Box Office Guru Preview: 30 Days of Night Gets Halloween Started Early

Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more - Reese Witherspoon's Rendition, Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry's Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.

Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.


30 Days of Night

Fox spoofs the world of sports films with its new comedy The Comebacks which will target adolescents either too young for 30 Days or uninterested in scary movies. With so many mature stories hogging up screens, the market can certainly use a dose of immature humor right about now. The Comebacks is the first viable PG-13 comedy aimed at teens since fellow sports comedy Balls of Fury launched at the end of August. After a mid-week debut, that pic bowed to $11.4M over three days and Comebacks will play to many of the same folks. And with seventeen R-rated films opening wide over the last eight weeks, there has been little to celebrate for the under-17 crowd. Sure The Comebacks looks dumb, but dumb can sell. Add in a trim running time of under 90 minutes and commercial prospects are not bad. This is disposable entertainment for 14-year-olds. It will draw attention upfront, and be forgotten two weeks from now. Thanks to a lack of direct competition, The Comebacks could debut with about $11M from 2,800 sites.


The Comebacks

Leading the charge for the 30-plus crowd this weekend is Reese Witherspoon who headlines the political thriller Rendition from New Line. The R-rated drama finds the Oscar winner playing a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being a terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep add to the cast. Rendition follows The Kingdom and In the Valley of Elah as military-themed films this fall with connections to the Middle East. Audiences will want only so much of this content. Witherspoon will have her starpower put to the test since she is the only major commercial star here and she is outside of her safety zone of romantic comedies. The film will play to mature adults and will have to compete not only with this weekend's other new dramas, but also with an assortment of holdovers already playing to the same audience. Reviews have been mixed which will also make things difficult. Debuting in roughly 2,200 locations, Rendition may capture about $9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Reese Witherspoon and Peter Sarsgaard in Rendition

Ben Affleck makes his directorial debut with the crime thriller Gone Baby Gone which stars his brother Casey in the lead role. The Miramax release also stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan and carries a R rating. Reviews have been good which will come as a shocker to those that look at this movie as nothing more than Daredevil getting to hop into the director's chair. Reese, Joaquin, George, Cate, and Halle will all be cutting into the adult pie which can only expand by a certain amount. The marketing push has been highlighting the film as being from the author of Mystic River in hopes of finding those who loved that other Boston-set fall crime drama. An invite to the top five may not arrive for Ben. Opening in approximately 1,500 theaters, Gone Baby Gone could collect about $6M this weekend.


Freeman, Affleck and Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone

Comments

NoirZombi

Carson Winter

I'll be seeing 30 Days of Night tomorrow, any non-Saw/torture porn/horror remake is good for the genre.

Oct 18 - 07:14 PM

Segkee

Lochhead Seth

Gone Baby Gone might surprise.

RENDITION looks awful and got poor reviews.

Oct 18 - 07:42 PM

daycare

chris mark

30 days of night looks awful. i can see why the reviews are bad. I will put this movie down for 15-16 million. The only to movies that are good coming out is Gone Baby Gone and things we lost in the fire. the rest are crap. American Gangster can not come any faster.

Oct 18 - 07:52 PM

Some guy you dont know

Bruce Campbell

No it dosen't.... It looks amazing....

Oct 19 - 04:35 AM

Segkee

Lochhead Seth

30 days didn't do nothing for me until I realized Danny Huston was in this. Have you seen THE PROPOSITION or BIRTH?

This dude kicks ***.

Oct 18 - 08:15 PM

Some guy you dont know

Bruce Campbell

No it dosen't.... It looks amazing....

Oct 19 - 04:35 AM

ChrisH05

chris hayes

30 days of night is gonna kick ***... its at 43%. critics hate movies like this... AND IT GETS A 43%! im sooooo seein this :)

Oct 19 - 04:56 AM

Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

30 Days of Night: $20 million.
The Comebacks: $12 million.
Tyler Perry: $10 million.
Rendition: $9 million.
Game Plan: $8 million.

Oct 19 - 07:49 AM

Brundlefly

Paul T

you forgot "gone baby gone" in that list.

Oct 19 - 10:55 AM

Brundlefly

Paul T

you forgot "gone baby gone" in that list.

Oct 19 - 10:55 AM

Segkee

Lochhead Seth

Rendition tanked. Thank you very much.

Go see GONE BABY GONE. Not as perfect as MICHAEL CLAYTON, but better. If that makes any sense.

30 days also rocked.

And Dan in Real Life was excellent. INTO THE WILD on Sunday. Crossing my fingers for a four/four weekend. Peace.

Oct 21 - 03:51 AM

killermonkey8822

Joey Chid

yeah......

30 days of night- not extremely excited for this one but i like vampires and from what i have seen the graphic novel or comic book or whatever is pretty sweet, so i wouldn't mind seeing it... but i can wait for DVD.

The Comebacks- yes, i will admit, that i laughed my *** off during the commercials, but i can definatley wait for dvd for this one.

....... i actually wouldn't mind seeing Gone Baby Gone after hearing suprisingly good things about it.... it actually looks pretty good........ other then that, nothing else looks that ineresting.

Oct 31 - 10:10 PM

Sean C. -The One Coz-

Sean Cosgrove

30 Days of Night was a dissapointment.

Nov 27 - 10:15 PM

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