Box Office Guru Preview: Halloween Strikes on the 31st

Three new releases try to conquer the weekend box office.

The four-billion-dollar-plus summer comes to a close over the long Labor Day holiday weekend with three new wide releases all targeting male moviegoers. Slasher fans get to relive old days with the latest incarnation of Halloween, teens looking for a laugh get the ping pong comedy Balls of Fury, and adults interested in Kevin Bacon's brand of revenge have the action thriller Death Sentence. With target audiences for the new pics having lots of overlap, and the existing holdovers also catering to similar crowds, the marketplace will have to work hard to expand as many of these titles will eat into each other.

Setting a new industry record for the widest opening ever over Labor Day weekend, rock-star-turned-director Rob Zombie's Halloween attacks theaters aiming to connect with horror movie fans. The R-rated entry marks the first new installment in five years for a franchise about to hit the three-decade mark. 2002's Halloween: Resurrection bowed to $12.3M and a solid $6,291 average in mid-July of that summer proving that Michael Myers still had the muscle to draw in his fans. The arrival of a new Halloween flick coupled with the selection of a buzzworthy director makes for an interesting combo that will spark interest with genre fans.

To say that horror has hit some bad luck at the box office this year is putting it lightly. R-rated fright flicks in 2007 have struggled but Halloween will try to change that. Excitement among fans is considerable and with no other gorefests out there, competition will come mainly from the many action films or teen comedies. The Jeepers Creepers films proved how successful Labor Day weekend could be for a horror pic and now MGM and The Weinstein Company hope demand will still be there for their newest entry. Attacking 3,472 theaters, Halloween might collect about $20M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend.


Rob Zombie's Halloween

The ping pong pic Balls of Fury, enters the marketplace in a good position as the frame's only new comedy and only new PG-13 flick. The Focus release should stand out as a viable option for teenagers looking to kill some time with goofy immature fun. Starring Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, Maggie Q, and Aisha Tyler, Balls is trying to market itself as a film that fans of Dodgeball would dig. Of course it doesn't have the star wattage of a Vince or a Ben so the grosses will be much smaller. But as a B-list comedy, it does its job and should satisfy its target audience in the short term. The marketing push has been good and perfectly matches the silly nature of the film. Focus moved up its release date from a Friday opening to a Wednesday bow hoping to take advantage of most schools still being out of session. Plus the distrib expects some good word-of-mouth midweek could help its chances come the weekend. Playing in 3,052 theaters by Friday, Balls of Fury could launch with about $14M over four days and $17M over six days.


Dan Fogler in Balls of Fury

Aisha Tyler stars in another film opening this weekend taking a supporting role in the Kevin Bacon revenge thriller Death Sentence. Directed by Saw's James Wan, the R-rated pic finds the Footloose star playing a mild-mannered executive pushed to the edge to protect his family. Co-starring Kelly Preston and John Goodman, the Fox release should skew to an older adult audience which makes the long-lasting hit The Bourne Ultimatum a direct threat despite being in its fifth frame. The weekend's other male-skewing pics will also steal away some biz so a modest bow is likely. Opening in roughly 1,900 theaters, Death Sentence might debut with about $7M over the long weekend.


Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence

Sony's hit comedy Superbad, which has become must-see viewing for high school and college students heading back to school, should lose its crown after two weeks on top. But the raunchy teen smash will still post a solid gross despite heavy competition from new releases. Superbad's four-day take might drop 25% from last weekend's three-day tally to around $13.5M which would boost the 18-day cume to a sensational $90M.

Since Labor Day weekend tends to be a catch-up time when people see popular flicks they've missed out on, another strong performance is likely to greet The Bourne Ultimatum which has easily been the top-grossing film of the past month. The new films will cause a distraction with younger moviegoers, but mature adults who may not have had time for Jason Bourne's identity-revealing saga are sure to line up. Look for the four-day gross to dip by only 10% from last weekend giving the Universal blockbuster about $11M for the long weekend which would allow the assassin pic to cross the $200M mark on Monday.

Fellow threequel Rush Hour 3 should experience a larger drop and could fall by 25% to about $9M. That would put the total at $121M for New Line.

LAST YEAR: Mark Wahlberg scored back-to-back box office touchdowns with his sports drama Invincible which remained at number one for the second straight time with $15.4M over the four-day holiday weekend. Opening in the runnerup spot was Jason Statham's action pic Crank with $12.9M over the long weekend which edged out the debuting Nicolas Cage drama The Wicker Man which took in $11.7M. Final grosses reached $27.8M for the Lionsgate film and $23.6M for the Paramount pic. Rounding out the top five were Little Miss Sunshine with $9.6M and The Illusionist with $8.1M over four days.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Comments

sickofitall

b x

what? nobody is here trashing halloween? good i hope there all at retard camp and leave halloween alone

Aug 30 - 07:26 PM

Atticus is HIGHLY TENSE

Jesse Moore

Sorry to disappoint ya c0cksmoke. Only retard camp around here is the people who liked that hillbilly piece of trash. You probably haven't even seen the movie to have anything to say about it.

Aug 30 - 11:08 PM

Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

I know Bourne will cross the $200 mill mark by Tuesday. It just feels so good to see the best flick of the summer getting what it deserves. Eat it, Bond!

Halloween is guaranteed to hit #1 and its R rating makes $20 mill seem a bit too high for me. I'd go with $15.

Aug 30 - 08:34 PM

screwhead100

Ben Wellick

halloween will gross 22.3 mil just bc its zombie's creation...........maybe more..........i kno alot of people excited about this just bc zombie directed........they dont even like the halloween movies........or if they do just the original

Aug 30 - 08:38 PM

Scarborough Fair

Kyle Beaudette

By the looks of the reviews, Zombie may have failed with his take on Halloween.
I liked Devil's Rejects, but I'll skip this.

Aug 30 - 09:34 PM

Atticus is HIGHLY TENSE

Jesse Moore

Sorry to disappoint ya c0cksmoke. Only retard camp around here is the people who liked that hillbilly piece of trash. You probably haven't even seen the movie to have anything to say about it.

Aug 30 - 11:08 PM

screwhead100

Ben Wellick

house of 1000 corpes and devil's rejects both are certified rotten so this doesnt worry me............ill make judgements about the film after i see it.............

Aug 31 - 12:29 AM

Gimy

Gimy Moo

i'll probably see August 31st...uhm...i mean HALLOWEEN tonite or tomorrow. knowing Zombie is too chicken sh3t to go up against Saw 4 is still troubling though, i mean christ...nobody releases a christmas movie in june do they? anyway it looks decent...hopefully it will be but, i have low expectations

sickofit, its THEY'RE, not there. if you're going to make fun of stupid people, at least learn how to spell bud

Aug 31 - 05:41 AM

stanleykubrickr.i.p.

jonathan marable

gimy that's funny as hell.

Aug 31 - 11:52 AM

sideburnz

Chuck Lentz

Rob Zombie has proved to me twice he doesn't know how to make a movie, and from what I've read about his Halloween "remake" he still doesn't.

Sep 1 - 12:08 AM

killermonkey8822

Joey Chid

didn't halloween already come out or did i just misunderstand the whole point of the article?............ either way, i don't care what anybody else says, the original halloween movies sucked, and i haven't seen rob zombie's version but i am sure that it also sucks.

Oct 30 - 05:21 PM

killermonkey8822

Joey Chid

oh crap, ha ha, i did miss the whole point of the article.... well, halloween sucks either way.

Oct 30 - 05:23 PM

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