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Weekend Predictions: Which New Release Will Get Off to a Running Start?

September 18th, 2014

The Maze Runner poster

There are a trio of new wide releases this week, led by The Maze Runner, which is expected to top the box office chart and it is also currently earning the best reviews, although it is so close that it could change with a single new negative review. (It did change about five minutes after writing that, as it fell to second place.) The buzz for A Walk Among the Tombstones hasn't grown like I thought it would, but it still looks on pace to become a midlevel hit. On the other hand, This is Where I Leave You's chances are weakening and it looks like it won't finish in the top three. There is some good news. This weekend last year, Prisoners was the only film to earn more than $20 million, while Insidious Chapter 2 was the only other film to earn more than $10 million. This weekend, we could have five films earning more than $10 million and the number one film could earn more than $30 million.

The Maze Runner is the latest adaptation of Young Adult novel. The film's box office chances seem to be somewhere between Divergent and The Giver, although it is the only one of the three films to earn overall positive reviews. Unfortunately for me, the tracking is all over the place for this film. Some suggest it will open with less than $25 million, while others think it will crack $40 million becoming one of the biggest September releases of all time. I think the lower end is more likely and I'm going with an opening weekend of just over $30 million. That's still a great beginning for this time of year and it might be enough to convince the studio to turn this film into a franchise.

Unless something really weird happens, A Walk Among the Tombstones will open in second place. Despite being an action film starring Liam Neeson, the buzz hasn't taken off like I thought it would. His previous such film, Non-stop, opened with $28.88 million and finished with $91.74 million. Granted, it also had a better release date, but one would think it would at least be able to come close to that result. The film's reviews are good, especially for this time of year, and I think it will open with just over $20 million. However, I am a little more bullish than most, so keep that in mind.

No Good Deed was a surprisingly strong hit last weekend, but given its genre and its reviews, it likely won't have good legs. A 60% drop-off would result in a sophomore stint of just under $10 million, which is the lower end of expectations. The high end is barely more than $12 million. Split the difference and you get just over $11 million.

This is Where I Leave You is the third wide release of the weekend and it appears it will be squeezed out by the competition. The buzz isn't loud, nor are the reviews good. Additionally, the director's previous film was the worst in his directing career thus far. On the positive side, this film wouldn't have to top expectations by much to at least have a shot at second place. I think fourth place with just under $11 million is more likely.

Dolphin Tale 2 should round out the top five with $10 million, more or less. It isn't living up to its predecessor, but assuming it wasn't an expensive movie to make, it likely will break even some time on the home market.

The final new release of the week is Tusk, which is opening in just 600 theaters, which is more than most A24 films open in, so perhaps they are more optimistic than most. The reviews are mixed. ... They are almost violently mixed with some critics loving it and others hating it. It definitely feels more like a cult classic than a mainstream horror film. However, if the film can pull in $2 million or more, it has a shot at the top ten. That's not a difficult milestone to reach. It might even open with just over $3 million.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, No Good Deed, The Maze Runner, Dolphin Tale 2, The Giver, A Walk Among the Tombstones, This is Where I Leave You, Tusk, Liam Neeson, Shawn Levy