5 Films Fighting for Weekend Box Office Dominance

Bad Grandpa

Is this the weekend that Warner Bros.’s (NYSE:TWX) Gravity falls from the number one spot at the box office? According to industry projections, Gravity’s reign as the number one film at the domestic box office is set to end at three weeks — and the film projected to do so may raise some eyebrows. Here’s a preview of the top five films at this weekend’s box office.

1. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount Pictures)

It looks like Paramount Pictures’ (NASDAQ:VIA) Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa will be the film to take down Warner Bros.’s space juggernaut Gravity. Coming in with a Major Theater Chain Tracking projection of $33 million, the film is likely to earn a bit less than that — perhaps somewhere around $29 million — but that should still be good enough to bring down Gravity in it’s fourth week as the Johnny Knoxville vehicle opens up into about 3,000 theaters.

From the creators of the Jackass series, Paramount’s Bad Grandpa differs slightly from the previous Jackass films in that the film presents a single narrative centered around Knoxville’s recurring 86-year-old character Irving Zisman. Unlike the previous entires in the Jackass franchise that more or less present a series of disconnected sketches with varying lengths, Bad Grandpa can be likened to the films of Sacha Baron Cohen where real pranks are situated through a consistent narrative.

Gravity (2)

2. Gravity (Warner Bros.)

It’s been a good run, but Warner Bros.’ Gravity couldn’t remain the top film at the weekend box office forever — even if that had started to seem possible as the film took the top spot at the box office for three weekends in a row. If the week over week declines hold consistent, Warner Bros. could be looking at about a 35 percent decline in Gravity’s fourth weekend for a box office total of about $20 million. For a film in its fourth weekend, that’s still a hugely impressive number.

While Gravity’s reign at the top of the box office appears finished, Warner Bros. can rest easy knowing the film has collected an estimated $177 million at the domestic box office and $114 million overseas — the latter of which is set to increase dramatically as the film expands into new territories over the next several weeks and months. As of this writing, Gravity’s worldwide total stands at $291 million.

Additionally, Warner Bros. has reason to celebrate as the film was recently accepted for distribution in China — something that had been in doubt due to China’s stringent domestic film policies that place limits on the amount of foreign releases in the country. Since Gravity is now set to be released in China, Warner Bros. will be able to see profits from what has become the second biggest film market in the world.

The Counselor

3. The Counselor (20th Century Fox)

The only other wide release this week, 20th Century Fox’s (NASDAQ:FOXA) The Counselor is opening in a little over 3,000 theaters, but is already showing worrying signs despite having a huge amount of talent involved both behind and in front of the camera lens. Current Major Theater Chain Tracking projections show the 20th Century Fox release taking in about $12 million — a number that seems about right given the sizable competition at the box office and the poor buzz The Counselor is receiving en route to its opening.

Directed by Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Gladiator) and written by Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Road, No Country for Old Men, and All the Pretty Horses, 20th Century Fox’s The Counselor tells the story of a greedy lawyer, known only as the counselor, who gets himself in over his head when be becomes involved in the world of drug trafficking. The Counselor stars Michael Fassbender in the title role along with Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt.

Buzz leading up the film’s release was notably lackluster and it appears that the critical reception to the film will follow suit. As of this writing, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows the Top Critics only giving the film a 20 percent Fresh rating, along with some particularly vitriol consensus statements. David Thomson of The New Republic writes, “The Counselor is a very bad film, and I suspect that a lot of the actors knew that already as they did their work. It lacks clarity, plausibility, suspense, and purpose.” Even the few overall “positive” reviews are not exactly exciting. Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times writes, “You wait for The Counselor to get started and finally realize it never will — but you can, at least, enjoy the pictures,” awarding the film a 2.5 out of 4 and just narrowly missing Rotten Tomatoes cut off for a positive review.

Tom Hanks

4. Captain Phillips (Sony)

Sony Pictures’ (NYSE:SNE) Captain Phillips, now entering its third weekend in release, looks to continue it’s consistent run although new entries Bad Grandpa and The Counselor are likely to bounce it to the fourth spot from the second spot at the weekend box office where it’s resided for two straight weeks. If the week over week decline of around 36 percent were to continue, Captain Phillips could be looking at a weekend take of around $10 million.

While Sony’s Oscar hopeful, true-life thriller hasn’t exactly seen an exciting run at the box office due to the fervor over Warner Bros.’s Gravity, the Tom Hanks-led film has quietly been a success for the studio as the film has generally overperformed it’s generally low expectations. With a budget of $55 million, Captain Phillips has now earned nearly $57 million at the domestic box office and $9 million overseas for a worldwide total of $66 million.


5. Carrie (Sony)

Sony’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie — the third film adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name — disappointed the studio in the film’s first weekend of release, as the film’s $16 million weekend gross significantly underperformed the film’s projections of around $24 million. It doesn’t exactly look as if the film will fare any better this week with additional competition as most projections are showing a weekend box office total of around $8 million, good for fifth place.

For a film that didn’t arrive with much buzz, especially considering the 1976 Brian Di Palma adaptation is consistently heralded as a horror classic, the numbers weren’t exactly surprising to industry onlookers. Still, with Halloween coming there’s still a possibility for the film to generate a decent box office total when all is said and done — not to mention the film’s $30 million production budget is not nearly as high as many films that crash and burn at the box office.

As of this writing, Carrie has earned $19 million domestic, but has not yet had an overseas release — something which should bode well for Sony as it aims to make up the cost of the film.

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