Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of October 2nd, 2009

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September has mercifully come to an end, but the beginning of October does not look to be any better.  Will Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs repeat as the #1 film for the 3rd weekend in a row?  Here’s what I think!

There are 4 new movies being released this weekend, and the one getting the widest release is Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg.  The film is opening in 3,036, and it’s hoping people will be in the mood for some Halloween fun (even though it is not really a Halloween film).  The film has been marketed pretty well, but Harrelson and Eisenberg are not names that are going to draw people into theatres.  Eisenberg starred earlier in the year in the criminally under-rated Adventureland, but that film only opened with $5.7 million.  The horror-comedy genre is a tough one because it’s very hard to blend the two styles.  While these type of films usually become cult classics (Army of Darkness being a prime example), they do not make a lot of money in theatres.  Early reviews have been excellent as Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 89% of this writing, and it has a very short running time of 1h21m, so it will get a lot of screenings throughout the weekend, but will people want to come out and see it?  Unfortunately, I do not think enough people do, so I’m predicting Zombieland will open with $11 million.

Toy Story / Toy Story 2 are being re-released in theatres to help build excitement for the upcoming Toy Story 3.  To make the experience even more exciting, the films are being shown in 3-D.  Generally re-releases do not do that well in theatres, but you cannot underestimate anything by Disney/Pixar.  It is getting the second highest theatre count among the new releases this weekend with 1,745 theatres, but because the film is being shown as a double bill, the running time of the film times out to be just under 3 hours.  Having said that, the film is billed as a limited engagement, as it will only be in theatres for 2 weeks.  It does have competition, as Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is targeting the same audience.  I think the film will do better than most re-releases, and with the film being in 3-D, that adds money to the box office, so I’m predicting a gross of $7 million.

Drew Barrymore makes her feature film directorial debut with Whip It.  The film stars Ellen Page as a girl who discovers a passion for roller derby.  The film is definitely targeted at young women, but I never felt that there was a major marketing campaign to support it, and I rarely saw the trailer in theatres.  Early reviews have been good, with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 79% as of this writing.  Unfortunately, I do not think the film will do all that well.  It doesn’t have that “WOW” factor to me.  Opening in 1,720 theatres, I predict Whip It will gross $6.2 million.

Ricky Gervais returns to theatres with The Invention of Lying.  The trailer makes the film look like a take-off of Liar, Liar.  The film is about everyone always telling the truth until Ricky Gervais becomes the first human being ever to tell a lie.  It is a funny premise, but I don’t know if the film will translate with audiences.  Gervais is not a box office name.  His last film Ghost Town only opened with $5 million.  He does have more star power with him in the film with Jennifer Garner, but I don’t think that will make a huge difference.  Early reviews have been average as Rotten Tomatoes is listing the film at 59%.  Overall, the film will not make a dent at the box office.  Opening in 1,707 theatres, The Invention of Lying will open with $5.8 million.

A film that is being expanded this week is Michael Moore’s Capitalism:  A Love Story.  Moore is the biggest name in mainstream documentaries, and the film is expanding to 962 theatres.  It will not make a huge dent at the box office, but it should land in the top 10.

Among holdovers, two of last week’s films will remain in the top five.  Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs will be the #1 film for the 3rd week in a row, as I’m predicting a decline of 25% for a gross of $18.4 million.  Bruce Willis will stick around in the top 5 as Surrogates will drop 55% for a gross of $6.7 million.

So to recap, here are my predictions for this week:

1) Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – $18.4 million

2) Zombieland – $11 million

3) Toy Story/Toy Story 2 – $7 million

4) Surrogates – $6.7 million

5) Whip It – $6.2 million

Check back on Sunday to see how I did.

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