Opening at 2,008 locations, Cloud Atlas has the most buzz among cinephiles, though its commercial prospects aren't looking great. On the surface, the movie has a strong box office pedigree: Tom Hanks is one of the highest-grossing movie stars ever, and the Wachowski siblings are responsible for the very successful Matrix trilogy. Unfortunately, Larry Crowne and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close proved last year that audiences won't show up to everything Hanks does, and the Wachowski brand was hurt by Speed Racer and those baffling Matrix sequels.
The movie itself is one of the toughest sells in recent memory. Since there are six separate stories taking place in six different time frames, the marketing has pushed the stunning imagery, the "Everything is Connected" tagline, and enthusiastic quotes from critics. All of that appeals to movie buffs, but on the whole it probably looks too baffling for mainstream audiences. Add in the 164 minute run time and the "R" rating, and it's going to be tough to convert interest in to attendance.
The most obvious comparable title is 2006's The Fountain, which also featured actors playing multiple characters across different timelines, and only opened to $5.5 million through its first five days. Cloud Atlas does seem a bit more accessible, but it's still going to be tough to get past $10 million on opening weekend.
Six years after the original Silent Hill movie debuted to $20.2 million on its way to a $47 million total, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is opening at 2,933 locations this weekend. Sequels to video game adaptations are somewhat rare, given how poorly the genre tends to perform; the Resident Evil franchise improved on opening weekend through its first four chapters, while Lara Croft: Tomb Raider lost half its audience in its second outing. Odds are that Silent Hill winds up closer to Tomb Raider than to Resident Evil—the movie has a straight-to-video look to it, and the video game franchise has become increasingly irrelevant in the wake of the first movie. Distributor Open Road Entertainment is hoping for at least $10 million this weekend, which seems like a reasonable (albeit underwhelming) figure.
Fun Size is actually getting the widest release this weekend (3,014 locations), though that probably won't translate in to a first place finish. The movie has some hot young TV talent (Victoria Justice and Jane Levy), and is nicely timed given the movie's Halloween-centric story. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell who the movie is for: the babysitting antics seem too immature for older teens, and the PG-13 rating will turn away family audiences. Paramount is expecting around $8 million for the weekend.
At 2,002 locations, Chasing Mavericks looks poised to be the biggest dud of the weekend. Recent surfing movie Soul Surfer had a fine $10.6 million opening, which was probably the target for Chasing Mavericks. Soul Surfer had a Christian tie-in, though, while Chasing Mavericks only has the generic "inspirational true story" going for it. That calls to mind The Express and Pride, which were true-life sports dramas that opened to $4.6 million and $3.5 million, respectively. Along those lines, distributor 20th Century Fox is only anticipating a paltry $3 million this weekend.
Forecast (Oct. 26-28)
1. Argo - $12.7 million (-23%)
2. Paranormal Activity 4 - $11 million (-62%)
3. Silent Hill 2 - $10.8 million
4. Fun Size - $9.3 million
5. Cloud Atlas - $9.1 million
-. Chasing Mavericks - $4.5 million
Bar for Success
While Cloud Atlas will do most of its business overseas, it is still a big-budget sci-fi movie starring Tom Hanks and directed (in part) by the Wachowskis, and so it really ought to earn at least $15 million this weekend. Silent Hill, Fun Size and Chasing Mavericks are all fine at $10 million.
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• Last Weekend's Forecast: 'Paranormal 4' Grows Audience Overseas