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Weekend Predictions: Will Gravity Remain Out of Reach of New Releases?

October 18th, 2013

There are two wide releases this week, Carrie and Escape Plan. However, neither film is earning critical praise and neither film is expected to be a breakout hit. There is a third film opening semi-wide, The Fifth Estate, but despite being clearly made for Oscars, its reviews are worse than the two more mainstream releases. It looks like Gravity will have no trouble earning the hat trick at the box office. It should also earn more than last year's winner, Paranormal Activity 4. Unfortunately, last year had much better depth than this year will have, so 2013 will likely lose yet again in the year-over-year comparison.

I'm a little worried about posting a prediction for Gravity, because it has topped expectations by such large degrees the first two weekends that I'm unsure what to do now. Logic dictates it will fall at the box office, obviously. But will it be this weekend? Maybe, maybe not. On the high end, it could fall less than 25% to $32 million, or more. On the low end, maybe it will fall closer to 50% earning about $25 million. I think the high end is more likely and it will earn just over $30 million over the weekend for a total of $170 million so far.

Carrie is a horror remake, which is a genre with more misses than hits recently. It stars Chloë Grace Moretz playing the titular role, a part Sissy Spacek made famous in 1976. It also stars Julianne Moore, as Carrie's mother. The two actresses are earning a lot of praise for their performances, but overall, the reviews are mixed. The biggest complaints seem to be twofold, and related. Firstly, the film doesn't bring enough new to the story. Secondly, it seems really unnecessary. There's not a lot of direct competition this weekend, so it should still do relatively well at the box office. Given its production budget, anything over $20 million will be seen as a success and I think it will take in $21 million. The film would need to make about $100 million domestically to break even on domestic numbers alone. That's not going to happen. On the other hand, it would take about $100 million worldwide to give the film a good chance at breaking even early in its home market run. That should be a relatively easy goal to match.

Captain Phillips should hold on very well given its outstanding reviews. It might lose some audience members to The Fifth Estate, but that film's weak reviews and small theater count won't have a major effect on Captain Phillips. It could earn north of $18 million this weekend, but I'm going to be a little more cautious and predict $16 million.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 should be next with just over $9 million over the weekend for a running tally of $92 million. This will leave the film about one week away from $100 million, but it will fall out of the top ten by then.

The next wide release is Escape Plan. This film could become one of the biggest bombs of the year, depending on how much it cost to make. I've seen reports that it cost $70 million to make, meaning it would need to make about $200 million worldwide to break even. I've also seen reports that it cost $100 million to make. Let's hope that's not true. Sylvester Stallone has had a bit of a renaissance at the box office ever since Rocky Balboa came out; however, Bullet to the Head showed he wasn't invincible. Arnold Schwarzenegger has barely begun his post-politics acting career, so it is hard to tell what his box office drawing power is at the moment. The film's reviews are better than expected, but are still only mixed. As for its box office chances, things are not good. The movie opened internationally last weekend, but it didn't do well. It only managed sixth place in Brazil and tenth place in Mexico. It should do better here, but not by a lot. Perhaps it will earn fourth place with $10 million, but it could also earn barely more than half of that. I'm going with fifth place and just under $9 million.

The Fifth Estate is the final new release of the week. Given its subject matter and its release date, it is clear it was aiming for Awards Season glory. Given its reviews, it's clear it is not going to get there. It will miss the top five, but should have no trouble landing in sixth place. (The seventh place film will earn just over $2 million.) Perhaps it will make it a close race with $8 million to $9 million, but it could also fail to reach the Mendoza line. Look for sixth place and $5 million.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Escape Plan, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Carrie, The Fifth Estate, Julianne Moore, Chloë Grace Moretz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sissy Spacek, Sylvester Stallone