The Weekend Warrior: Labor Day 2013 Predictions

As mentioned last week, I’m not doing a full column this week, but I thought I’d give you a quick round of predictions for the movies opening up on Wednesday and Friday for the long Labor Day weekend, the last holiday of the summer that effectively ties the summer movie season into the fall.

The big movie of the weekend is likely to be Morgan Spurlock’s concert doc One Direction: This Is Us (Tristar Pictures/Sony), which follows in the line of movies like ones on Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and others, this one intended to get the fans closer to the super-hot British boy group. Regardless of what you think of One Direction, they’re really quite an amazing phenomenon who have exploded onto the music scene in recent years and been hugely successful in large part due to the dedication of their fans. With school back in session in many areas, the band’s young female fanbase is probably all abuzz for the group, something that should translate to a big first day when you include Thursday night screenings, and while it’s likely to do a lot of business on Friday, the extended four-day weekend should help it with business extended through Monday.

I don’t have very high hopes for the other two new movies being released wide this weekend. The action thriller Getaway (Warner Bros.), starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, seems to be getting dumped into the Labor Day weekend with very little fanfare and a late-start marketing campaign. In fact, we never even heard anything about this movie until a couple weeks ago and it just doesn’t seem like it has much to offer beyond what we’ve already seen done better earlier in the summer.

Getting a moderate release into 800 theaters on Wednesday, the British political thriller Closed Circuit (Focus Features), starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall, doesn’t have a lot going for it except that it’s being released in the same weekend when Focus had success with The Constant Gardner and other more adult-oriented dramas. They’ve been advertising the movie quite heavily, but this looks very much like something that people will be fine waiting for DVD or download and we think it won’t even crack the Top 10 this weekend even with the four days.

Wong Kar Wai’s action flick The Grandmaster (The Weinstein Company), starring Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang, will also expand nationwide into 500 theaters on Friday after a rather weak showing in its platform release. Weinstein predecessor Miramax had good luck in this timeframe with the martial arts flick Hero, but that also starred Jet Li and was nominated for a foreign language Oscar while this one seems lower key. We think there should be enough martial arts fans not interested in the other movies above that might give this a look although we don’t expect it to bnreak into the Top 10.

Likewise, James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now (A24), starring Miles Fischer and Shailene Woodley, is expected to expand nationwide this weekend into an unknown number of theaters, having grossed nearly $2 million so far. I can probably see it bringing in roughly that same amount over the four-day weekend or slightly less.

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine should continue to do well into the holiday weekend, but especially if Sony Pictures Classics expands it into more theaters, and Focus Features my decide to roll The World’s End into more theaters as they did with Hot Fuzz.

UPDATE: Also of note are Paramount’s decision to re-expand World War Z and Star Trek into Darkness into roughly a thousand more theaters this weekend, in some places as a double feature, as well as Disney’s decision to do the same with Monsters University in hopes of getting some last minute summer business over the holiday weekend. We think the latter could bring in roughly $2.5 million while the double feature might do around the same or slightly less, either way, not enough to get back into the Top 10.

This Week’s Updated Predictions

(The below are all four-day predictions.)

1. One Direction: This Is Us (Tristar Pictures/Sony) – $17.5 million N/A (up 1.8 million)

2. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (The Weinstein Company) – $14.5 million -12% (up .7 million)

3. We’re the Millers (New Line/WB) – $11.5 million -14% (up .1 million)

4. Getaway (Warner Bros.) – $7.5 million N/A (down .1 million)

5. Disney’s Planes (Walt Disney Pictures) – $7.3 million -15%

6. The World’s End (Focus Features) – $6.5 million -26%

7. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Screen Gems/Sony) – $5.5 million -41%

8. Elysium (TriStar Pictures/Sony) – $4.9 million -30%

9. Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) – $4.0 million (no change)

10. You’re Next (Lionsgate) – $4 million -43%

Closed Circuit (Focus Features) – $3.0 million N/A

The Grandmaster (The Weinstein Company) – $2.3 million +1566%

The Spectacular Now (A24) $1.8 million +290%

Next week, it’s all about Vin Diesel as Riddick (Universal Pictures) opens and I’ll be back with a full column as I head off to the beautiful city of Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival.

You can read stuff like this and regular box office, awards and festival coverage on the Weekend Warrior Blog and to keep up with the latest articles and posts, you can follow us on Twitter.

Copyright 2013 Edward Douglas