by: Madelyn Glymour, Contributor
Well, it’s nothing compared to the mess that was last week, but teasing out the predictions for this weekend’s box office is actually fairly complicated. There are three new releases this weekend (David Ayers’ war movie Fury, the animated The Book of Life, and Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of Me), and while none of them are direct competitors with each other or with last week’s top five (with the possible exception of The Book of Life and Alexander), they do step on each other’s toes in interesting ways. Meanwhile, as awards season kicks into gear, we’re continuing to see a huge number of specialty films each week; this week, St. Vincent expands, Men, Women & Children expands nationwide, and the highly anticipated Birdman and Dear White People both debut.
One thing that does seem clear is that Fury will take the top spot. It’s been getting good reviews (not ecstatic, but good), which could let it eat into some of Gone Girl‘s prestige audience. And the presence of Brad Pitt at the head of the cast is taking some of the edge off of its male skew. Gone Girl dropped very conservatively last week (only 30 percent), and I expect it will do so again, but that’s just not going to be enough to hold off Fury, which is tracking in the high 20s. Tracking could be off by almost a factor of two, and Fury would still take the weekend.
|Opening Weekend||Current Gross||Facebook Likes||Tweets|
|GONE GIRL||$37.513 million||$84.651 million||241,235||87,722|
|THE BOOK OF LIFE||N/A||N/A||74,896||22,340|
|DRACULA UNTOLD||$23.515 million||$28.132 million||2,546,953||72,004|
|THE BEST OF ME||N/A||N/A||451,284||24,126|
Nevertheless, it does seem that Gone Girl will hold on to the #2 spot, because neither Book of Life nor Best of Me seems to be in any position to take it on. The Book of Life faces competition in the kid-friendly market from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which did all right last week, but had a lukewarm critical reception and probably won’t hold its audience particularly well. Still, it’s an animated movie that has neither the fringe interest nor the innovative marketing campaign of its most recent predecessor, The Boxtrolls, and awareness isn’t great.
The Best of Me, meanwhile, faces no competition to speak of — the last romance to hit theaters was either If I Stay or The Fault in Our Stars, depending on how you define “romance” — but it’s not tracking very well. The most recent Nicholas Sparks movie, 2010’s Safe Haven, debuted to a respectable $21 million, but it faced lighter competition than the likes of Gone Girl and Fury. Best of Me has also heavily highlighted its stars, James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, who are in their early 40s and late 30s respectively — but what interest there is in Best of Me seems to be coming from a younger female audience, who might be less interested in a romance between people twice their age. For perspective, see 2008’s Nicholas Sparks adaptation Nights in Rodanthe, which starred Richard Gere and Diane Lane, and debuted to only $13.4 million.
Finally, we’ve got the other holdover from last week, Dracula Untold. It did pretty well in its first week, coming in $3 million under the second week of Gone Girl with $23.5 million. But reviews were tepid, and it’s facing competition for its male audience this week from Fury. Compare this summer’s Hercules, which did $29 million in its opening weekend, then dropped precipitously to $11 million in its second week. Of course, Hercules had the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy to contend with, and it’s unlikely that Dracula is going to face anything that powerful — which is why I’m not predicting it’ll drop that much. But a 45 percent dip doesn’t seem unreasonable. This one could end up a few million higher, possibly even overtaking The Book of Like, if young male audiences don’t respond to Fury.
|Critics||Users||# of Ratings||Stars||# of Ratings|
|THE BOOK OF LIFE||67||N/A||19,337||7.0||316||64|
|THE BEST OF ME||17||N/A||11,804||5.5||300||30|
(Sources: boxoffice.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb.com, metacritic.com. Starred figures are estimates. 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.)