Forecast: 'Help' Has Only the 'Dark' to Fear

by Brandon Gray
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

August 25, 2011

As summer winds down, the box office is in for another slow weekend with the debuts of Colombiana on nearly 2,900 screens at 2,614 locations, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark on around 2,850 screens at 2,760 locations and Our Idiot Brother at 2,555 single-screen locations.

Excitement seems low enough for these movies that The Help could rule the roost again. The drama continued to hold well on the weekdays and is poised for another small drop-off.

Due to the popularity of its supernatural horror sub-genre and an aggressive marketing campaign promising tried-and-true scares, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is the new movie most likely to uproot The Help. The remake of the 1973 television movie of the same name marks the second release from FilmDistrict, which successfully distributed the similar Insidious this past spring.

Aside from being the first starring vehicle for Zoe Saldana, little distinguishes Colombiana, which looks like just another slick action-revenge picture for the late summer. Even wtih established action names, these movies rarely spark much interest.

Paul Rudd also gets his first sole-name-above-the-title star vehicle with Our Idiot Brother, though the movie sports a recognizable supporting cast. Rudd usually is the straight man, but, here, he's stretching as the comedic centerpiece. The movie's premise, though, appears one note, lacking the drive to go anywhere theatrically.

In Box Office Mojo's "when will you see it?" reader polling, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark's packing 13.7 percent for opening weekend, which was on the high end for its sub-genre (Insidious had 8.3 percent) and greater than Quarantine and The Last Exorcism (from the same weekend last year) among comparble titles. Guillermo del Toro's brand name, though, may have stacked the deck.

Colombiana polled at a soft 8.3 percent for opening weekend, which was worse than The Losers, From Paris with Love and Bangkok Dangerous among similar movies. Our Idiot Brother trailed with 6.9 percent for opening weekend, and it's been tracking close to The Switch from last August.

The Forecast, Aug. 26-28
1. The Help - $15.5 million
2. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - $15 million
3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - $10 million
4. Colombiana - $8 million
5. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World - $7 million
6. Our Idiot Brother - $6 million

Bar for Success
Modest movies mean low expectations, but Don't Be Afraid of the Dark still needs to open well in to the teen millions just to be respectable by supernatural horror standards. Colombiana would need over $10 million to be respectable for a late August action movie, while the bar is lowest for Our Idiot Brother, but it still will be dissed if it doesn't hit the high single digits.

Discuss the Weekend Forecast on Facebook, Twitter, and in Box Office Mojo's forums.

Related Stories:
Last Weekend's Forecast: 'Conan' and Company Not Likely to Slay Audiences
Ad Fidelity: 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark'
August Preview

Comps for:
'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark'
'Our Idiot Brother'

12/1 'Moana' To Repeat at #1 Over Post-Thanksgiving Weekend
11/27 'Moana' Scores $81.1M Holiday Opening; 'Allied' & 'Bad Santa 2' Struggle While Beatty's 'Rules' Flops
11/22 'Moana' Sets Sights on $80+ Million 5-Day Thanksgiving Debut
11/20 'Fantastic Beasts' Tops Weekend With $75M While Fellow New Releases Struggle
11/17 'Fantastic Beasts' Eyes Fantastic Opening that Could Top $90 Million
11/13 'Doctor Strange' Repeats, Contributing to Disney's Record 2016, as 'Arrival' Debuts with $24M
> MORE: News | Features
DAILY: Friday Estimates, 'Moana' #1
WEEKLY: 'Moana' Tops the Week with $66m
DAILY: Thursday, 12/1 (44 tracked)
DAILY: Wednesday, 11/30 (42 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 11/29 (41 tracked)
New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 11/28 (40 tracked)
WEEKEND: Weekend Actuals, 'Moana' #1
SCHEDULE: Fox Updates Release Schedule