record as a writer and director and this film not only has a fun, quirky feel and an unbelievable cast. However, it also has a price tag well above average for this kind of film and once you add in P&A, this film will need to make $120 million to $150 million to show a profit. And since these types of film tend to do poorly internationally, matters are even worse. He has directed one film that earned that much, but this film has a lot more in common with Almost Famous than Jerry McGuire. Maybe by the home market it will start to show a profit.

Name: The Fog
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: October 14th, 2005
MPAA Rating: N/A - Studio is aiming for a PG-13 rating
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Revenge and Hauntings
Production Budget: $18 million with at least one report having it much, much higher
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: The latest remake of a John Carpenter film. The last one wasn't bad, but was saddled with a bad release date and didn't make much of an impact at the box office. This film should do much better that the last, probably not with the critics, but the horror genre plus Halloween should help it at the box office. That won't be enough for it to be a major hit, but it will be enough for it to cover its production budget and then some.

Name: In Her Shoes
Studio: Fox
Official Site: InHerShoesMovie.com
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, language and some sexual content.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Dysfunctional Family
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: As a "Chick Flick," there is little doubt that plenty of women will see this movie; however, what will make it a major hit is if these women can bring their dates to the movie. Assuming they can, then its box office potential doubles. Early reviews are almost all positive, which is not surprising given the talent involved and the only real concern is the level of competition, but that's the case with every movie opening this month.

Name: Legend of Zorro
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: October 28th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Unknown - aiming for a PG-13 Rating
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Swashbuckler
Production Budget: $80 million
Box Office Potential: $65 million
Notes: When it comes to sequels there seems to be a magic number for the time between the original and the sequel, and that number is two years. Too early and the second movie feels rushed, too late and the people have forgotten what made the first film so much fun. (Lord of the Rings is an exception since the franchise was conceived and made as a trilogy and not as the first film and two sequels.) This film is being released more than seven years after the first one and during a less prestigious time of year. If the film can sell the same number of tickets then inflation would boost the box office to $130 million; however, the timing will probably reduce its box office potential to just half that amount.

Name: North Country
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: NorthCountryMovie.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: October 21st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences involving sexual harassment including violence and dialogue, and for language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Whistleblowers
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: Charlize Theron's follow-up to her Oscar performance in Monster and it's director Niki Caro's follow-up to the Oscar Nominated Whale Rider. So the film obviously has a lot to live up to, but the initial trailer certainly suggests it will meet or even beat expectations. Unfortunately, this will not necessarily translate into box office success and the film may have to wait till the home market to earn the majority of its revenue.

Name: Prime
Studio: Universal
Official Site: PrimeMovie.net
Release Date: October 28th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for sexual content including dialogue, and for language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Divorcee Romance
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $55 million
Notes: Good counter-programming for a weekend that will be dominated by horror films. The setup for this movie is inspired: A woman tells her therapist about the new man in her life and later the therapist finds out the new man is her son; however, because of client patient confidentiality she can't say anything to him. The writer / director is a relative newcomer (his only previous project was Boiler Room), but the trailer is excellent and the film should become a solid midlevel hit.

Name: Saw II
Studio: Lions Gate
Official Site: Saw2.com
Release Date: October 28th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for grisly violence and gore, terror, language and drug content.
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Serial Killer or Teenage Slasher, depending on your point of view.
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $4 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million.
Notes: Another poorly timed sequel. But unlike The Legend of Zorro, this film is being rushed out into theatres barely a year after the original. This film should start out faster, but crash quicker, leaving it with a similar box office. And with a microscopic production budget, that will be more than enough to generate a profit for everyone involved.

Name: Shopgirl
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Shopgirl.Movies.Go.Com
Release Date: October 21st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexual content and brief language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Cross-Class Romance
Production Budget: Unknown - Predicted at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: Steve Martin's career was revitalized with Bringing Down the House and his last film was the equally huge hit, Cheaper by the Dozen. However, while both those films easily topped $100 million at the box office, they were both savaged by critics. One would naturally assume that this film would do much better with the critics but be a smaller player at the box office. But so far its reviews are barely above the blockbuster comedies. Further complicating matters is the fact that the other two stars have never really carried a box office hit before. Lastly, the film is opening on the busiest weekend of the month and will likely get squeezed out by the competition, possibly to the extent that it has a sub-2,000 theatre opening.

Name: Stay
Studio: Fox
Official Site: StayTheMovie.com
Release Date: October 21st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some disturbing images.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Surprise Twist
Production Budget: $50 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: One of several films that will be helped out by its proximity to Halloween, but the competition will likely kill it. One factor hurting the film's chances is Ewan McGregor, who despite his popularity has never really been able to carry a movie (his biggest such film being Big Fish). Also, the Surprise Twist may not be accepted by moviegoers being very similar to another such movie (I can't say which one without spoiling the movie).

Name: Two for the Money
Studio: Universal
Official Site: TwoForTheMoney.net
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, a scene of sexuality and a violent act.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Gambling
Production Budget: $20 - $25 million reports vary
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: This film just seems too generic to become a big hit. Even with some big names, there won't be enough to set the film apart and that will hurt its buzz, which will hurt the film's box office potential, especially when taking into account the number of films it's competing with.

Name: Waiting...
Studio: Lions Gate
Official Site: WaitingTheFilm.com
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual humor, pervasive language and some drug use.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Food
Production Budget: Unknown, - estimated at under $15 million.
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: This film is generating a huge buzz among members of the Food Service Industries and there have been more than a few comparisons to Office Space. The real concern is whether the film will have too many inside jokes for the average moviegoer. I figure the worst case scenario with this film is it struggles theatrically, but makes its production budget back, and more, on the home market. On a side note, this is one of the films I'm rooting for, since it stars one of my personal favorites, Ryan Reynolds and the Canadian Contingent doesn't end there as Vanessa Lengies is also in the movie.

Name: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: WandG.com
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated G - for General Admission.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Animated
Genres: Stop Motion Animation
Production Budget: $30 million
Box Office Potential: $70 million
Notes: The Oscar winning duo of Wallace and Gromit star in their first feature length film, but I don't know if this film will do as well as Nick Park's previous film. The film opened in Australia already, but it didn't do as well as most people would have expected. I still think the film will debut with a slightly larger opening, but won't have the same legs.

Name: The Weather Man
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: TheWeatherManMovie.com
Release Date: October 28th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong language and sexual content.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Mid-Life Crisis
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Notes: I'm a fan of Nicolas Cage and I really like the trailers for this film, especially the new trailer. But even so, I'm wary of the film's chances. He's coming off Lord of War, which has only earned a disappointing $20 million so far and this film seems less marketable. No, that's not the right word. Hypeable is the word I'm looking for (even if it's not in any dictionary I can find). On the other hand, with a more mature demographic, it could have fantastic legs and double my prediction. That all depends on how strong the reviews are.

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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Saw II, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Legend of Zorro, In Her Shoes, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, The Fog, Doom, Elizabethtown, Prime, North Country, Waiting..., The Weather Man, Shopgirl, Domino, Stay, 2 For the Money