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Weekend Predictions: Gravity has the Weight to Win

October 3rd, 2013

There are two films opening wide this week: Gravity and Runner Runner. However, while the two films share a release date, they are at the opposite ends when it comes to box office potential and critical acclaim. Gravity should have an easy time winning the race for the top of the box office chart, and if its reviews can translate into Awards Season buzz, then it should have very strong legs. On the other hand, many analysts expect Runner Runner to stumble out of the gate and disappear before the end of the month. This weekend last year, Taken 2 opened with just under $50 million, which is too much for Gravity to match. Frankenweenie earned $11 million during its opening weekend, which is a figure Runner Runner should match, but might not. Overall, 2013 looks a lot weaker than 2012 was.

Gravity is co-written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, whose track record with critics is impressive. He's only directed one movie that didn't earn overall positive reviews. As impressive as his track record is, the film is even more impressive. With a Tomatometer Score of 98% positive, it is the best in his career. There's also quite a lot of buzz for the film, but it isn't an action blockbuster, so it might be a harder sell to moviegoers. On the low end, it might struggle to reach $10,000 on the per theater average, giving it just under $35 million during its run. On the high end, it might flirt with $50 million. I'm going with $42 million during its opening weekend and enough legs to clear $100 million with relative ease.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 missed expectations during its opening weekend, but thanks to its family-friendly nature, good reviews, and lack of direct competition, it should hold on better than most films do. Look for $21 million over the weekend, which will keep it on pace to reach $100 million in total, but it could be close.

Runner Runner will place third, basically by default. Its reviews are terrible and it might slip below 10% positive by the time the weekend starts. Also, the buzz is awful and it is overshadowed by a bigger and better release. Worst case scenario has the film opening below $10 million, while on the high end, maybe it will earn more than $15 million. $12 million is the safest bet.

This leaves Prisoners and Rush in a race for fourth place. Both should earn between $5 million and $6 million and I think Prisoners has a slight advantage.

One last note, Captain Phillips has a sneak peak in roughly 800 theaters on Saturday. Its reviews have fallen off its initial pace, but are still very good. This should help build word-of-mouth.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Runner Runner, Rush, Prisoners, Alfonso Cuarón