“Gone Girl” should entrap audiences for the second week in a row, but the R-rated thriller faces stiff competition from a family film, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
The Walt Disney Studios’ adaptation of Judith Viorst’s venerable children’s book about a young boy’s descriptor-worthy day should pull in $19 million when it unravels across 3,088 screens. It cost $28 million to produce and boasts Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner in lead roles. Look for “Gone Girl” to add $22 million to its winnings in its sophomore weekend, while another holdover, “Annabelle,” should do $17 million worth of business it is second week.
That leaves two other new releases nipping at the frontrunners’ heels, “Dracula Untold” and “The Judge,” which should do between $16 million and $18 million in ticket sales. Give the edge to the bloodsucker in that particular match-up.
“It’s a robust and very lively weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “They’re going to be stacked up really tight at the top of the chart.”
“The Judge” is the kind of courtroom drama that Hollywood doesn’t make any more, preferring to place its bets on comicbook adaptations. Robert Downey Jr., one of cinema’s most successful superheroes, was able to get this passion project greenlit due to his “Iron Man” clout and now will see if he has enough star power to pack in crowds. The big test is whether the adult audiences the R-rated drama needs to attract will instead defect for another week of “Gone Girl.” “The Judge” cost $50 million to produce and was backed by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow. It co-stars Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga, and will debut in 3,003 theaters.
“Dracula Untold” relies on concept, not cast, to sell its wares. The $70 million film will bow in 2,885 North American theaters, a healthy percentage of which will be premium large format and Imax. The Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment release is an origins story that reveals how Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) managed to score those fangs and achieve undead status. The hope is that the film will be part of Universal’s broader effort to dust off its monster movie brands and reposition them for modern audiences. It could benefit from its PG-13 rating, which will make it the default option for teenagers unable to score tickets to R-rated films like “The Judge,” “Annabelle” and “Gone Girl.”
Then there’s “Addicted,” a low-budget thriller about a woman (Sharon Leal) who threatens her picture-perfect marriage by engaging in a series of affairs. Lionsgate and CodeBlack are releasing the film and targeting African-American crowds. The net budget is under $5 million and the film only needs to hit $10 million to be in the black. It should debut to between $3 million to $4 million when it premieres across 846 locations.
The problem for studios is that there’s a pile-up at the multiplexes, analysts say. Cannibalism may be inevitable.
“There’s a glut of product right now,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “People are still going to see ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Annabelle,’ ‘The Equalizer,’ even ‘Boxtrolls,’ and now you have four new movies getting released, some of them in the same genres. They’re going to hurt each other.”
On the limited release front, Focus Features will debut “Kill the Messenger,” the story of a crusading reporter (Jeremy Renner) who publishes a bombshell report on the CIA. It will debut in 374 theaters. Also of note, the Weinstein Company begins rolling out “St. Vincent,” a film about a misanthropic veteran (Bill Murray) who befriends the young boy next door. The comedy, which was co-produced with Chernin Entertainment, will open in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, before rolling out to 60 theaters in the top 25 markets the following weekend. It will go wide on October 24.