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Weekend Predictions: Busy September Weekend is Quantity Over Quality

September 25th, 2015

The Intern

There are two wide releases this week, a wide expansion, and a semi-wide release. That's a lot of films to talk about. Of the three new films, none of them are earning more than 50% positive reviews. This is sadly typical of this time of year. Hotel Transylvania 2 is easily the biggest new release of the week and the only film with a shot at $40 million. The second wide release, The Intern, and the wide expansion, Everest, should be in a tight race for second place with $20 million each. On the other hand, The Green Inferno, the semi-wide release, is staring down the barrel of the Mendoza Line. If you look at the top three films from last year and compare them to the top three films from this year, they look about the same. The Equalizer's opening is on low the end of Hotel Transylvania 2's range of expectations. Additionally, the depth this year looks better than last year. 2015 should end the month on a high note in the year-over-year comparison.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is the follow-up to Hotel Transylvania. The earlier film earned mixed reviews, but scored nearly $150 million domestically. This film is earning slightly weaker reviews and its box office chances are significantly weaker. On the low end, the film should pull in just over $30 million. On the high end, it will top $40 million. I'm going with $36 million, which still should be enough to reach $100 million domestically.

Everest opened last weekend in over 500 IMAX theaters earning an average of $13,000. This weekend, it expands its theater count to just over 3,000, which will likely cause its per theater average to be cut in half. That would leave the movie with a sophomore stint of just under $20 million. That's hardly a blockbuster, but with a reported production budget of $55 million, it will be enough to break even early on the film's home market run.

The Intern stars Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, both of whom are Oscar-winners. On the other hand, this film won't earn any major awards. Film is not really bad; its reviews are just a hair below 50% positive, which is fine for this time of year. The buzz is also fine, for this time of year. It has a shot at second place with just over $20 million, but I think third place with $17 million is more likely.

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is going to fall from first to fourth with $14 million over the weekend for a two-week total of $52 million. This puts it about $6 million behind The Maze Runner's pace and that gap will likely only grow.

Black Mass should be right behind with $13 million. Its reviews are 75% positive, which puts it just ahead of Everest for best film in the top five. This should help its legs, as well its more mature target audience. That said, there's a lot of new films to deal with.

The final new release on this week's list is The Green Inferno. It's the latest film written and directed by Eli Roth. He hasn't directed a box office hit since Hostel. (He did produce The Last Exorcism.) It is very unlikely this film will break that streak. Its reviews are mixed at 45% positive, which is well below where it was at the beginning of the month. Its box office chances are also well below where they were at the beginning of the month. The film is playing in 1,500 theaters and many analysts think it will miss the Mendoza Line at the box office. I'm not that pessimistic, but I'm very close. Look for an opening weekend of between $3 million and $4 million.

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Green Inferno, Everest, The Intern, Black Mass, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Eli Roth