Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule at this year’s Toronto International Film Festivalyou can read a recap of some of the movies I saw here–I’m going to have to go for a far lighter stripped-down column again this week. The good news for everyone is that it’s September and there are only two new movies, one a presumably anticipated sequel to a cult hit horror movie, the other the return of a popular French genre director who has a fairly high-profile cast of veteran actors.
Following up the success of their 2011 horror hit Insidious, which grossed nearly $100 million worldwide, Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell return with Insidious Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict), which once again puts Patrick Wilson–star of Wan’s ginormous horror hit The Conjuring–and Rose Byrne and their family into a house full of malevolent spirits. The $54 million domestic box office is nothing to be scoffed at but the abnormally low $7.6 million in DVD sales might show signs that many of those who rushed out to see the movie might have been turned off by some of its weirder aspects (which I loved, by the way). The movie’s 6.7 out of 10 score among IMDb users is a good sign that younger moviegoers dug it and its PG-13 rating will be more of a help than a hindrance in bringing them in on Thursday and Friday night even if it’s likely to be more frontloaded than the original. Expect this to do more than $20 million this weekend and at least match the original’s domestic gross.
Either way, it stands a better chance at winning the weekend than the crime-comedy action flick The Family (Relativity Media) , which teams French action godfather Luc Besson with the likes of veteran actors Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, the former two playing the heads of a mob family in witness protection whose location is discovered by their former colleagues who try to rub them out. Although it’s September and this is normally the type of movie that might get dumped, one can’t ignore the fact that older audiences might be more interested in this than another haunted house movie as it tries to appeal to them in a similar way as Summit Entertainment’s RED. The mob premise and Besson’s involvement should be enough to bring in some of the older males and those who weren’t into the original Insidious, so that this opens north of $10 million but probably less than $15 million and any long term legs will depend strictly on word-of-mouth.
The other interesting race of the weekend may be for fourth place as Lee Daniels’ The Butler, We’re the Millers and the breakout Mexican comedy Instructions Not Included may all end up in the same general ballpark. It will be interesting to see if Lionsgate continues to expand their surprise hit in order to keep making money based on word-of-mouth as The Weinstein Company looks to join the $100 million club with their historical drama.
This weekend last year, the fifth installment of Capcom’s popular horror-action franchise Resident Evil: Retribution (Screen Gems/Sony), once again starring Milla Jovovich and directed by hubby Paul W.S. Anderson, opened in first place with $21 million, down from the previous movie two years earlier. 3D rereleases also started to show signs of decreasing returns as Pixar Animation’s most popular movie Finding Nemo 3D (Walt Disney Pictures) opened with $16.7 million, less than the Beauty and the Beast rerelease earlier in the year, to take second place. The Top 10 grossed $64.8 million and we think this weekend’s offerings will mirror that amount fairly closely.
This Week’s Updated Predictions -
UPDATE: Probably underestimated the popularity of a horror sequel like the one being released later tonight but we don’t think it will have the $35 to 40 million opening some are projecting. There are still a lot of people who didn’t like the first movie who may not bother with the sequel.
1. Insidious Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) – $28.5 million N/A (up 6 million)
2. The Family (Relativity Media) – $12.4 million N/A (up .9 million)
3. Riddick (Universal Pictures) – $8.8 million -54%
4. Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate/Pantelion) – $5.5 million -33% (up .5 million and one spot)
5. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (The Weinstein Company) – $5.3 million -37%
6. We’re the Millers (New Line/WB) – $4.8 million -38%
7. Disney’s Planes (Walt Disney Pictures) – $2.5 million -39%
8. One Direction: This is Us (Tristar Pictures/Sony) – $1.9 million -55%
9. Elysium (TriStar Pictures/Sony) – $1.7 million -46%
10. Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) – $1.5 million -35%
There are a number of decent limited releases coming out Friday including Alexandre Moors’ Blue Caprice (Sundance Selects), starring Isaiah Washington, a drama based on the infamous beltway shootings that plagued the Maryland and D.C. areas a few years back, as well as Sophie Huber’s portrait of veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Adopt Films), but we haven’t had much time to watch much else so you’re on your own this week. Sorry!
Next week is another weekend with only two new movies as the dance flick Battle of the Year 3D (Screen Gems/Sony) takes on the suspense thriller Prisoners (Warner Bros.), starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and more.
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Copyright 2013 Edward Douglas