Box office preview: 'The Town' battles 'Easy A' and 'Devil' for top spot

ben-affleck-townThe fall movie-going season is about to begin, and Hollywood is already piling on the goods. Four movies will battle it out for the top spot this weekend, and any one of them would be lucky to hit $20 million. The one that’s received the most attention from the media and the talk show circuit is Ben Affleck’s The Town. Not only is the film getting good reviews (EW’s own Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the film an A-), but everybody loves a comeback story — and Ben Affleck 2.0’s is certainly a riveting one. In contrast, Easy A has young girls wrapped around its finger. Starring Emma Stone, this modern-day take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter — fashioned with dialogue reminiscent of Juno and Mean Girls — could be a break-out hit if those tweens show up. Devil and the animated flick Alpha and Omega have a more difficult battle to fight. Devil, from producer M. Night Shyamalan, features no big-name stars and a horror conceit that could easily be unraveled. Alpha and Omega, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have nearly enough marketing needed to turn on families during this busy back-to-school season. See below for me predictions.

1. Easy A: $18 million

Teen girls haven’t had something to sink their teeth into since Twilight. And while I’m not even considering comparing Easy A to the vampire juggernaut, I do think this PG-13-rated teen flick does have the ability to spark with its intended demographic. How high it gets is going to be predicated based on how many teenage girls are available for movie-going this weekend. If they love it, which I predict they will, then word-of-mouth could give the Screen Gems flick a hefty opening frame. It would also mean the Sony subsidiary scores its third No. 1 film in three weeks, after Resident Evil and Takers.

2. The Town: $17 million

Affleck’s got good reviews and good will on his side for his heist drama The Town. He also has a well-pedigreed supporting cast of Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm. Add in the fact that Affleck’s been making the talk show rounds, and it all should translate well at the box office. His opening weekend could get very close to the $20 million his first directorial effort Gone Baby Gone earned in its entire run. And it needs to: The Town‘s audience gets very distracted next weekend with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opening and even more preoccupied on Oct. 1 when David Fincher’s The Social Network bows.

3. Devil: $13 million

Yes, Devil is an “M. Night Shyamalan presents” feature, the first in his Night Chronicles trilogy of films that he produces and others direct. It’s only PG-13, so it’s clearly not going to be a gore fest. And Universal hasn’t shown it to critics, which is never a good sign. My guess is it will have a decent Friday night, and if word-of-mouth is bad, it will disappear quickly.

4. Resident Evil: Afterlife: $10 million

Luring in $26 million its opening weekend, Resident Evil: Afterlife is on track to become the highest-grosser of the four films. Still, the R-rated zombie flick is likely to lose at least 60 percent of its value its sophomore session, in line with how the franchise typically performs.

5. Alpha and Omega: $9 million

It takes a lot of marketing muscle to reach family audiences, and Lionsgate doesn’t seem to either have the will or the cash. Plus, families are busy right now, so an animated release seems ill-timed. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m doubtful this flick — starring the voice talents of Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, and Danny Glover — will make much of an impact.

The limited release film pack is even more crowded this weekend. The social media documentary Catfish opens alongside Fox Searchlight’s Never Let Me Go and Overture Film’s Philip Seymour Hoffman flick Jack Goes Boating. Come back for box office results over the weekend.


Comments (32 total) Add your comment
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  • m1

    #1 is between Easy A and The Town. Both movies have gotten great buzz, and will cause similarly themed films like The Other Guys and Takers to drop. Easy A looks fun. The Town should be a welcome mat to the serious awards contenders of this year.

  • Matt1

    Saw The Town at a test screening a while back and while it’s no Departed, it’s easily in my top 3 of the year so far with Inception and TS3! This movie really deserves some love come Oscar time!

  • At

    My guilty pleasure is for Devil but I think we’re seeing The Town.

  • Jordan

    Easy A for ‘teen girls’? That has got to be the most biased comment I’ve ever heard. Not only do I know a lot of ‘straight’ men who want to see this, its main target is teens in general, not just the twilight female audience. Get real.

    • m1

      The lead character is a teen girl, and the plot revolves around her faking her loss of virginity. Teen girls are the MAIN target audience, if not the only. As a teen boy, I’m curious about The Town and Easy A. Devil looks horrendous, and Alpha and Omega looks mediocre.

    • Grubi

      I was thinking the same thing as Jordan when I read this. The movie is rated PG-13. Theoretically, “tweens” aren’t supposed to even see this movie (not that I put much weight on the MPAA). I’m a 22 year old male and I’m considering seeing it (I haven’t decided yet). I think the movie that most closely resembles Easy A is 10 Things I Hate About You. And as a I recall, that movie was a moderate hit across the board. Also, when I saw Going the Distance a couple weeks ago, Easy A was one of the previews. Going the Distance is a pretty hard R, so I’m not sure why Easy A would be advertised before that movie when it is supposedly aimed at teenage girls…

  • Elroy

    I saw Easy A at a test screening on Tuesday and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I’m a guy in his mid-20s, so I don’t really fit into the target audience. However, the movie makes some not so subtle references to John Hughes movies and plays with the cliches of the teen comedy movie (it does fall into a few of the cliches itself, but that doesn’t do too much damage). Emma Stone is both adorable and funny in her first real starring role. I can’t remember a recent PG-13 comedy that was this consistently funny (though sometimes those 100% full test screenings make me think something is funnier than it is). I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of John Hughes movies or Clueless.

    I do want to see The Town as well and am planning on going to see it early tomorrow.

  • Dave

    Finally! It’s finally fall movie season! After a pretty bad summer movie season (with only a small handful of exceptions), I’m ready to see some good movies. I’ll be seeing The Town this weekend. Easy A looks good too, though I might wait a week or two to see that. And I also am really looking forward to Never Let Me Go. I don’t know if it will be playing anywhere near me this weekend, but as soon as it rolls out to my city, I’ll be there.

  • Vince

    Though I’d argue that there have been some films reaching out to the tweenage audience since Eclipse opened (Step Up 3D, arguably any horror film since majority of the audience is made of young girls), Easy A looks like it could maybe possibly take off. It has a solid premise and looks funny even to a 20 year old college student like me. At the very least, it could do “The House Bunny” numbers (incidentally also starring Emma Stone). It’s light and fluffy and it’s coming out at a time where there aren’t many comedies out there anymore.

    Alpha and Omega looks like absolute junk, IMO, but the last “big” (notice the quotes) film opening for the family audience was Nanny Mcphee Returns which bombed. It’s animated, it’s in 3D, and there are literally no family movies out there right now. It could make a little money in a weak field.

  • matt

    im expecting that although the Town and Easy A have all the hype, my favorite of the week will be Devil. Is no one excited for Legend of the Guardians? Look at the trailer, its amazing.

    • Erin

      No. Its about owls.

    • m1

      Actually, Guardians looks like a great film, REGARDLESS of the owls subject.

  • PIle

    well, as a grown man, i don’t know anyone who wants to see Easy A. The Town is the movie to see if you’re n adult. But it’s rated R, so this will be an adults vs children weekend.

  • morticia

    Devil and Easy A ;-D

  • ryan

    Town looks good but it will be a dollar cinema one. Devil looks fun so I will see that! Omega looks retarded so that will be a redbox for the kids, and easy A looks like another chick flick that I have no interest in seeing, just like eat pray and juliet. Tune in next week when I tell you to watch wall street instead of another serious adult movie that barely makes a profit.

    • m1

      Tune in to see ryan cry heavily when no one listens to him.

  • larry k

    Just saw Devil,and it plays like an old Twilight Zone episode.Just okay,not really scarey,but suspenseful at times.

  • S58

    Devil will most likely beat the town. Its more main stream, plus I really want to see it.

  • Nathan

    The Town will hit $23 at least and win the weekend.

    • Creek

      Ding!

  • Jose

    Double feature with The Town and Easy A this weekend!

    Anyone seeing “Never Let Me Go”?

    • Nathan

      Wanted to, but the reviews haven’t been all that great so far.

      • Jose

        66% is good enough for me.
        As is Carey Mulligan.

    • Simon

      Where is Never Let Me Go playing?
      I am going to Devil – looks great (despite what the EW critic says).

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