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Weekend Predictions: Outlook Looks Cloudy

October 25th, 2012

There are four new films coming out in wide release this week and depending on who you ask, there are four films that have a shot at earning first place. Last Friday, I assumed Cloud Atlas would win, but its reviews have taken a major hit and it will likely finish below the overall positive level. This leaves an opening for Silent Hill: Revolution 3D, which is opening in the most theaters, but it has no reviews and direct competition. Argo has been leading the way on the daily chart and there's a chance it will climb into first place this weekend. There is also a chance that Paranormal Activity will retain first place, although it will have to avoid the predicted collapse. So which film will come out on top? I'm not sure. On the other hand, I'm fairly sure the other two wide releases will fail to find a substantial audience. Fun Size is opening in 2,800 theaters, but very few think it will do well. Even making the top five is likely out of the question. Meanwhile, Chasing Mavericks is opening in just over 2,000 theaters and it is another film that will likely miss the top five, maybe even the top ten. Compared to last year, 2012 is in trouble. Puss in Boots opened with just over $34 million and there's a small chance all four wide releases won't make that much combined this weekend. There's almost no chance 2012 will come out ahead, unless at least two of the new releases are much bigger than expected.

Cloud Atlas has the best bet at opening in first place, or it might open in fifth place. There really is a lot of uncertainty this week. The buzz for this film was louder than the rest of the new releases this week, arguably louder than the other three new releases combined. It also started out with outstanding reviews and its Tomatometer Score was 80% positive. That has since changed, so much so that it has fallen below the overall positive level to just 59% positive. (It might recover to 60% positive by the end of the weekend.) This is still better than the rest of the new releases, it is disappointing compared to some of the buzz. Given its more mature target audience, it likely won't finish first on Friday, but it should hold up better than the other new releases and earn first place overall with $13 million. But again, that's not a sure bet. It's not even close to a sure bet.

Argo has led the daily chart most of this week and should have the best hold in the top ten, again. However, I don't think it will hold up quite as well as it did last weekend. A 30% drop off would leave it with $11.5 million over the weekend, which would be enough for third place. I think it will do a little better earning second place with just over $12 million.

I think Silent Hill: Revolution 3D will come out on top of the box office... on Friday. The film is sequel to Silent Hill, which was not a big hit when it came out in 2006, nor did it earn critical praise. When I first heard rumors they were planning on making a sequel, I assumed it would never advance past a spec script. I was wrong. However, since the studio is not screening the film for critics and the buzz is quieter than some secondary releases coming out in November, giving the film the greenlight might turn out to be a mistake. Given its target audience, the film should start out in first place on Friday, but by Saturday or Sunday, it will likely fall to third or perhaps even fourth place. Overall, it should land in third place with $12 million.

Paranormal Activity 4 should fall from first to fourth, perhaps even fifth. Paranormal Activity 3 fell 65%, which is probably as good as it is going to get for this film. A 65% drop-off would leave the film with just over $10 million over the weekend and $44 million after two. This is probably enough to cover its production budget and very nearly all of its P&A budget. It's profitable, but the franchise is growing tired.

Hotel Transylvania should round out the top five with $9 million. It has already made more domestically than it cost to make and advertise, so profitability is inevitable.

Fun Size is a live action kids movie with a female protagonist. That spells bomb. So few films like this have thrived that there's little hope this one will be an exception to the rule. With Victoria Justice and Jane Levy in the leads, there's not a lot of star power there, at least not as far as theatrical releases go. Additionally, the reviews are weak. Given the target demographic, weak reviews are necessarily fatal, but that can't help the situation either. It is opening in 2800 theaters, but there is a small chance it will miss the Mendoza Line. On the high end, it could come close to $10 million and grab a spot in the top five. $8 million is probably as good as it will get.

Of the four wide releases coming out this week, Chasing Mavericks is opening in fewest theaters, with the quietest buzz, and with the weakest reviews. (That last one only takes into account the three films with any reviews.) On the high end, the film might get just over $6 million. On the low end, it might miss the Mendoza Line and fail to reach the top ten. I'm going with just over $5 million.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Hotel Transylvania, Cloud Atlas, Fun Size , Argo, Chasing Mavericks, Paranormal Activity 4, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Victoria Justice, Jane Levy