Weekend Predictions: Ralph Set to Wreck the Box Office Competition

There's only one truly wide release this week, Wreck-It-Ralph, but it is opening in more than 3,700 theaters and with reviews that match its pre-release buzz. There are also two films opening in a little under 2,000 theaters, Flight and The Man with the Iron Fists, but both are earning good reviews and could have some impact at the box office by earning places in the top five. Last year the box office was led by Puss in Boots with $33.05 million during its sophomore stint. I think Wreck-It-Ralph will easily top that. The new releases were Tower Heist and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, which combined pulled in $36.98 million. I really doubt Flight and Iron Fists will do the same. So unless Wreck-It-Ralph has close to a $50 million opening, November will start off on a losing note in the year-over-year comparison.

Wreck-It-Ralph is a film that is clearly aimed at kids, but has a very significant appeal to gamers. This could boost its overall box office numbers, as adults without kids are more likely to see this film than they would be to go to see a different kids movie, like Rise of the Guardians, for instance. This gives Ralph an outside chance at reaching $50 million during its opening weekend. The reviews also give weight to this bullish prediction. On the other hand, that is a very bullish prediction. Just over $40 million is probably a more likely outcome, but given its reviews and the upcoming holidays, that should be more than enough to make the studio happy.

Flight has Robert Zemeckis making his return to live action films for the first time since Cast Away. ... Has it really been that long? His box office record with live action films is amazing, but the motion capture animated films he's been trying to push have not succeeded like he had hoped, and that might hurt this film's box office chances. Denzel Washington is one of the most bankable stars out there and earlier this year he helped Safe House to more than $100 million at the box office. This film won't start as fast as Safe House did, mainly because it is playing in only 1,900 theaters. However, with great reviews, it should have excellent legs. Look for $16 million over the weekend and $75 million in total.

Argo should add just over $8 million over the weekend and lift its running tally to about $74 million. It remains on pace on reach $100 million, but will need to get a boost from Thanksgiving to get there. Fortunately, it should remain in the top ten through the end of November.

The Man with the Iron Fists is written, directed by, and stars RZA, who is best known for being part of the Wu Tang Klan. Wu Tang Klan is associated with martial arts, so this film makes sense in that regard. That said, it is still a film written, directed and starring a rapper. The film's early reviews are better than expected at 67%, but it is still too early to tell if it will be at the overall positive level in the end. Its box office chances are mixed. It might be too stylish to draw in mainstream crowds, but earning fourth place with $6 million is not a bad start for a film that reportedly only cost $20 million to make.

Hotel Transylvania and Cloud Atlas should be in a tight battle for fifth place, each with between $5 million and $6 million. I think Hotel Transylvania has the slight edge to win that particular battle.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-11-02