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Weekend Predictions: Can Taken Two Top Chart Twice?

October 11th, 2012

There could be as many as five new releases to reach the top ten this week. It is also very possible that Taken 2 will remain in first place on the weekend chart, so while there's a high quantity of new releases, the quality isn't there. Argo likely has the best shot at becoming the new number one film, but some think Sinister will benefit from the close proximity to Halloween and steal a victory. On the other hand the buzz for Here Comes the Boom just hasn't grown like it should and it could struggle to grab fifth place, despite playing in more than 3,000 theaters. On the other hand, Seven Psychopaths has excellent buzz, but is only playing in 1500 theaters. Finally there's Atlas Shrugged: Part II, which is opening in just over 1,000 theaters, but with no chance outside of its politically motivated target demographic. Last year was disappointing at the box office with none of the three new releases becoming hits, while the box office was led by Real Steel for the third weekend in a row. We should do better this time around, unless all of the new releases miss expectations.

Taken 2 got off to a much faster start than most analysts were expecting. However, with weak reviews and because it is a sequel, it will likely fall a lot faster than Taken did. A 60% drop-off is not out of the question, which would leave the film with a sophomore stint of just under $20 million. On the high end, it might avoid a 50% decline giving it just over $25 million. I'm going with a prediction of $22 million, which would give the film a ten-day total of about $90 million. Getting to the century mark is academic at this point.

Argo is probably going to be the biggest overall hit of the five new releases coming out this week. However, its chances at second place over the weekend are less sure. The film is earning award-worthy reviews, but it is also aimed at a more mature target demographic. This demographic is more likely to read reviews, which is a good thing, but they are less likely to rush out on the opening weekend to see the film. Because of this, the film might earn $60 million in total, but only $15 million during its opening weekend. I think a slightly better opening in more likely, about $18 million is probably safe, while its legs will depend on if it can translate strong reviews into Awards Season buzz.

Hotel Transylvania is closing in on $100 million and should get there this weekend. By the end of today, it should have a running tally of $84 million to $85 million and it should pull in $17 million to $18 million over the weekend. I don't think it will be a huge hit internationally, but it will make enough to ensure a profit by the time it reaches the home market.

Sinister is a film that could be a surprise hit, or it could fail to make the top five. It's a horror film opening just before Halloween, which should help it out. However, a lot of fans of this genre are more likely to watch Paranormal Activity 4, which comes out next week, so they might give this film a pass. This film is earning better reviews that Paranormal Activity 4 is earning, but it doesn't have three previous films to build up the buzz. On the low end, it could struggle at just $12 million, which could leave it mired in fifth place. On the high end, it could open with more than $20 million, which might be enough for first place. I'm going with fourth place and $15 million.

Here Comes the Boom is a movie about Mixed Martial Arts, but it has a family-friendly PG rating. I'm not sure that combination will work. Fans of the sport might be turned off by the tame action a PG rating implies, while families won't be interested in a movie about a sport that has a very violent reputation. Also, its overall buzz isn't very loud and its reviews are barely above the 50% positive level. Maybe it will be a surprise, but I think fifth place with $13 million is the most likely result.

Seven Psychopaths currently has the best reviews out of any of the new releases on this week's list; however, it is only in about 1500 theaters. It has a lot of buzz from its appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival, so it has the potential to surprise, but missing the top five with between $7 million and $8 million over the weekend it probably as good as it will get. I don't think this will be enough to expand much later, but it is likely enough compared to the film's production budget that the studio will be happy.

After years, make that decades of development hell, Atlas Shrugged finally went into production. Part I came out last year, but instead of being the masterpiece a lot of people were hoping for, it was a terrible movie and failed to make much of an impact at the box office. I thought we'd never see another Atlas Shrugged movie again. However, this week Atlas Shrugged: Part II is coming out in theaters, more than 1,000 of them. This is more than three times as many theaters as the first film opened in, but does that mean it will make three times as much money? Doubtful. The film's buzz is very quiet compared to the rest of the wide releases. (There are some limited releases with better buzz.) Also, there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a really bad sign. To finish within the top ten, it would need about $2.5 million during its opening weekend, which is a figure that is within reach. It might even get to $4 million, but I think that's as high as it will go. Missing the Mendoza Line is a possibility.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Hotel Transylvania, Here Comes the Boom, Taken 2, Argo, Sinister, Seven Psychopaths, Atlas Shrugged: Part II