Box office preview: Will 'The Final Destination' and 'Halloween II' massacre each other?

Your regular box office prognosticator Nicole Sperling is out for the next few weeks, box office fans, so you’re stuck with me for this week’s horror movie showdown. That’s right, we’ve got the unusual spectacle of two slice-and-dice flicks opening this weekend, The Final Destination (actually the fourth film in the series), and Halloween II (the second in director Rob Zombie’s reboot of the durable horror franchise, but technically the ninth Halloween movie total). With the R-rated Inglourious Basterds and District 9 also vying for similar audiences, it looks like it’s gonna be — yep, you knew this was coming — quite a bloody weekend at the box office. Here’s how I see the body count stacking up:

1. The Final Destination — $19 million
The three previous films in this making-efficient-mincemeat-of-anonymous-hot-actors franchise have all built on the previous film’s opening weekend, with the last one banking $19.1 million when it opened in Feb. 2006. I do think the steeper competition this time around will suppress the total number of ticket buyers for the film. But New Line Cinema has aggressively promoted the fact that this Final Destination is in 3D, and over half the 3,121 theaters showing the film will be charging the premium ticket price that comes with that unique pleasure. The last horror movie to go 3D — last January’s subtly titled My Bloody Valentine 3D — brought in $21.1 million even though it came in third place, and that was on far fewer 3D screens.

2. Inglourious Basterds$18 million
The big question hovering now over Quentin Tarantino’s WWII opus is whether its impressive $38 million opening weekend exhausted its potential audience, or if the film has the legs to go the distance. Since I’m planning on seeing the film this weekend, and since word-of-mouth on the film has been rather strong, I put the film’s second weekend drop around 52%, for a healthy $18 million weekend, which puts it ahead of…

3. Halloween II — $14 million
Writer-director Rob Zombie’s first stab at rebooting the grandpappy of the slasher film genre raked in $30.1 million when it opened over the four-day Labor Day weekend in 2007, but that was against no real competition, and juiced by the excitement of infusing moribund anti-hero Michael Myers with some desperately needed new blood. But a Halloween sequel? Been there, slashed that. I’m calculating horror fans looking at a choice between yet another Halloween movie and the chance at watching pretty kids die in three dimensions will go with the latter more than the former. Adding injury to more injury, Halloween II‘s distributors, the rather famously cash strapped The Weinstein Co. and Dimension Films, haven’t been able to flex as much marketing muscle for the project as they might have in their halcyon days.

4. District 9 – $7.5 million
I’m thinking this little-sci-fi-movie-that-could might see the first small chink in its insect-like armor thanks to this weekend’s glut of R-rated movie violence, with a third-weekend drop close to 60%. That still would put the film’s total gross close to $90 million, well on its way to becoming one of the summer’s most profitable films.

5. Taking Woodstock — $7 million
Opening in almost 1,400 theaters, director Ang Lee’s first English-language film since Brokeback Mountain will certainly capitalize on nostalgia for the historic three-day music festival. The film’s critical reception, however, has been decidedly mixed-to-negative: A 52% Rotten Tomatoes score does not bode well for the movie’s prospects with a prospective audience that actually still reads, and heeds, movie reviews.

Also opening in limited release:

Big Fan — Comedian Patton Oswalt takes on his first dramatic role as a sad-sack New York Giants mega-fan who runs afoul of his favorite player.

The September Issue — This documentary follows the making of the most important issue for the fashion world’s de-facto bible, Vogue magazine, and the infamous editor — proverbial “ice queen” Anna Wintour — who runs it.

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  • Matt2

    It definitely will be a bloody battle for number one with FD4, H2, and IB probably all falling within a million or two of each other. My predictions:
    1. The Final Destination- 21m
    2. Halloween 2- 19m
    3. Inglorious Basterds- 17.5m
    4. D9- 8.7m
    5. G I Joe- 7.8m

  • poop

    okay-1.-halloween2-22mil-2final destrination-17mil-3inglorious-17mil-district nine-9.8mil

  • darrin

    this is actually the tenth “halloween” movie if you count number 3 which didn’t have michael myers. just saying…

    • Chris G

      agreed. this is really the 10th Halloween movie.

    • Joe R

      I was just going to mention this. Which is the Halloween movie most people forget? Halloween 3? Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers? Or Halloween: Resurrection?

  • mickey803

    There is NO way Taking Woodstock makes the top 5!! It may not even make the top 10!!

  • Kyle

    I would bet that Taking Woodstock would make the top 5 if it was in more theaters but its not even playing in my theater (I am still mad about that) but I agree that I dont think it will make the top 10

  • Tommy Marx

    The only way Halloween II will make any money is if the people that didn’t see Zombie’s first horrible reboot get curious. There’s no way you could pay me to see another Zombie movie – he sucks!

  • Jeff W.

    Where are the Final Destination and Halloween reviews??? Taking Woodstock will not make any money, it looks dreadful. Inglorious Basterds will have a steep drop.

  • meso soup

    Horror fans should be ashamed if they choose Final Destination over H2. Tisk, tisk.

    What is the world coming to?

  • Kevin J. Coyne

    I wouldn’t be shocked to see Julie & Julia in the top five again. It’s quietly moved up to the #3 spot during the week, outgrossing Time Traveler’s Wife despite the latter being in 500+ more theaters.

    I think it will edge out Woodstock and take the fifth slot.

  • nervz

    Any true horror fan won’t need to choose over which movie they see this weekend. They’ll only need (like me) to choose which one they’ll see FIRST.

    • Nate

      Exactly!! I’m planning on seeing both back to back and then get me a side dish of tarantino’s bloodfest. And for desert? some free lovin’ naked woodstocking.

      • Jeff W.

        Aintitcoolnews gave both films terrible reviews. Obviously everything is subjective but you might not want to spend too much on these films.

  • rkallao

    District 9 better watch out V is on
    it’s way and that was the best. And
    speaking of aliens on earth and too
    reboots anyone thought of another
    Alien Nation I think Christian Bale
    would be good alien police officer
    joining to have to work with human
    police officer Johnny Depp? I think
    that would a heck of a movie .

  • rkallao

    I better put my two cents worth as
    horror movies goes : Halloween,the
    original, The Shining , even Jaws
    was better then some of the movies
    they got today .what about the Fly
    the original with Vincent Price the
    scene I’ll never forget as the half
    human fly was stuck in the spider’s
    web .or the creatures that went in
    Chekov’s ear in Star Trek 2 :Wrath
    of Khan and in any of those movies
    how much special effects they use ?

  • E.B. Berman

    “Ang Lee’s first English-language film since Brokeback Mountain?” OK, yeah, this is true and it’s been a four-year break, but there was ONE non-English-language movie filling the gap. This feels like a nonsensical point to bring up.

  • james

    I think its the tenth Halloween movie, not the ninth. I am counting Halloween 3, even though Michael Myers did not make even a cameo.

  • wg

    “That still would put the film’s total gross close to $90 million, well on its way to becoming one of the summer’s most profitable films.

    Yes – that will put District 9 into the stratosphere along with “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail”. You folks have been so desperate to push this film as a mega-hit and just refuse to accept reality that it’s just not. It’s a good little SF film that did middling business. Yay. Transformers and Harry Potter are still not quaking in their boots.

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