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Weekend Predictions: Moviegoers Should be Scared to See a New Release this Weekend

October 22nd, 2015

Jem and the Holograms

The box office prediction contests for the past few weeks have had a horror / "horror" theme. That is to say, two people won horror movies and the third won movies that were so bad it is scary they exist. There are four new releases this weekend and they all epitomize the latter. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension has a review embargo, which is never a good sign, while the other three wide releases are all earning less than 20% positive reviews. Does that mean there's nothing worth seeing this week? Nope. Fortunately, Steve Jobs is expanding wide and should earn first place at the box office. It is the only film on this week's list with a shot at $20 million. This weekend last year, Ouija nearly reached $20 million and five other films earned $10 million. I don't think we will match that this year. It could be close and any gain or loss in the year-over-year comparison should be in single digits, so there's no reason to be overly concerned.

Steve Jobs has some of the best success in limited release that we've seen all year and this weekend it is expanding wide. The consensus is Steve Jobs will win the weekend box office race. The real question is whether or not it will top $20 million. The reviews are amazing and Michael Fassbender is considered the favorite to win an Oscar for Best Leading Actor. Is this enough buzz to get the film to $20 million this weekend? Maybe. It could get awfully close and I'm going with a weekend total of $18 million. How far it will go in the end depends a lot on whether or not it can turn its Awards Season buzz into nominations and wins.

The Last Witch Hunter is the biggest new release of the week opening in roughly 3,000 theaters. Its reviews are also the best of the three wide releases we have reviews for with a Tomatometer Score of ... 15% positive. Yep, 15% is still tops, at least at the moment. Additionally, while Vin Diesel's career box office numbers are nearing $6 billion worldwide, more than 60% of that has come from one franchise. His non-franchise films tend to perform poorly. On the other hand, there's not much in direct competition this weekend, so second place with $16 million seems a reasonable goal to set.

Goosebumps opened a little weaker than anticipated, but it is a kids movie with good reviews and lack of direct competition should help it hold on better than most. Some think it will earn second place, but third place with $15 million seems more likely.

The Martian should be next with $12 million over the weekend for a total of $163 million after four weeks of release. It dipped a little too much last weekend, so $200 million is going to be difficult to get to, unless Awards Season treats it well.

Bridge of Spies should round out the top five with $10 million, more or less. The film will be aided by its reviews and its more mature target demographic. Steve Jobs might siphon away more than a few ticket-buyers, which might keep it out of fifth place. It could be very close.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is the only other film with a chance at earning a spot in the top five. It does have two major roadblocks to deal with. Firstly, the movie is only playing in 1,400 theaters, because Paramount Pictures is putting it out on VOD in just two weeks. Secondly, there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The low theater count will likely keep it out of the top five, but it should be close with $9 million.

Up next is Rock the Kasbah. This film is earning the worst reviews of the weekend with a Tomatometer Score of just 9% positive. I was expecting a Tomatometer Score in the 40% to 60% positive range. Not good, but not a real liability either. This is shockingly bad. There's no way this can't have a negative effect on the box office numbers. There is a chance it will miss the Mendoza Line with just $4 million, but $6 million seems more likely.

Finally there's Jem and the Holograms, which is earning the best reviews of the new releases this weekend. I know I said the same thing about The Last Witch Hunter, but in the time it took to write this column, that has changed. I'm not editing the what I said above, because if the next review for Jem and the Holograms is negative, the two films will switch places again. Unfortunately, the negative reviews won't matter, because the buzz is so quiet that few people will even read the reviews and missing the Mendoza Line seems likely. It's opening in 2,400 theaters, so its upper limit is about $5 million. Look for $4 million over the weekend and a very quick exit from theaters.

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Goosebumps, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, The Last Witch Hunter, Rock the Kasbah, Jem and the Holograms, Steve Jobs, Fast and the Furious, Vin Diesel, Michael Fassbender