Okay, it’s now the second to last weekend of the fall movie season. Where did it go? Time’s been flying by. Oh, well. We’ve got a loaded plate this weekend with five new films entering wide release: Boo! A Madea Halloween 2, The Snowman, Geostorm, Only the Brave, and Same Kind of Different As Me. Sheesh, that’s a lot of competition for one weekend, plus all the holdovers of the past few weeks. Okay, let’s get started.
I think the obvious winner this weekend will be A Madea Halloween 2. Of course, the man inside the fat woman suit himself Tyler Perry is back and really the only recognizable name, but that’s all he needs as the Madea character. As you’ll recall, the first film knocked everyone off guard with its performance at the box office, going by some estimates 2.5 times its expected opening last year. Now with the sequel we’re expecting bigger numbers, so we’ll see if the opposite happens, but with a lack of comedies lately, I think we’re in good hands to see a similar number as last time, which was $28.5 million. Despite having no critical reviews at this time, a standard for Perry’s work, the marketing has been strong and tracking is anticipating $22 million. I’ll go higher and land at an even $25 million. It’s playing in 2,388 theaters, so it’s per theater average should be a very respectable $10,469.
Now everything after this is where it gets complicated. I do think that Happy Death Day is the safe bet here, and I’m gonna go ahead and take it. A 45% drop and a second weekend of $14.3 million is what I have in the cards. Third place I think goes to Geostorm. Now, with a cast like Gerard Butler, Andy Garcia and Ed Harris as headliners, that’ll draw some eyes, plus disaster movies rarely flop outright at the box office, so even though tracking hasn’t indicated a great opening ahead, it’ll still have a small corner of the weekend to itself. Marketing has been really good for this one with highlighting all the disaster cliches and moments in every preview, and Butler, despite, in my opinion, choosing some bad films, is always something of a draw. Still, only 20% on Rotten Tomatoes based off the few reviews at the moment will keep some away. Tracking has $12 million as the total, but I’ll go a bit higher with $13.5 million, crowding in on Happy Death Day, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it topple it for second place. That would mean with 3,246 theaters playing the film, the per-theater average would be $4,159.
For fourth place I’ll go with the new film Only the Brave, but not confidently. I have seen the film and hope to write my review soon, but it’s a masterpiece that should be seen by everybody. Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, and Taylor Kitsch are the big-named actors here, and the marketing is aiming at a very crowd-pleasing audience, which is true, the film is a crowd-pleaser, but a really, really good one. Despite it being one of the year’s best, however, it could have gone with a different release date and not be sandwiched in with all these other films. Hopefully it will find its audience, and having the best Rotten Tomatoes score of any film this week, 89% as of right now, will help audiences see it. Tracking is incredibly high with $13 million, which isn’t happening, but I’ll go with $8 million. 2,577 theaters are playing it, so that’s a per-theater average of $3,104. That should be enough to hold off Blade Runner 2049, my fifth place choice, which I see dropping another 50% and hitting $6.9 million its third weekend. For a film that has to hit anywhere between, reportedly, $400-450 million to break even after production and marketing costs, that’s not good.
So as for the other two films, The Snowman and Same Kind of Different As Me, I think The Snowman will gather the better of them. Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones, Chloe Sevigny, and James D’Arcy star here, and it’s a good cast around an intriguing premise, and some of the marketing has hit with audiences, but for me personally it looks too hokey for my tastes, and with nothing but bad word of mouth coming from critics and the director himself, reminiscent of Josh Trank before the release of Fantastic Four (2015), I think those on the fence of seeing it will stay home or see something else instead now. For those curious, only 13% of Rotten Tomatoes’ finest are giving it the nod to go see it. It’ll be close to that number five slot, but I think just below it with $6.7 million. Tracking was indicating an opening around $11.5 million, but that was with a higher theater count. I think the film could actually have had a shot at the top five, but with Universal not showing confidence, only 1,812 theaters are opening it, so that would be $3,698 for the per-theater average.
And at last, Same Kind of Different As Me, the latest in the high-budgeted (?) faith film of the week sweepstakes. This one features Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Holt, and Jon Voight in the cast, and for the audience it’s trying to reach, the marketing seems to have made an impact. These films are some of the biggest gambles at the box office. Seriously, one minute you’ll have a God’s Not Dead (2014) or War Room (2015) which crush expectations, then you’ll have a God’s Not Dead 2 (2016) or All Saints, that tank. Well, since 1,362 theaters are playing it, the cast does have some clout to it, and no reviews are in at the moment, I’m thinking it’ll be outside the top five reasonably and only make $4 million. That would mean a $2,937 per-theater average. One more quick thing to mention, Victoria & Abdul, which has been making good money in its moderate and limited release, finally hits 1,000 plus screens this weekend, so that’s one thing to mention, but it’s weekend to weekend numbers have been dropping, and with so much competition, it’s likely going to be outside the top ten this weekend.
Are we finished yet? No, siree! We gotta look at last week’s numbers. Okay, Happy Death Day put on a clinic in the number one spot with $26 million opening weekend, which was higher than my highballed $24 million, so I’ll still call that a win since most had it at $17-20 million. Second place went to Blade Runner 2049, down 52% with $15.4 million its second weekend, which wasn’t far off from my number, $14.7 million. Third place was also correctly predicted for The Foreigner, and while I wasn’t as bullish on this one as others were, it still outdid most predictions, including my own, with $13.1 million, above my $9.5 million prediction. Fourth place, It, was another one that was right, that one down only 39%, another $6 million. And for fifth place, The Mountain Between Us, down 45% and making another $5.7 million. I had these two in a very close battle, It making $5.9 million, Mountain making $5.8 million, so both were off only $100 thousand. Oh, and let’s not forget the two other new films from last week: Marshall and Professor Marston & the Wonder Women. Surprisingly Marshall did the best of the two with $3 million in moderate release, above my $2 million prediction in 11th place. And what happened to Professor Marston? Well, only $736 thousand in 14th place, way, way, way below my $2.5 million prediction. So yeah, that one really didn’t land. So 5/5 on the top part but the bottom two were off base. I’ll still call that a win. Okay, let’s see how this weekend pans out.