Between new wide releases Taken 2, Frankenweenie, Pitch Perfect and likely strong holdovers Hotel Transylvania and Looper, the first weekend of October is looking very solid, we might even get a record or two in, who knows.
Back in 2009 Taken was a film Fox dumped in January, on Super Bowl weekend, to earn a few bucks. What they got instead was one of the biggest surprise hits in recent years. After opening with $24.7 million, Taken showed outstanding staying power which pushed the film to $145 million at the end of its run in North America. While the movie certainly didn’t need one, Fox would have been crazy not to make a sequel. So now we have Taken 2, almost 4 years later (even more than that if we count the initial, European release date of Taken).
Now the problem with unneeded sequels is you have to shoehorn a new(ish) story in and when you have a pair of modest writers (Luc Besson is no Quentin Tarantino and don’t get me wrong, I loved most of Luc’s work), things can get out of control. Unfortunately if critics are to be believed, Taken 2 took a turn for the worse. Low ratings can sometimes be deceiving but 18% on Rotten Tomatoes is rarely an accident. Regardless moviegoers will flock in droves to see Taken 2 (as will I, just not this week) so expect a big opening weekend, could even be a new October record (currently held by Paranormal Activity 3 with $52.6 million). I’ll go with $45 million but don’t expect anywhere near the same box office legs on this one. The bigger it opens, the harder it will fall next week.
In 2nd place Hotel Transylvania should gross about $23 million or more. Now I should be going higher on this one but there’s another monster themed animation rolling out this weekend which could steal a bit of thunder from Hotel Transylvania, just a tiny bit.
Frankenweenie, directed by Tim Burton, is the animation I was talking about, but, being stop-motion and black & white makes this offering not nearly as appealing as Hotel Transylvania for the younger moviegoers out there. Sure, Tim Burton has his fans and they will turn up so this will do good business, undoubtedly. The current wide opening record for stop-motion animations is $19.1 million for Corpse Bride, another Tim Burton flick. Frakenweenie, based on one of his 80’s early short films, might come very close to that film, but for now I’ll go with $16 million.
Pitch Perfect opened in limited release (335 theaters) last weekend and has performed really well so far with $6.7 million after 7 days. This weekend in 2770 theaters I expect the comedy to double its current total, so $13.5 million from me in 4th place.
Looper is bound to round out the top 5 with a solid $12 million, hopefully even higher than that.
Next week there will be 5 films opening in wide release so instead of trying to come up with ways to introduce them to you guys, I will simply name the movies one by one: Argo (hmm), Atlas Shrugged: Part 2 (there was a part 1?), Here Comes the Boom (what?), Seven Psychopaths (sounds like fun) and Sinister (no).