Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of September 23rd

Four films are out in wide release this weekend, all with some buzz, all of them looking to knock The Lion King from his seat at the top of the box office. Here’s how I predict the weekend will shape up:

Moneyball stars Brad Pitt, which should gurantee some sort of decent opening. The baseball film, the true story of Oakland A’s coach general manager Billy Beane, is based on the book of the same name. Moneyball has been heavily marketed and has a strong buzz going for it, but sports films don’t necessarily translate to big bucks. However, with the World Series imminent and Brad Pitt’s star status, I think the film could do well. Look for Moneyball to debut at number one with $21 million.  

Abduction is Taylor Lautner’s first crack at headlining his own film, after making waves as Jacob in The Twilight Saga. The film is the story of a teen who discovers his parents aren’t who they say they are and goes on the run. A fairly generic suspense film plot and a lack of real awareness isn’t going to help Abduction at the box office this weekend. Keeping in mind that none of Lautner’s other Twilight stars have had any real hits outside the franchise, I think Abduction won’t impress this weekend.  Look for a third place opening at $14 million.

Dolphin Tale has going for it, well, dolphins. What it doesn’t have going for it is any bankable movie stars to draw audiences in. Morgan Freeman is the biggest name (sorry, Harry Conick Jr. and Ashley Judd), but Freeman is far more of a supporting star rather than someone who brings audiences to theatres. While the true story of a dolphin rescued and taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium has had strong marketing behind it, the family film will likely be dwarfed the roar of The Lion King. Look for a fourth place finish for Dolphin Tale with $12 million.

The final big release of the weekend is Killer Elite, an action film about a squad of hit men known as The Clinic, stars Jason Stathem, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, so the films pedigree is solid. Statham’s films tend to do just alright at the box office – his audience is more apt to find his films on either DVD or VOD. Look for Killer Elite to do some middling business, debuting in fifth place with $9 million.

As for The Lion King, look for it to continue to do great business prior to its release on Blu-Ray/DVD. I’m predicting a second place finish and a gross of $18 million.  

So, to recap, here are our predictions:

1) Moneyball – $21 million
2) The Lion King – $18 million
3) Abduction – $14 million
4) Dolphin Tale – $12 million
5) Killer Elite – $9 million

Check back on Sunday to see how the weekend played out!

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