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Weekend Predictions: Will Pan Pan Out?

October 9th, 2015


The only wide release of the week is Pan, which is being described as critically panned, because entertainment writers have a pathological need to use puns. I hate puns and I'm still guilty of this. Despite being the only new release, Pan isn't expected to open in first place, or even second place. The Martian is expected to repeat on top, while Hotel Transylvania 2 should have another strong hold remaining in second place. This weekend last year was in some ways the polar opposite, as there were four new releases in the top ten, plus another that opened in eleventh place. However, the result was the same, as Gone Girl remained in first place. The Martian should top Gone Girl's performance, while Hotel Transylvania 2 and Pan should match Dracula Untold and Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. However, after that, 2014's depth seems too strong and 2015 will likely lose in the year-over-year comparison. That's fine, as 2015's lead is huge and there are still a few (nearly) guaranteed monster hits left to open this year.

The Martian is inarguably one of the best pure Science Fiction movies to come out in years, both in terms of reviews and box office performance. It didn't quite break Gravity's record last weekend and it is very unlikely that it will have the same legs. Gravity fell 11% from Monday to Thursday, while The Martian fell 15% from Monday to Wednesday, so unless the film bounces back on Thursday, it will be going into the weekend on a weaker note. A 40% drop-off is still excellent compared to most wide releases and that would give the film $33 million over the weekend and push it past $100 million. Anything more than $33 million over the weekend should be seen as a real victory and bodes very well for its long-term chances. It would have to fall significantly below $30 million before I would be too concerned.

Hotel Transylvania 2 will remain in second place with between $21 million and $22 million. This will be enough to hit $100 million early in the weekend, making it the 20th film released in 2015 to get to that milestone. It won't be the only one to get there this weekend.

Pan reportedly cost $150 million to make. It will need to make about $400 million worldwide to break even any time soon. This is unlikely for a number of reasons. Firstly, the reviews have fallen to just 27% positive. This is lower than what Hook earned. Secondly, the buzz is just terrible and has been for a while. Thirdly, we've seen some very early international numbers and they are not good. The film only managed $1.47 million during its opening in Australia. That works out to about $16 million here, given the relative size of the two markets. It might do a little better earning $18 million, but even $20 million seems out of reach.

Sicario and The Intern should be in a tight race for fourth place with $7 million each. Both films are on their way to become hits, in their own ways. The Intern matched its production budget on Thursday, meaning it's about halfway to paying for that. As long as it can match its domestic run internationally, it will only need to cover its advertising budget on the home market. Meanwhile, Sicario is rapidly climbing the list of biggest limited release hits of the year. It should overtake Ex Machina this weekend, leaving just Woman in Gold ahead of it.

One final note, The Walk is expanding wide reaching 2,500 theaters. I'm sure this is more due to contractual obligations than merit. Everest had a very similar strategy earning a per theater average of $13,251 during its IMAX run, but only $4,405 when it expanded wide. The Walk started with an average of $3,483, which will likely be cut in half during the expansion, leaving it with just over $4 million over the weekend. I expect it to be all but gone form theaters by the end of the month.

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Hotel Transylvania 2, Pan, Everest, The Intern, The Martian, The Walk, Sicario