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Weekend Predictions: Blue Skies Ahead

September 27th, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 leads a group of four wide releases (three wide releases and a wide expansion, if you want to get technical). It should have no problem being the biggest hit of the weekend. It has a good chance of having the biggest opening weekend of the month. The other films coming out this week will be fighting for a smaller portion of the overall box office, but that's to weak competition, all should grab a spot in the top five. Last year, September ended with Hotel Transylvania, which debuted with $42.52 million; that's a good target for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Second place went to Looper, which pulled in $20.80 million. That will top any of the other new releases coming out this week, but I'm hoping there will be better depth this year and 2013 can eke out a win.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is the only film with a realistic shot at first place and should have a relatively easy time earning more than $40 million over the weekend. The film's reviews are just over the 60% level needed to be fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great for a family film. Additionally, its predecessor was a big hit, for a September release, and earned great reviews, which should help boost this film's box office chances. On the high end, the film might get to $50 million, but $42 million is a safer bet. This might actually underestimate the film's box office chances.

Second place could go to Don Jon, Rush, or last week's winner, Prisoners. There's a lot of conflicting opinions here, but nearly everyone agrees it will be a close race.

Rush got off to a great start in limited release last weekend with an average of nearly $40,000. This weekend it expands to more than 2,200 theaters and hopes to grab second place. Its reviews are amazing, while its star, Chris Hemsworth, has career earnings of more than $1.3 billion domestically in just four years. Granted, nearly half of that comes from The Avengers and he hasn't shown he can career a movie by himself, at least not yet. Additionally, while Formula One is extremely popular worldwide, it doesn't have a large following here, so that will hurt its box office chances. I think it will grab second place with just under $13 million, but it will be very close. If it slips just a little, it could wind up in fourth place.

Prisoners should be right behind. The film's reviews have slipped below the 80% positive level, but that is still good enough for strong word-of-mouth. It does have more or less competition from Rush, which is earning better reviews. Worse case scenario has the film falling just over 50% to $10 million, but just over $12 million is a more likely result. This will put it within striking distance of second place.

Don Jon is earning excellent reviews and there is some buzz going for it, as it is the directorial debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. On the other hand, it is about a man with an internet porn addiction. That doesn't exactly bode well for its chances with mainstream audiences. Maybe it will get lucky and grab second place with $13 million, but fourth place with just under $12 million is more likely. That's still a great start for the film, and very likely more than it cost to make, so Joseph Gordon-Levitt will get more chances to direct in the future.

The final new release of the week is Baggage Claim. It stars Paula Patton has a woman desperate to get engaged before her little sister's wedding. It's a romantic comedy. The reviews are terrible, even for the genre, and its box office chances are weak. Fortunately, the competition is even weaker and it will very likely grab a spot in the top five with $8 million, more or less.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Rush, Prisoners, Baggage Claim, Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Hemsworth, Paula Patton