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2017 Preview: October

October 1st, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

September destroyed the previous September monthly record for total box office take, with $800 million or so (we won’t know the exact figure until after the weekend), which tops 2016’s record of $616 million. Granted, this is almost entirely due to It’s record breaking run, and the rest of the month was merely average. Kingsman: The Golden Circle was the only other film to come close to $100 million. October doesn’t look any better, as far as depth is concerned. Blade Runner 2049 is widely expected to be the biggest hit of the month, but it is the only film expected to reach $100 million domestically. Boo 2 should be the second biggest hit of the month, while there are only a couple of other films that have a shot at $50 million. Part of the problem is the level of competition, as there are 16 films opening during the four October weekends. (Needless to say, some of the predictions below will be a little short, as there’s not much to say about a film that will barely open in the top ten and disappear two weeks later.) That’s way too many and most will be buried by the competition. Last October was a flop, as no film earned more than $100 million at the box office. There were a few films that came close, including the original Boo! movie. As long as Blade Runner 2049 matches expectations, 2017 should win the year-over-year comparison by a small margin. If we get one surprise hit, then 2017 has a real shot at closing the gap with 2016 by a significant margin. I choose to be cautiously optimistic.

Weekend of October 6th, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

The first weekend of October is by far the best of the month with Blade Runner 2049 expected to get off to a fast start. It could earn more during its opening weekend than all but a few other October releases earn in total. The Mountain Between Us looks like busted Oscar-bait. Finally, there’s My Little Pony: The Movie. Had this come out during Friendship Is Magic’s peak popularity, it could have been a midlevel hit. Now I’m not sure it will open in the top five. Victoria and Abdul is also expanding wide, but in this case, “wide” means nationwide and not truly wide. This weekend last year, The Girl on the Train won with close to $25 million and the three wide releases earned less than $40 million combined. Blade Runner 2049 should earn more than that by itself, giving 2017 a solid win to start the month.

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: BladeRunnerMovie.com
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: October 6th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Delayed Sequel, Robot, Post Apocalypse, Police Procedural, Film Noir
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve
Written By: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, Hampton Fancher, Ridley Scott, Philip K. Dick
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford
Production Budget: Reported at $185 million
Box Office Potential: $135 million

When there was talk of remaking Blade Runner, it seemed like a really bad idea. Turning it into the delayed sequel didn’t change my opinion that much. Having Denis Villeneuve as the director is what sold me on the film. The early trailers didn’t give away much, but did add to the buzz and I started to get really excited about the film’s chances. Then the early reviews started to come in. As I’m writing this, its Tomatometer Score is 98% positive. Furthermore, early ticket sales are pushing it towards the October opening weekend record, which is currently held by Gravity at $55.79 million. I’m not saying it is going to break that record, but I’m also not willing to bet against it either.

On the downside, the film cost $185 million to make, so it will need to break the October record to have a realistic shot at breaking even in under a reasonable amount of time.

The Mountain Between Us

The Mountain Between Us
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/The-Mountain-Between-Us
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 6th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Accidental Death, Trapped, Mountain Climbing, Extreme Weather
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad
Written By: Chris Weitz, J. Mills Goodloe, Charles Martin
Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet
Production Budget: $40 million to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star as two airplane crash survivors who have to work together to survive and fall in love in the process. The early reviews are good, but not great. It also has to deal with the biggest release of the month as competition, so its box office chances are even weaker. That said, it could become a midlevel hit and break even sometime on the home market.

My Little Pony: The Movie

My Little Pony
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: http://www.mylittlepony.movie/
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: October 6th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for mild action.
Source: Based on Toy
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Animal Lead, Talking Animals, Dragon, Monster, Military Coup, Pirates, Mermaids
Directed By: Jayson Thiessen
Written By: Meghan McCarthy, Rita Hsiao, Lauren Faust, Bonnie Zacherle
Starring: Tara Strong, Kristin Chenoweth, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, Cathy Weseluck
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic debuted almost exactly seven years ago. It became an instant hit and even developed a large crossover audience with adult males. Had this movie come out 5 years ago, it could have become a midlevel hit. Now I think it is too late. It could still have a cult appeal, but I don’t think it will have any real impact at the box office.

Weekend of October 13th, 2017

Happy Death Day

There’s a good chance Blade Runner 2049 will remain in first place during the second weekend of the month, as none of the new releases this week are expected to be major hits, or even midlevel hits. Happy Death Day is expected to be the biggest new release over the weekend, while Marshall should be the biggest hit overall, if it gets some serious Awards Season buzz. The Foreigner had a good trailer, but the buzz hasn’t grown in the way needed to be a box office hit. Also opening this week is Professor Marston and The Wonder Women; however, it appears to be opening semi-wide and not truly wide. It certainly doesn’t look like a mainstream hit, although it could be an art house hit. This weekend last year, The Accountant earned first place with just under $25 million. That should be better than any of the new releases this year make, but 2017 does have better depth, so hopefully we will eke out a win in the year-over-year comparison.

The Foreigner

The Foreginer
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheForeignerMovie.com
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Release Date: October 13th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexual material.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Action
Keywords: Terrorism, Death of a Son or Daughter, Revenge, Ireland, Politicians, The Past Catching up with You
Directed By: Martin Campbell
Written By: David Marconi, Stephen Leather
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan
Production Budget: Reported at $35 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million

Jackie Chan stars as Quan, a man whose daughter is killed in a terrorist attack. He goes to a politician, played by Pierce Brosnan, and asks for help finding those responsible, as the politician had connections to the IRA back in the day. When he refuses, Quan uses the skills he learned in his past to get to the bottom of things. The trailer looks great, but the early reviews are mixed. Furthermore, there are two bigger releases coming out this week and this film and Blade Runner 2049 share a significant portion of their audiences. I don’t think it will be a bomb, but it will need help on the home market to break even.

Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: http://www.happydeathdaymovie.com/
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: October 13th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence/terror, crude sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: College, Murder Mystery, Time Travel, One Day, Development Hell
Directed By: Christopher Landon
Written By: Christopher Landon, Scott Lobdell
Starring: Jessica Rothe
Production Budget: $5 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

Jessica Rothe plays a woman who is murdered on the night of her birthday, only to wake up the morning of her birthday and have to relive the whole day again. She has to continue to relive this day until she can figure out who killed her and how to stop them.

This film is a low budget horror movie coming out on Friday the 13th before Halloween. This seems like a sure hit. Or to be more accurate, a sure hit compared to its combined budget. It’s not going to crack $100 million at the box office. It likely won’t top $50 million, but if it can just get close, it will break even before it reaches the home market.

Marshall

Marshall
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: http://www.marshallmovie.com/
Distributor: Open Road
Release Date: October 13th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and some strong language.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Supreme Court, African-American, Biography, Lawyers
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin
Written By: Michael Koskoff, Jacob Koskoff
Starring: Chadwick Boseman
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimaged at $20 million to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

Chadwick Boseman stars in his third biopic, this time playing Thurgood Marshall. The film takes place in the 1930s, very early in his law career, rather than focusing on his Supreme Court days. The film is clearly going for Awards Season glory, but at the moment, it is too soon to tell if it will get there. The early reviews are promising, but early reviews can be deceiving. If it does earn serious Awards Season buzz and has the reviews to back it up, it could have long enough legs to be the second biggest box office hit of the month.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: ProfessorM.movie/
Distributor: Annapurna Pictures
Release Date: October 13th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content including brief graphic images, and language.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Biography, Artists, Writing and Writers, Comic Industry, Bigamy or Polygamy, LGBT
Directed By: Angela Robinson
Written By: Angela Robinson
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million

A biopic of the creator of Wonder Woman and the two feminist women who helped shape the character. The early reviews are positive, while the character has never been more popular with the wider moviegoing audience. However, the distributor doesn’t have a track record we can rely on, while the buzz is way too quiet to overcome this with serious Awards Season buzz giving it a boost.

Weekend of October 20th, 2017

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

The third weekend of the month is the busiest with five wide releases. Or to be more pedantic, there are five films scheduled to open wide this week. With that many films, it almost seems inevitable that at least one of them will fail to debut in 2,000 or more theaters, or perhaps will be pushed back entirely. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween should have no problem earning first place this weekend. Only the Brave could be a midlevel hit, especially if it finds some Awards Season buzz. The other three releases, Geostorm, Same Kind of Different as Me, and The Snowman, are more likely to be ignored by moviegoers. This weekend last year, the original Boo! led the way with $28.50 million. Boo 2 should top that by a little bit helping 2017 to a small win in the year-over-year competition.

Geostorm

Geostorm
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Geostorm.Movie
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for destruction, action and violence.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Action
Keywords: Extreme Weather, Outer Space, Space Program, Assassination, Political Assassination, Delayed Release, Development Hell, Near Future
Directed By: Dean Devlin
Written By: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at over $100 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

Geostorm is a disaster movie in every sense of the word. It is about a natural disaster caused by a weather control machine gone haywire. It is also a complete disaster in real life. The film was shot in 2014 with a scheduled 2016 release date. Terrible test screeners resulted in expensive reshoots. I really don’t think that will help it with critics or with moviegoers. It’s developed a reputation already and unless its reviews are surprisingly strong, audiences will ignore it.

Only the Brave

Only the Brave
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: OnlyTheBrave-Movie.com/
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, some sexual references, language and drug material.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Disaster, Firefighter, Arizona, Death of a Colleague, 2010s
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
Written By: Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer
Starring: Josh Brolin
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $40 million to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

Only the Brave is another disaster movie, this time based on real life events. It reminds me too much of Deepwater Horizon, but with less star power and too much competition. That said, it likely won’t bomb and it could break even, if it finds an audience on the home market.

Same Kind of Different as Me

Same Kind of Different as Me
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: SameKindOfDifferentAsMeMovie.com
Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements including some violence and language.
Source: Based on Factual Book/Article
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Faith-Based, Dysfunctional Family, Homeless, Prophetic Dreams, Dream Sequence, Romance
Directed By: Michael Carney
Written By: Michael Carney, Alexander Foard, Ron Hall, Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million

I’m tempted to include this film in our list of movies that had to deal with Development Hell. This film was produced by Paramount, but was dropped. Paramount, the studio that thought releasing Monster Trucks was a good idea dropped this film. Oh boy. Pure Flix picked it up and while this film is certainly a good fit with their business model, they haven’t had a lot of success at the box office. If this film matches our $15 million prediction, it will be their third biggest hit of all time.

The Snowman

The Snowman
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheSnowmanMovie.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for grisly images, violence, some language, sexuality and brief nudity.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Norway, Serial Killer, Cold Case, Police Procedural
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson
Written By: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, Jo Nesbo
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

The Snowman sounds like a cheesy horror movie in the same vein as the Jack Frost movies, which are movies about a killer snowman. In this movie, “The Snowman” is the name given to a serial killer who only kills during snow storms. They were thought to be inactive, but a recent murder means they could be back. The cast is great, but the buzz is a little quiet and it will need good reviews to have a chance at finding an audience. It is too soon to tell if that will happen, but I fear good reviews might not be enough, as there are too many other films opening wide this week.

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Boo.movie
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual references, drug content, language and some horror images.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Halloween, Directing Yourself, Screenplay Written By the Star, Supernatural, Camping, Teenage Slasher, Spoof, Same Actor, Multiple Roles
Directed By: Tyler Perry
Written By: Tyler Perry
Starring: Tyler Perry
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $65 million

It’s a Madea movie. What more do you need to know? The direct predecessor earned close to $75 million. I think this film will earn less, but still be one of the biggest hits of the month.

Weekend of October 27th, 2017

Jigsaw

The month ends with three films, led by Jigsaw, which marks the return of one of the biggest horror franchises of all time. I think its time has passed. Suburbicon is a black comedy and those rarely do well with critics or with audiences. Finally there’s Thank You for Your Service, which will need some Awards Season buzz to find an audience. This weekend last year was a dud with Boo! repeating in top spot and Inferno struggling with $14.86 million. I’m not sure this year’s crop is really any better and the year-over-year comparison will be close.

Jigsaw

Jigsaw
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: JigsawSaves.com
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: October 27th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Horror
Keywords: Family Affair, Torture Porn, Kidnap, Escape, Posthumous Adventure, Murder Mystery, Serial Killer, Delayed Sequel
Directed By: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Written By: Josh Stolberg, Peter Goldfinger
Starring: Tobin Bell
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $10 million to $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million

It has been seven years since a Saw film came out and in that time, I think the audiences have moved on. Not only have people moved on from Saw specifically, but I think Torture Porn as a subgenre has fallen out of favor so much it has been relegated to the home market. The Saw brand is the only thing keeping this film in theaters and if the early buzz is anything to go on, it won’t be enough to save its box office chances.

Suburbicon

Suburbicon
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: SuburbiconMovie.com
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: October 27th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Black Comedy
Keywords: Crime Caper, Death of a Spouse or Fiancée / Fiancé, Young Child Dealing with the Death of a Parent, Infidelity, Life in a Small Town
Directed By: George Clooney
Written By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million

A black comedy written by the Coen Brothers and George Clooney and directed by George Clooney and starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac. This should be a great movie, but the early reviews are mixed, to be kind. Furthermore, black comedies rarely do well at the box office, so the movie’s star power likely won’t be able to save it.

Thank You for Your Service

Thank You for Your Service
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: ThankYouForYourServiceMovie.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: October 27th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for strong violent content, language throughout, some sexuality, drug material and brief nudity.
Source: Based on Factual Book/Article
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Iraq War, Returning Soldiers, PTSD
Directed By: Jason Hall
Written By: Jason Hall, David Finkel
Starring: Miles Teller
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

This is a story of three Iraq war veterans returning from war and trying to assimilate back into civilian life. If the film earns great reviews, we are talking about Awards Season level reviews, then it could find an audience in theaters. If not, then I don’t think audiences will be too interested in this movie.

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Suburbicon, Geostorm, The Mountain Between Us, Blade Runner 2049, Same Kind of Different as Me, My Little Pony: The Movie, Marshall, The Snowman, Only the Brave, Jigsaw, Victoria and Abdul, Thank You for Your Service, Happy Death Day, The Foreigner, Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, Professor Marston & The Wonder Women, Saw, Madea, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Kate Winslet, Jon Voight, Renée Zellweger, Tobin Bell, Josh Brolin, Pierce Brosnan, Gerard Butler, Martin Campbell, Jackie Chan, Kristin Chenoweth, George Clooney, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Abbie Cornish, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rebecca Hall, Grant Heslov, Djimon Hounsou, Oscar Isaac, Greg Kinnear, Julianne Moore, Tyler Perry, Angela Robinson, Ridley Scott, Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, Tara Strong, Jim Sturgess, Chris Weitz, Luke Evans, Peter Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg, Christopher Landon, Joseph Kosinski, Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, Miles Teller, Dean Devlin, Rita Hsiao, Michael Green, Philip K. Dick, Bella Heathcote, Denis Villeneuve, Tomas Alfredson, Chadwick Boseman, Jo Nesbo, David Marconi, Hany Abu-Assad, Ken Nolan, Michael Carney, Reginald Hudlin, Eric Warren Singer, Lynn Vincent, J. Mills Goodloe, Rebecca Ferguson, Ashleigh Ball, Tabitha St. Germain, Jason Hall, Hampton Fancher, Jacob Koskoff, Ron Hall, David Finkel, Jessica Rothe, Andrea Libman, Jayson Thiessen, Cathy Weseluck, Meghan McCarthy, Lauren Faust, Bonnie Zacherle, Stephen Leather, Scott Lobdell, Michael Koskoff, Alexander Foard, Denver Moore, Charles Martin, Paul Guyot
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