Two spooky films –Sony’s feature adaptation of the 23-year old R.L. Stine literary franchise Goosebumps and Legendary’s Guillermo del Toro gothic horror film Crimson Peak — are planning to get both younger and older crowds into the Halloween spirit.
Goosebumps, which is tracking the strongest among both males and females under 25 thanks to its generational popularity, has the upper scare with industry expectations for the Rob Letterman film between $24M-$25M at an estimated 3,500-plus venues further boosted by 3D and RealD. Sony is projecting a much lower weekend between $12M-$15M. Previews start 6 P.M. on Thursday. Despite Goosebumps’ solid tracking, industry analysts believe that 20th Century Fox’s The Martian has a shot at three-peating No. 1 with $25M-$27M. Through yesterday, the Ridley Scott-directed astronaut movie has logged an estimated $117M.
Scholastic’s Goosebumps books have spawned over 400 million copies worldwide in 32 languages. Sony started promoting the film two years with sneak peaks at San Diego’s Comic-Con. From the looks of its trailer, the film is reminiscent of another Sony lit adaptation, the 1995 film Jumanji ($100.5M). Similar to that film’s plot, which was based on Chris Van Allsburg’s childrens book about animals’ stampeding a small town after being released from a jinxed board game, Goosebumps follows Stine’s creatures being unleashed on a small town after they’ve been locked up safely in his library. Jack Black plays Stine in the film, which was co-produced by Village Roadshow Pictures and LStar Capital. Sony opted to release Goosebumps this weekend versus the Columbus Day holiday so as to capitalize on Halloween in advance, and to provide breathing room to Hotel Transylvania 2, which coincides with the same family demo as Goosebumps.
Crimson Peak will open in 2,983 venues as well as Imax and PLF via Universal. Legendary produced and co-financed the pic. Conservative projections have the del Toro pic in the mid teens, however, others see it at $18M-$20M. After the monsters vs. robots epic Pacific Rim, the R-rated Crimson Peak is closer to the director’s Spanish-language horror stomping ground of Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone. Currently, critics are giving it a 76% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is tracking between 35%-39% among all male and female demos in the definite choice column. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston, Crimson Peak has made great gains in tracking over the last few weeks among females.
The third wide release, which is making a play toward the adult crowd, is Disney/DreamWorks’ late 1950s drama Bridge of Spies from Steven Spielberg, opening at an estimated 2,800 venues with a mid teens projected opening. While Disney debuted Spielberg’s War Horse on Christmas day in 2011 and Lincoln in November, the studio seized the opportunity to launch Bridge of Spies at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 4th followed by stops at the Hamptons and Mill Valley film festivals, spurring an 89% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Disney hopes that the film continues to draw adults until Thanksgiving. Currently Bridge of Spies carries a definite choice among older 25+ males at 46% and under 25 guys at 38%. Previews begin Thursday at 7pm. Both Lincoln and War Horse legged out quite well under Disney, respectfully yielding 8.7X and 5.5X their wide openings. Bridge of Spies follows U.S. insurance attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) who negotiated the exchange of captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for Russian spy Rudolf Abel during the Cold War.
PureFlix Cinema will debut the faith-based drama Woodlawn in an estimated 1,500 theaters. Industry estimates are figuring a $2M-$3M opening. The film which stars Jon Voight, C. Thomas Howell and Sean Astin, follows the rise of the Woodlawn High School Football team and its first African American player in the face of racial adversity in 1973 Birmingham, Alabama.
After the wide releases, there’s a watershed of prolific limited awards contenders. Universal is expanding Steve Jobs from four New York and Los Angeles playdates to 25 markets. Sony Classics is releasing its 60 Minutes Rather-gate drama Truth starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as news producer Mary Mapes in six theaters, split evenly between New York and Los Angeles. A24’s Room, hot off audience wins at the Hamptons International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, is playing in four New York and L.A. hubs. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Room follows a mother and her five-year old son, who have been kidnapped and confined in a 10-by-10 foot space. Bleecker Street in conjunction with a Netflix streaming release on Friday, is opening Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation about the plight of African child soldiers in 27 theaters in 30 markets.