Your Complete Weekend Box Office Tracking, Predictions, & Analysis (10.02.14)

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TRACKING BOARD TOP 5 WEEKEND PREDICTIONS

 
Order Title Weekend Expectations
# 1 $30 million
# 2 $27 million
# 3 $17 million
# 4 $9 million
# 5 $8 million

The first opening weekend in October brings us a new crop of scary, thrilling, and otherwise unsettling cinema. “The Conjuring” sequel “Annabelle,” the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” and the Christian post-apocalypse “Left Behind” are all out this week. As you can see, I don’t think “Left Behind” is going to make much of an impact — some projections have it taking in $7 million, but I doubt it’ll even get that much — leaving “Gone Girl” and “Annabelle” to duke it out for their placement in the top five with “The Equalizer,” “The Boxtrolls,” and “The Maze Runner,” last week’s top three.

It’s pretty clear the two new movies will take spots one and two, and I’ll talk about their specific placement in a moment. “The Equalizer” was new last week, and there’s no major competition in its genre this week, so I imagine it’ll only drop moderately, around 50 percent. It took in $34 million its opening weekend, so that puts it at $17 million, which easily gives it third place over “Boxtrolls” and “Maze Runner,” both of which made around $17 million last weekend.

The sheer similarity of last weekend’s numbers makes it hard to predict the placement for “Boxtrolls” and “Maze Runner” this week. The latter beat the former by less than $200,000, and they’ve remained close throughout the week. Nevertheless, a decision must be made, and I’ve put “Boxtrolls” at #4 and “Maze Runner” at #5 because, while there is no major family-friendly competition for “Boxtrolls,” “Maze Runner” is likely to lose a chunk of its teen audience to “Annabelle,” which is tracking well among young men and women. “Maze Runner” is also in its third week now, and fans of the book will likely have already seen it.

         
  Opening Weekend Current Gross Facebook Likes Tweets
N/A N/A 120,260 23,075
N/A N/A 1,558,367 48,582
$34.138 million $40.74 million 304,699 110,821
$17.275 million $19.509 million 227,418 41,558
$32.5 million $61.085 million 1,242,914 81,817

 Speaking of “Annabelle,” let’s get into the ordering of the top two. “Gone Girl” has a lot going for it: it’s an adaptation of a popular book; it’s got a big name star in Ben Affleck; and the reviews have been glowing. But all the same things could be said of Fincher’s last movie, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which debuted to a fairly paltry $12.8 million in 2011. There are some differences. For one thing, “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” didn’t get quite the level of praise “Gone Girl” has; for another, it faced inevitable comparisons to the beloved Swedish version of the movie; and for a third, it came out against the second week of “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and the first wide-release week of “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” Still, it’s a sobering thing to keep in mind.

“Annabelle” is a spin-off of last year’s enormously successful “The Conjuring,” which took in $41.8 million in its opening weekend. Building off the buzz and marketing campaign from its predecessor, “Annabelle” has been doing great work in social media, with twice as much Twitter activity and ten times the Facebook presence of “Gone Girl.” In terms of tracking, both films are putting up similar overall numbers, with interest in “Annabelle” skewing young and interest in “Gone Girl” skewing old. (This, presumably, accounts for some of the social media disparity, along with the fact that “Annabelle” had a more targeted social media campaign.) But reviews for “Annabelle” have been bad, and even the Twitter activity is tepid, with positive attention making up far fewer of its tweets than “Gone Girl.”

What tips me over into assigning “Gone Girl” the top spot is the early ticket sales. “Gone Girl” accounts for 66 percent of Fandango’s sales for this weekend, and is outselling both many of Fincher and Affleck’s previous films and many previous October releases. Its numbers are apparently on par with those of “Gravity,” which opened to $55.8 million in the analogous weekend last year. I seriously doubt “Gone Girl” will do those kinds of numbers — for one thing, “Gravity” sold oodles of IMAX and 3D tickets, which definitely inflated its gross — but it’s a very good sign, nonetheless. I don’t think “Gone Girl” will blow “Annabelle” out of the water, but it does seem on track to take the weekend.

             
  Rotten Tomatoes IMDb Metacritic
  Critics Users # of Ratings Stars # of Ratings  
87 N/A 26,764 9.0 1,579 80
38 N/A 19,835 6.6 283 48
60 82 47,085 7.6 12,579 57
73 73 24,881 7.2 2,398 63
62 78 45,624 7.5 29,514 56

(Sources: boxoffice.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb.com, metacritic.com. Tweets represent figures for this week only. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may have changed. Tracking Board does not report Rotten Tomatoes user ratings for movies that have not yet seen wide release.)

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