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Weekend Predictions: Will Martian's Opening be Out of This World?

October 2nd, 2015

The Martian

The Martian is the only true wide release this week, but it might not be the only new release in the top ten. The Sci-fi adventure film is earning award-worthy reviews and is also being praised for being an inspiring portrayal of science on the big screen. Sicario is expanding its theater count to 2,500, which should push it into the top five. The Walk opened in IMAX screens on Wednesday, but it missed the top ten place and it will likely fall. This weekend last year, Gone Girl and Annabelle both opened with between $37 million and $38 million. The Martian will open with more than either of those films opened with. However, it won't open with more than both of them combined. We will need good growth from Sicario and solid legs from Hotel Transylvania 2 to match last year's result.

In The Martian, Matt Damon plays one of a team of astronauts exploring Mars. A storm causes him to be separated from the rest and he is declared dead and the rest of the astronauts leave Mars and return to Earth. He's not dead, but doesn't have enough supplies to last on Mars long, so he has to use all of his scientific understanding to help him survive long enough to get rescued. This is an awesome idea for a story and the execution is stellar. In fact, there's talk that this movie will be an Award Season player. As for its box office chances, they could be record-breaking. The current record for Biggest October Weekend is held by Gravity at $55.79 million. If The Martian doesn't earn at least $50 million, I would be a little disappointed. If it earned more than $60 million, I wouldn't be that shocked. I'm going with $54 million, which is just below the record, but close enough to be worth celebrating. If the record does fall, that would mean six monthly records were set in 2015, with two months to go. That's stunning.

Speaking of monthly records, Hotel Transylvania 2 broke the September box office record, which was previously held by Hotel Transylvania. The earlier film droped just 36% during its sophomore stint to $27.05 million. That's a bit too optimistic; however, a sub 40% drop-off isn't out of the question. That would give the film $30 million over the weekend. I think it will get within walking distance of that and I'm going with $29 million over the weekend. It will hit $100 million shortly and finish with close to $150 million.

Sicario is expanding from 59 theaters to approximately 2,500 theaters. This should propel it into third place with about $13 million over the weekend while lifting its running tally to $16 million. Combine this with its reviews and its Award Season buzz and film should last in theaters longer than most and could even reach $50 million, should it earn some major award nominations.

The Intern has a more mature target audience, which usually means longer legs at the box office. Its reviews are 58% positive, which will neither hurt not help its legs. Look for $10 million to $11 million over the weekend for a two-week total of $35 million keeping it on pace for more than $50 million.

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Everest should be in a close battle for fifth place with $7 million each, more or less. The Scorch Trials appears to have a small advantage over Everest, but it should be close.

Just yesterday in the October preview, I predicted The Walk would expand wide. This was based on opening with a $10,000 per theater average in about 500 IMAX theaters this weekend. Then I saw Wednesday's box office numbers. The film only managed $240,000 for an average of $537. Granted, its reviews should help it grow and there's a chance not enough people knew it opened on Wednesday. If that's true, then it could still earn nearly $4 million over the weekend. On the low end, it bombs earning $1 million over the weekend. Splitting the difference and we get an opening weekend of $2.5 million.

The final new release of note is Attack on Titan: Part 1. The film also opened on Wednesday earning tenth place with $259,000, beating The Walk. However, as we've seen with Anime films, and this is an Anime inspired film, they tend to collapse quickly. They are a niche market film with a big fanboy factor. Add in mixed reviews and it might not make $259,000 over the entire weekend.

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Hotel Transylvania 2, Everest, The Intern, The Martian, The Walk, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Sicario, Shingeki no kyojin, Matt Damon