For a second weekend in a row, a low-budget movie will take out an exorbitantly-budgeted one for the top spot. Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, the sequel to last autumn’s surprise hit, is expected to make $20 million-$25 million in a crowded weekend that includes such wide entries as Warner Bros/Skydance Media’s $120M-plus disaster film Geostorm (some say that the movie is way over that figure), Universal/Working Title’s The Snowman, Sony/Black Label Media’s forest firefighter movie Only the Brave, and PureFlix/Paramount’s faith-based title Same Kind of Different as Me.
Similar to the same weekend last year, it’s a crowded frame because distributors vie to get a leg up on the weekend before Halloween as moviegoing generally calms down during that period with the exception of horror films, and Lionsgate has their Saw reboot Jigsaw opening then.
Boo! last year marked Perry’s return to the big screen after a two-year break, and he rallied strong with a pic that posted a $28M opening, beating of all things a Tom Cruise sequel Jack Reacher : Never Go Back ($22.8M). Boo! played to a broad audience of African Americans, Hispanic and Asian crowds and even played younger than the typical Perry movie. It resonated so much that it even played beyond its Halloween holiday with a 2.6 multiple, or $73.2M. Similar to the firsts Boo!, the sequel carries a production cost in the low-$20M range.
Universal/Blumhouse’s PG-13 horror film Happy Death Day is expected to take No. 2 with a 55% ease or $11M-$12M in Weekend 2 while Alcon Entertainment/Sony’s Blade Runner 2049 is looking at a 40%-45% decline in Weekend 3 with $8M-$9M. Blade Runner 2049 has been winning the weekdays because Happy Death Day‘s audience is still in school, and adults are the prime demo at the theater between Monday through Thursday at this time of year.
Like any major hurricane, Warner Bros is hoping that Geostorm would just go away. After $15M-plus in reshoots and bad test scores, the movie arrives quite ragged at 3,246 theaters. The disaster movie marks the directorial debut of disaster genre producer Dean Devlin, and the Burbank, CA lot has co-financed the pic with Skydance and RatPac on this we’ve-seen-this-movie-before, which is expected to die with $10M-$12M. Warner Bros is not showing Geostorm to critics and there aren’t Thursday night shows despite the fact other studios like Sony and Lionsgate are holding previews for their movies. Studio hopes that grey clouds will show some sunshine on this movie abroad: Geostorm ranked No. 1 in eight Asian markets last weekend with $9.7M. The pic hits 50 additional overseas markets this week including Germany, Russia, Korea, Brazil, Australia, Spain, the UK and Mexico. Here’s the rub: When the movie opens in China on October 27 against Blade Runner 2049, rival foreign distrib chiefs expect Geostorm to win in a big way as it’s the type of movie more suited for the Middle Kingdom than sophisticated sci-fi epics.
Both vying for older men are Only the Brave and The Snowman. Universal is showing the latter in 1,813 theaters, and its Rotten Tomatoes score is currently at 26% Rotten, but the hope is that goes up after tonight’s all-media screening in Hollywood. Industry expectations for the feature adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s global bestseller are around $10M. Pic stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer and Oscar winner J.K. Simmons and was directed by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘s Tomas Alfredson. Movie follows an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Fassbender) who investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter. He fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.
Only the Brave currently carries a 95% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Sony is handling for the Black Label Media $38M-financed movie a distribution fee and is on the hook for P&A. The Josh Brolin-Miles Teller movie isn’t expected to move the needle with $6M-$7M at 2,575 theaters, 50 Imax venues and 63 PLFs. There is a philanthropic initiative for the film, The Granite Mountain Fund, set up to drive donations to support firefighting in small towns and families of first responders.
While Paramount was known to distribute faith-based fare during vice chairman Rob Moore’s era, the studio jettisoned their feature adaptation of the Denver Moore-Ron Hall-Lynn Vincent memoir Same Kind of Different as Me to PureFlix at the end of last year. Paramount financed 40% of the feature which stars Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Jon Voight, Djimon Hounsou and Olivia Holt. Pic follows an international art dealer (Kinnear) who befriends a homeless man (Hounsou) to try to save his marriage with wife (Zellweger). PureFlix has booked the movie in 1,362 venues and is expecting a $3M-$4M three-day total.