Leaving September behind, things begin to pick up at the box office. October isn’t usually among the very best months of the year, but it’s almost always a marked improvement over September. And this October figures to be pretty strong, with a wide range of genres, so there’s a little something for everyone. As always, there’s room for some breakout hits, but I’m sure there will be a flop or two somewhere. That said, let’s get started.
My Thoughts: Pretty solid cast here. The beautiful Gemma Arterton, newly-christened Batman Ben Affleck (or “Batfleck” as the Internet has dubbed him) and Justin Timberlake, who I never thought I’d admit I actually like as an actor. That said, he hasn’t really found much success outside The Social Network. Furthermore, Runner Runner is getting rather poor reviews. A decent, but not great debut, should be in store.
Opening Weekend: $14 million
Total Gross: $44 million
My Thoughts: Gravity has met with almost universally glowing praise from critics. It has been hyped on the internet for months now, and I’ve heard nary a single negative thing about it….except in real life. Before I’d ever seen the trailer, a friend of mine who had told me about and said it looked hilarious. Not long after, I saw the trailer and, well, it looked hilarious. And I stand by that. I think Gravity looks laughably ridiculous. In all the TV spots and trailers, I have not been able to take it seriously.
There’s something about the film aesthetically that just looks weird. For something that’s supposed to be about human drama and fear-inducing, it’s far too pretty and shiny. And Sandra Bullock’s “aaagh, I’m spinning!” makes me laugh every time, especially since it seems like the whole damn movie is just her spinning around and trying to grab things for an hour and a half. What’s more, when I’ve been in a movie theatre while this trailer played, other people laughed at it too. That final shot of Sandra Bullock distantly drifting through space in the first trailer should be scary, but it’s just not. I can’t shake the feeling that Gravity will impress film critics and movie snobs, but fail to catch on with the average movie goer.
Opening Weekend: $23 million
Total Gross: $78 million
My Thoughts: Coming just one weekend after award hopeful Gravity, Tom Hanks headlines Captain Phillips, another film that figures to be after some Oscar gold. The premise is interesting and Tom Hanks is a great actor, so I’m on board. Get it? On board. Because it’s a movie about a freighter. Yeah. Bad jokes aside, competing directly against Gravity for adult audiences could end up kneecapping both films. Nonetheless, Captain Phillips should manage solid numbers.
Opening Weekend: $15 million
Total Gross: $63 million
My Thoughts: I haven’t seen the first Machete, but I can tell that I would probably love it. I’m a big fan of these insanely over the top, affectionate parodies of old grindhouse movies. Machete Kills looks as though it’s pushing the envelope about as far as you can, and I think it looks awesome. There’s some hilarious casting here and as a big Lady Gaga fan, I’m excited to see her make her feature film debut. Nevertheless, the box office potential is limited here to an extremely niche audience and the first Machete wasn’t very successful anyway; it’s likely the sequel makes even less.
Opening Weekend: $7 million
Total Gross: $17 million
My Thoughts: I suppose it’s about time that Stallone and Schwarzenegger had a proper team-up. Schwarzenegger just had glorified cameos in both Expendables movies and those were ensemble pictures anyway. But outside of the aforementioned franchise, these guys haven’t been able to find any box office success lately. Both Stallone’s Bullet to the Head and Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand flopped. Escape Plan might benefit enough from the team-up to not do quite so badly.
Opening Weekend: $10 million
Total Gross: $28 million
The Fifth Estate
My Thoughts: Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty much everywhere now. Sherlock is more popular than ever, despite not having new episodes for quite some time now, he was great in Star Trek Into Darkness and now he’s successfully making Smaug probably the first ever sexy dragon purely by the gravitas of his voice in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. But as passionate as his fans may be (“Cumberbitches,” at they’re called), I can’t see even them powering The Fifth Estate to good numbers.
Early buzz hasn’t been the greatest and the film covers a controversial topic, as people have wildly varying opinions on WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, played here by Cumberbatch. For fear of inciting unwanted, politically-charged comments, I shan’t reveal my own thoughts on the whole WikiLeaks thing. Anyway, I think The Fifth Estate will get lost in the shuffle of the other, higher profile adult-driven thrillers this October.
Opening Weekend: $6 million
Total Gross: $21 million
My Thoughts: The 1976 Carrie is a classic, as is the Stephen King novel upon which it’s based. The special effects unsurprisingly don’t hold up particularly well all these years later, but hey, that’s what remakes are for. Chloe Moretz, playing the titular Carrie White, is fairly well-known, but she’s not really a box office draw, nor is anyone else in the cast. There’s definite potential for success here, as Carrie will be the only horror film released in October and will hope to fill the void left by the absent Paranormal Activity franchise. Then again, in a year that’s seen a lot of success for horror flicks, maybe audiences have had their fill. I think Carrie will do decent, if unspectacular, numbers.
Opening Weekend: $18 million
Total Gross: $46 million
My Thoughts: Quite the cast in play here, but I’m most intrigued by the incredible gravity-defying hair that is gracing Javier Bardem’s head. In all seriousness, the strong cast is a definite selling point and Michael Fassbender has broken out over the past few years thanks to strong turns in X-Men: First Class and Prometheus (he was BY FAR the best thing about that film).
The Counselor is directed by Ridley Scott, who’s hit and miss. He can make really good films, like Gladiator, and he can also make godawful pieces of absolute nonsense like Prometheus. It’s funny that when I say that I hated Prometheus to people who liked it, their only retort is “you just didn’t understand it.” No, I understood it just fine. That’s exactly why I hated it. Okay, sorry, rant over. I just needed to get that off my chest. In a month that has a surprisingly high number of dramas directed at adult audiences, who are more discerning with their money, something’s going to fall short; it just might be The Counselor.
Opening Weekend: $10 million
Total Gross: $35 million
Jackass Present: Bad Grandpa
My Predictions: When I first heard that a Bad Grandpa film was being made, I was skeptical. It felt like the Jackass franchise had run its course and this was just a cash-grab. Well, that may still be true, but then the trailer came out…and it was hilarious. I worry that they spoiled the funniest parts in the trailer, but I imagine there are some raunchy laughs that they couldn’t put in the trailer. I definitely want to see this, but there should be a sizeable fall-off from the massive $50 million debut of Jackass 3-D. Nonetheless, Bad Grandpa won’t need to make much to be profitable, and it should do just fine.
Opening Weekend: $22 million
Total Gross: $51 million
October will largely be defined by the several films targeting older audiences, and there is pretty much nothing for younger audiences. That should allow Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to have a good October against zero competition. Despite the strong pedigrees among a lot of the films debuting this month, it’s very possible all of them fail to eclipse $100 million. As always, only time will tell. Until we meet again.