Hello and welcome back to Box Office Beat, the column in which I predict the upcoming weekend’s box office grosses. It has been awhile, as I decided to forgo the column last week due to the fact that all the new films opened on Wednesday, making the Friday through Sunday figures pretty foreseeable. But I’m back and ready to crunch numbers, even though this will undoubtedly be an underwhelming process because both wide openers are unlikely to do bang-up business.
The more high profile of the two new releases is Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly,” in which the director re-teams with Brad Pitt, who he first worked with on “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (whewf, forgot about how long it takes to type out that title). But unlike “Jesse James,” “Killing Them Softly” is a contemporary-set piece of fiction, even if the focus remains violent men. This should boost its box office prospects, but that’s not saying much when “Jesse James” did less than $4m total. The highest possible opening gross that “Killing Them Softly” could muster is the $13.2m procured by “The American,” which starred a similarly major actor (George Clooney) in a likewise not-so-accessible film about an organized killer. But an opening in the teens doesn’t seem likely, for two main reasons: 1) “Killing Them Softly” has no female lead to speak of, meaning less women will see it than “The American” and 2) there is a great amount of competition for adult viewers right now (“Lincoln,” “Skyfall,” “Life of Pi,” “The Silver Linings Playbook,” and more). I’m predicting that “Killing Them Softly” does about the same box office as the last independent Brad Pitt film to open wide, “Babel” ($5.6m), adjusted up for inflation plus another 15 percent due to a higher theater count. That puts the movie at $7.4 million.
Also opening is “The Collection,” a sequel to the horror film “The Collector,” written by torture porn extraordinaires Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (the “Saw” sequels). I’m not aware of any people who are extremely fond of the original, meaning that word-of-mouth over time probably hasn’t been high. Thus, I’d assume that “The Collection” will bring in about the same amount of hardcore horror junkies that its predecessor did, meaning an identical opening weekend gross of $3.6 million. It’s that easy.
My prediction of what the full top 10 will look like:
- “Skyfall” … $20.0m -43.7%
- “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” … $17.3m -60.4%
- “Lincoln” … $16.4m -36.1%
- “Rise of the Guardians” … $14.3m -39.8%
- “Life of Pi” … $14.1m -37.2%
- “Wreck-It Ralph” … $9.9m -40.3%
- “Killing Them Softly” … $7.4m
- “Red Dawn” … $5.7m -60.0%
- “Flight” … $5.1m -39.7%
- “The Collection” … $3.6m