Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of October 16, 2009


Three new movies make their debut at the box office this weekend.  We have a remake of a horror flick, a thriller from F. Gary Gray, and the latest film from Spike Jonze.  Here’s how I see them all doing.

Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are makes its long-awaited debut in movie theatres today.  The story on the making of this movie is quite something, as there were delays in it being released, struggles between the director and the studio, issues with the faces of the monsters. Overall, the film seemed to be plagued with problems.  Early reviews have been good, but not great (Rotten Tomatoes has the film at 67% as of me writing this), and the common theme is that this is a film geared more for adults than kids.  Having said that, the fact that this is based on a classic children’s book should bring audiences out to the theatre this weekend.  Opening in an ultra-wide 3,735 screens, I’m predicting Where The Wild Things Are to open with $42 million.

Director F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator and The Italian Job) joins forces with Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx to bring us Law Abiding Citizen.  The central plot is about a man (Butler) who takes revenge on the district attorney (Foxx) who hands out a plea bargain to the man who killed his family.  Butler gets revenge on the killer, and gets caught.  Even though Butler is behind bars, it doesn’t mean he can’t make the D.A.’s life a living hell.  I thought the trailer for the film was good, although it was not heavily promoted.  Reviews have been terrible, with Rotten Tomatoes currently listing the film at 19%.  We will see how much star power Butler and Foxx actually have.  Here are the stars previous two films opening weekends:

Jamie Foxx

The Soloist – $9.7 million from 2,024 screens

The Kingdom – $17.1 million from 2,793 screens

Gerard Butler

Gamer – $9.1 million from 2,502 screens

The Ugly Truth – $27.6 million from 2,882 screens

The numbers are not too far apart, so I think that Law Abiding Citizen will have a decent opening, probably better than most are expecting it too.  Opening in 2,889 theatres, I expect the film to gross $18 million this weekend.

The final wide new release is the remake The Stepfather.  I have not seen to much marketing on this, and I know it’s Halloween, but I feel that I’ve been exposed to too many horror films since the end of August when we had The Final Destination and Halloween II.  The premise is not interesting, reviews are the worst of any film being released this week with Rotten Tomatoes listing the film at 9%, but because it is a horror, and because it is Halloween season, it is getting a wide release of 2,734.  I’m predicting that The Stepfather will open with $6 million.

In limited release, we have Black Dynamite – a modern day blaxploitation pic that did well at Sundance opening in 70 theatres, and New York, I Love You – an ensemble film that is a sequel to Paris, Je T’Aime because it has many short films directed by various people that all relate to being in New York.  The film has received mixed reviews and is opening in 119 theatres.

There are two big stories this weekend.  The first is how will Where The Wild Things Are do?  The second is that Paranormal Activity is expanding this weekend to 760 theatres, so will it really become the next big thing?  I think the answer is yes.  Word of mouth is still growing on the film, and I’m expecting the film to do as well as Borat.  In 2006, Borat opened with $26.4 million from only 839 theatres.  I think that Paranormal Activity will gross $25 million this weekend, as I, for whatever reason, think of Borat when I make comparisons of this film.  It just has that same “Buzz” factor as Borat did.

For holdovers. Couples Retreat has had terrible word-of-mouth and reviews have been even worse.  I’m expecting a 62% drop off from last weekend, for a gross of $13 million.  Zombieland and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs are going to have a tight battle, because Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs had the higher gross on the holiday Monday, but Zombieland beat it on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Having said that, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs has had some incredible holds in its run, and I think it will have another one this weekend, even with the competition of Where The Wild Things Are.  Dropping 35%, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs will gross $7.4 million.

Once again, here are my predictions:

1) Where The Wild Things Are – $42 million

2) Paranormal Activity – $25 million

3) Law Abiding Citizen – $18 million

4) Couples Retreat – $13 million

5) Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – $7.4 million

I will be interested to see how I do, because I really can’t believe that I’m predicting four films to gross over $10 million in the month of October.  Check back on Sunday to see how I did.

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