Box office preview: 'The Identical' opens, but 'Guardians' will rule

The-Identical.jpg

Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy Thornton

If you thought Labor Day weekend was slow at the box office, the weekend after Labor Day might as well be moving backwards.

“Historically, the post-Labor Day weekend is one of the slowest of the year,” says Rentrak’s Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The studios really have been stepping up and living up to that idea of the 52-week release calendar, but on this particular weekend it seems all bets are off.”

The Identical, a faith-based musical melodrama movie about a preacher’s son who grows up to be a rock star, is the only new wide release and Guardians of the Galaxy will surely reclaim the No. 1 spot. It’s very possible that The Identical, which stars Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd, won’t even break the top five.

“This is the no man’s land between the end of the summer season and the start of Oscar season and the big holiday movie season. It’s this transitional period,” Dergarabedian says. “Hollywood is unapologetic about it. It’s a time when people can catch up on movies, check out Guardians of the Galaxy or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or some of the other films that are out there. It’s like the day after the big party. It’s kind of slow.”

Even though the just-closed summer season was one of the worst in a decade and the overall year is still down, Dergarabedian notes that this slump is at least one that everyone plans for. “Just like the entire box office year, it ebbs and flows. This is just one of those weekends that are always expected to be slow. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, the sky is not falling, it’s just post-Labor Day weekend and we have to live through it,” he says.

And, with that said, here’s how things might play out.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy  $11 million
The space misfits of Marvel’s summer blockbuster will once again benefit from another weekend without compelling competition. A $10 to $11 million weekend wouldn’t be surprising as they continue the climb to $300 million domestically.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $7 million
TMNT will likely take second place as it enters weekend number 5. The $125 million Paramount pic has made upwards of $167.7 million.

3. If I Stay $5 million
Warner Bros.’ weepy YA adaptation has held on nicely as it enters its third weekend in theaters and could bring in around $5 million. The $11 million PG-13 rated pic has made over $33.5 million to date.

4. Let’s Be Cops $3.5 million
The $17 million Fox comedy has earned upwards of $60 million despite lackluster reviews and should make the top five once more since there are really no other comedy options widely available in theaters.

5. The Identical $2.5 million
The Identical is aiming to get the faith-based audiences who turned out for this year’s religion-themed God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real and Son of God to turn out this weekend. Freestyle Releasing declined to provide a budget for the film, which is being released in an estimated 1,950 locations, but various reports note that it cost about $12 million to produce. The PG-rated drama about a man who rebels against his minister father (Ray Liotta) by pursuing a music career only to discover that he was a twin separated at birth is not expected to do well and could even miss the top five if The November Man or As Above/So Below hold.

Paramount is also rolling out the IMAX re-release of Forrest Gump in 337 locations, IFC is releasing Kelly & Cal in one theater, and the post-rapture horror pic The Remaining opens in 67 locations.

Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.

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