With four new movies opening nationwide on October 23, and another expanding into a national release, it's shaping up to be quite a unique weekend at the box office. The new arrivals are Universal's Jem and the Holograms, starring Juliette Lewis, Lionsgate's The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel, Paramount's Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the final installment in the long-running Paranormal Activity franchise, and Open Road Films' Rock the Kasbah. Universal's Steve Jobs will also be expanding nationwide on Friday, after posting incredible grosses over the last two weeks in limited release. According to the projections from BoxOffice.com, The Last Witch Hunter is expected to take the top spot with $18 million, which will be more than enough to unseat current box office champion Goosebumps.
The Last Witch Hunter is expected to be the only new release opening in more than 3,000 theaters, with Steve Jobs arriving in an estimated 2,400 theaters, Jem and the Holograms opening in more than 2,200 theaters and Rock the Kasbah arriving in approximately 2,000 theaters, although an estimated theater count wasn't given for Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Despite this theater count advantage, The Last Witch Hunter isn't faring too well with the critics, posting just a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. None of the other new releases have enough reviews to warrant a TomatoMeter score just yet, so we'll have to wait and see if it will fare better than Vin Diesel's latest action-adventure.
The Last Witch Hunter stars Vin Diesel as Kaulder, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful Queen Witch, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the Queen curses Kaulder with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today Kaulder is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to Kaulder, the Queen Witch is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race. The supporting cast is rounded out by Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and Rena Owen.
While it's difficult to predict how a film will fare during a nationwide expansion, we're predicting that Steve Jobs will take second place this weekend with an estimated $13 million. The biopic starring Michael Fassbender as the title character and Apple co-founder, has been setting the box office on fire in limited release, earning a phenomenal $521,522 from just four theaters two weeks ago, with an astounding $130,381 per-screen average. It's mini-expansion proved fruitful as well, with a $25,833 per-screen average from 59 theaters. The film has been showered with praise from the nation's critics, some calling it the best movie of the year, with an impressive 85% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's unlikely that Steve Jobs will be the top movie at the box office throughout its theatrical run, but with such a strong, positive buzz swirling around it, it should fare quite well, especially considering that it was produced on a $30 million budget.
Goosebumps will likely drop to third place with $12.2 million, while Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is expected to debut in fourth place with an opening weekend total of $11 million. The story follows two young parents trying to protect their daughter from an evil entity, by using a special camera that can see spirits. This will be the last installment of Paramount's lucrative micro-budget franchise, which started in 2009 with Paranormal Activity. If this prediction is accurate, it will mark the lowest opening weekend in the franchise, not counting the original Paranormal Activity, since it opened in just 12 theaters. The franchise's latest offering, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, opened with $18.3 million last January, but it ended up with a paltry domestic total of just $32.4 million. The Martian will likely drop to fifth place this weekend with $10.9 million.
The top 10 will be rounded out by Bridge of Spies ($7.6 million), Rock the Kasbah ($6.5 million), Crimson Peak ($6.1 million), Hotel Transylvania 2 ($5.4 million) and Jem and the Holograms ($4 million). It isn't often that you see two new releases bringing up the rear in the top 10, but it's equally rare to see four movies opening in wide release, along with another nationwide expansion. Rock the Kasbah features an all-star cast including Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson and Danny McBride, while Jem and the Holograms features Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis, along with rising stars Stefanie Scott, Ryan Guzman, Hayley Kiyoko, Aubrey Peeples, Aurora Perrineau and Nicholas Braun. The weekend was initially set to be even more crowded, with The Weinstein Company's Burnt initially slated to open wide on October 23, but the studio recently changed their plans, opting for a limited release this weekend and a nationwide expansion on October 30. It could very well pay off, since next weekend is far less crowded.
Along with Burnt, opening in limited release this weekend is Attack on Titan: Part 2, Difret, Extraordinary Tales, Heart of a Dog, Suffragette, I Smile Back and Nasty Baby. Both Burnt and Suffragette are slated to open in just four theaters, but it isn't known if there is a national expansion being planned for Suffragette at this time. It remains to be seen if any of these platform releases can have the same type of success as the much-publicized Steve Jobs.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Warner Bros.' Our Brand Is Crisis and Paramount's Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse open in wide release, along with the expanding Burnt. Arriving in limited release are The Armor of Light, Carter High, Freaks of Nature, Heneral Luna, Love, Sex, Death and Bowling and The Wonders. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the official box office estimates, and again on Tuesday for next weekend's predictions. Until then take a look at our projected top 10 for the weekend of October 23.
PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:
|1||The Last Witch Hunter|
|4||Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension|
|6||Bridge of Spies|
|7||Rock the Kasbah|
|9||Hotel Transylvania 2|
|10||Jem and the Holograms|