Box Office: Horror, Hanks angle with ‘Argo’

'Cloud Atlas,' 'Silent Hill: Revelation' open wide at box office

Despite four new entries, Warner Bros.’ third-frame holdover “Argo” looks to turn its midweek run at No. 1 into the pic’s first weekend win at the domestic box office, padding an already healthy $47 million cume since bowing Oct. 12.

Auds are shrugging at the Warner-distributed “Cloud Atlas,” meanwhile — the $100 million epic is expected to debut with a paltry $12 million to $14 million.

Open Road’s 3D horror pic “Silent Hill: Revelation” could come between the Warner pair, however. Pre-weekend tracking suggests the film should land somewhere in the low-to-mid teens, but “Silent Hill” also marks the third horror film in as many weeks.

The weekend’s remaining two entries — Paramount’s Halloween-themed “Fun Size” and Fox’s surfing sports drama “Chasing Mavericks” — are tracking modestly: “Fun Size,” which marks Par’s second release following last weekend’s “Paranormal Activity 4,” should gross around $8 million, while “Mavericks” likely won’t land much higher than $5 million. Domestic box office should trail this time last year, when Par-DreamWorks Animation’s “Puss in Boots” topped with $34 million.

“Paranormal 4” is expected again to lead the international B.O. after landing tops last weekend with $26.2 million. “Argo,” which started out with $1.2 million from mostly smaller markets, will see additional overseas support from expansions into Australia and Japan.

“Argo,” which caught on quickly with adult auds, dropped just 15.5% last weekend, one of the best holds for a live-action film ever during a non-holiday period. If “Argo” drops 15%-25%, it’ll earn between $13 million and $14 million through Sunday.

The domestic playability of “Argo” isn’t altogether surprising, considering how helmer Ben Affleck’s “The Town” also legged out during this time in 2010. But “Argo,” which has been generating strong word-of-mouth and reviews, gained steam early on this week, surpassing “The Town” during comparable mid-week days.

“Cloud Atlas,” from the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker, faces a lofty challenge given its nearly three-hour runtime, leading to fewer screenings. The pic’s epic scope should translate well to Imax locations, however.

The ensember, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon and Ben Whishaw, cost north of $100 million, though Warner is well-positioned under a distribution deal. Pic was paid for by a hodge-podge of foreign financiers including Media Asia Group and German company Ascension Pictures.

Open Road also should be covered financially if “Silent Hill” opens to north of $10 million. The pic’s prospects are questionable, however, since there’s been an overabundance of horror films in the market lately. Also, 3D accounts for approximately 85% of the film’s 2,933 domestic locations.

Par’s high school comedy “Fun Size” looks to attract teenagers based on popularity for Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice. Pic, which cost $14 million, marks the feature directorial debut for TV helmer Josh Schwartz (“Gossip Girl” and “The OC”).

At the specialty B.O., Fox Searchlight expands “The Sessions” today to 20 locations. Last weekend, the film averaged a healthy debut per-screen average of $28,367 from four.

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