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Weekend Predictions: Will Goosebumps Bump Off the Competition?

October 15th, 2015


We are getting closer to Halloween and there are two scary movies opening wide this weekend. Goosebumps is a live-action family film and as we saw with Pan, those are rarely big hits. On the other hand, this film is earning great reviews and cost about 60% less to make, so even if it just matches Pan's opening, it will still have a shot at profitability. Crimson Peak is an old-fashioned Haunted House horror film, similar to The Woman in Black, but with a $55 million production budget. That might be too much to recoup. Finally there's Bridge of Spies, a Cold War era Spy Thriller. Its reviews are the best for this week, but its target audience isn't known for rushing out to see a movie opening weekend. This weekend last year, there were five films with more than $10 million, but only one with more than $20 million. This year, we should have the same number of $10 million movies, but at least two $20 million movies and perhaps even a $30 million movie. I think 2015 has the edge in the year-over-year comparison, but unless the new releases are bigger hits than most anticipate, it could be close.

Goosebumps is a pseudo-adaptation of the books by R.L. Stine. Its more meta than a regular adaptation. In the movie, Jack Black plays R.L. Stine and he, and a trio of kids, have to deal with the after effects of his creations escaping the books. This is probably the best way to adapt the works of R.L. Stine, because there are too many books to choose from. The reviews are 76% positive, which is better than expected and more than enough to help its box office numbers. It is also the biggest release of the weekend and should grab first place with as much as $32 million. That's probably a little high, but $28 million is a more reasonable goal.

The Martian dipped just 32% during its sophomore stint earning a hair over $37 million in the process. Usually the sophomore decline is the sharpest decline, until the film starts losing theaters. However, last weekend, The Martian only had to deal with Pan, which flopped both with critics and with moviegoers. This weekend, the film has to deal with three wide releases, all of which are earning overall positive reviews. That's going to hurt the film's box office chances. That said, a weekend haul of $23 million is still a great deal of money and will lift its running tally to close to $150 million.

There could be a really close battle for third place between Crimson Peak and Bridge of Spies. Crimson Peak is a Gothic horror film, much like the classic Hammer Film. We saw with The Woman in Black that films like this can still draw in an audience. Unfortunately, I'm not sure they can draw a big enough audience to cover this film's $55 million production budget. The reviews are good and its Tomatometer Score is 71% positive at the moment. Add in Halloween, and the movie has a shot at $20 million. I really want it to get there, so I'm a little worried that my desire is clouding my judgment. So perhaps $17 million is a better prediction.

Bridge of Spies should earn more than Crimson Peak does, in the end, but it will likely have a slower start. Its target demographic is more mature than the one Crimson Peak is going for. Additionally, the horror genre historically has fast openings and quick declines, which gives Crimson Peak the edge over the weekend. On the other hand, Bridge of Spies' reviews are flirting with the 90% positive level, which could be enough to make it an Awards Season contender. Look for a $16 million opening, but long legs.

Hotel Transylvania 2 should round out of the top five with about $12 million. The film has already pulled in close to $125 million, which is likely more than it cost to make and advertise. Even if it didn't make another dollar domestically, it will still break even early in its home market run.

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Hotel Transylvania 2, Crimson Peak, Pan, Goosebumps, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, Jack Black, R.L. Stine