Weekend Box Office (October 24 - 26, 2014)
THIS WEEKEND Creepy trailers and TV spots should attract an audience of fright lovers to the new horror film Ouija which will attempt to take over the number one spot in what will be a crowded menu at the North American box office. The Universal spookfest will also present a crucial test for the film industry - will teenagers still want to pay top dollar to enjoy scary entertainment inside a movie theater? If it can't sell a week before Halloween, then when can it sell?
The PG-13 film is tailor made to appeal to teenagers and young adults. Reviews should not matter much, the advertising materials are what will sell this and they have been good. Annabelle has satisfied the needs of many fright fans in recent weeks, but Ouija is different enough to stand out. Spooking 2,858 locations, it may scare up around $19M this weekend.
"Critically acclaimed" & "Keanu Reeves" rarely appear in the same sentence. Yet, the action star's latest vehicle John Wick has been earning strong reviews across the board (among the best in his career) and should connect with violence-loving young men this weekend for a solid debut. The R-rated film from Lionsgate has generated some good buzz and Reeves has actively been doing promotional duties to generate excitement for a project he's proud to be in.
His total number of action films breaking $100M domestic since the Matrix trilogy ended 11 years ago is zero. But a respectably sized audience will take the plunge this weekend, some even for the IMAX version, and strong word-of-mouth could keep it going into November with fans of high testosterone. Opening in 2,589 locations, John Wick may take in about $15M this weekend and should have rosy prospects overseas.
Both new releases start their weekends with pre-shows beginning Thursday night at 8pm.
Last week's top movie Fury should hold up relatively well in its second attack. Buzz from audiences and critics alike has been positive, the older target audience does not rush out on the first weekend, and there is no new competition for older adults, aside from the World Series. A 35% dip may give Brad Pitt and company about $15M for the weekend and a new cume of $48M.
Gone Girl is hoping to be on course to reach $150M and another good frame should help. The Fox hit may decline by 35% to around $11M putting the new total at $124M. The studio's toon entry The Book of Life may fall by 40% to roughly $10M raising the sum to $31M.
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LAST YEAR Proving that the brand was still alive, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa opened well at number one with $32.1M for Paramount on its way to $102M. Gravity got bumped from the top after three weeks at number one but still held up well grossing $21.1M making its way to within a hair of the $200M mark. Also with a low decline was Captain Phillips with $11.6M for Sony in third. The Fox drama The Counselor opened in fourth to weak results debuting to a soft $7.8M on its way to only $17M overall. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 rounded out the top five with $6.3M crossing $100M in its fifth weekend. No holdover in the top five dropped by more than 35%.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: October 23, 2014 at 4:00PM ET
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