It’s going to be a close race at this weekend’s box office. Audiences will certainly be going to see Argo, but Liam Neeson looks primed for another week of victory with Taken 2. At this rate, we’re going to see his long-lost son get kidnapped as well. Without further ado, I bring you this week’s box office predictions.
1. Taken 2 — $24 million
Liam Neeson will continue his box office reign for the second straight week. Poor reviews (it stands at 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) could be buoyed by positive word-of-mouth (it has a solid “B+” Cinemascore grade), leading to a likely drop of around 50 percent. However, I don’t expect it to attain the momentum of the original Taken, which attracted a bevy of moviegoers that drove the film to a gross of $145 million. If Taken 2 is indeed crowned box office champ this week, it has its PG-13 rating to thank — most of the other major releases are weighed down by an R.
2. Argo — $22 million
Critics adore Ben Affleck’s “based on a true story” film, which has scored phenomenal reviews ever since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. And yet, it remains uncertain as to whether audiences will flock to the cinema to see it. Its R rating could prove to be a bit of a noose, but I bet that this film will have long legs in the coming weeks thanks to the intense Oscar buzz.
3. Sinister — $19 million
Sinister is a curious flick. The horror movie starring Ethan Hawke and Juliet Rylance has a 63 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I’m not sure how many people are actually aware of it. The fact that it’s opening a week before the latest Paranormal Activity installment could help or hurt its chances — it’s too soon to tell. This is the kind of movie that has the potential to surprise us all and do upwards of $30 million its opening weekend (along the lines of The Devil Inside). But I predict it will be overshadowed by another R-rated release — Argo.
4. Hotel Transylvania — $18 million
The Adam Sandler monster movie took in a respectable $26.3 million during its second week of release, bringing its grand total to $76 million in its first ten days. Given that it’s the only kids fare at the box office this weekend, it will probably take in at least another $18 million, if not more.
5. Here Comes the Boom — $12 million
Kevin James’ latest comedy looks like it could be DOA. His previous feature Zookeeper grossed $20 million its opening weekend, but poor reviews and Kevin James fatigue could keep Here Comes the Boom from ever connecting with audiences. Still, with the glut of R-rated releases, I’m betting its take should fall somewhere near the teens.
Another film to watch out for is Seven Psychopaths. Colin Farrell re-teamed with his In Bruges director for this quirky feature, which follows a struggling screenwriter who finds himself in a fight for his life after his friends kidnap a Los Angeles crime lord’s beloved Shih Tzu. In Bruges tanked at the box office, but went on to do great business on DVD, so the film will hopefully capitalize on that audience.
Seven Psychopaths will hit 1480 theaters this weekend, which is about half the number of cinemas playing Here Comes the Boom and Argo. It will go on to expand on Oct. 26, relying on positive word-of-mouth to drive up the audience. Given that it was financed for under $15 million, this movie should quickly recoup its budget. I estimate it will take in about $6 million this weekend and potentially more in the coming weeks.