Forecast: WB's 'Pan' Faces Stiff Competition and Low Expectations
Warner Bros' Pan is this week's new wide release. The film is a new telling of the Peter Pan origin story from director Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement), starring Hugh Jackman as the villainous Blackbeard and newcomer Levi Miller in the title role. A week ago it was reported the film's opening weekend was tracking as low as $21-22 million, worrisome numbers for a film said to be budgeted at $150 million, and I'm having a hard time going even that high with my predictions.

In an attempt to find similar titles for comparison there are plenty to choose from, one such being Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful, which opened to the tune of $79.1 million in 2013. On the opposite end of the box office spectrum there's Universal's attempt at a live-action Pan movie back in 2003, which opened with $11.1 million. Adjusted for inflation, that opening number climbs to $15.4 million, a bit less than I'm predicting for this latest incarnation.

Opening in 3,515 theaters, we're looking at a $18.4 million opening for Pan ($5,250 per theater). This is a bit higher than Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror opened with back in 2012, a strong comparison given the principals involved. Jackman, in this case, is akin to Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror; Miller is the up-and-comer, a la Lily Collins; and both Wright and Singh have spent a lot of their time in smaller, more fringe areas of modern cinema. Not having seen Pan I can't speak directly to its quality, but I've heard from people I trust that it's not half-bad, and even includes a scene where a group of quarry workers sing "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Finding out what that's all about may be worth the price of admission alone. That, and Hugh Jackman's facial hair of course.

Expanding after a relatively disappointing limited debut last week is The Walk. The film opened in 448 theaters last Wednesday and has grossed a shade over $2.5 million so far. This weekend it will play in 2,509 theaters—both 2D and 3D—but I'm not seeing much of an improvement. A three-day total around $4.6 million seems most likely.

In terms of the holdovers, it's looking like a second weekend on top for Ridley Scott's The Martian. Expect a $32.5 million second weekend, equalling a drop of 40%. This would be similar to Interstellar's second weekend, looking as if it too will finish it's domestic run around $190 million.

Second place could be close between Hotel Transylvania 2 and Pan, but the Drac Pack should hold on just fine with a third weekend total around $23.2 million. The animated sequel continues to outperform its predecessor and it seems we're only short while away from a third film being officially announced.

Universal will begin the slow, three-week roll-out of Steve Jobs this weekend in only four New York and Los Angeles theaters. It should play to packed houses following the buzz out of the New York Film Festival and publicity tour that's currently underway. Jobs will expand to additional North American markets on October 16 and wide on October 23.

Other limited releases include Stephen Daldry's Trash, which features Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen. Focus World will bring the film to 17 theaters almost exactly a year after it started hitting international territories in October 2014. Lionsgate will release Ladrones into 375 theaters and the festival hit Victoria, a 138-minute film hailed for being shot all in one take, also arrives in just a handful of theaters.

Broadgreen will expand last weekend's limited release of 99 Homes into 698 theaters. Opening in 19 theaters last weekend, the Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon 2008 housing bubble drama brought in $140,918 for a $16,127 per theater average.

Finally, Fox Searchlight is expanding He Named Me Malala into 446 theaters and Lionsgate is adding 46 theaters to last week's limited release, Freeheld.

Below are this weekend's predictions.

  • The Martian (3,854 theaters) - $32,585,570
  • Hotel Transylvania 2 (3,768 theaters) - $23,233,488
  • Pan (3,515 theaters) - $18,453,750
  • The Intern (3,224 theaters) - $7,595,744
  • Sicario (2,620 theaters) - $6,560,480
  • The Walk (2,509 theaters) - $4,681,794
  • Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2,838 theaters) - $4,214,430
  • Black Mass (2,057 theaters) - $3,215,091
  • The Visit (1,750 theaters) - $2,303,000
  • Everest (2,115 theaters) - $1,981,755

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet. A special thanks to those of you on Facebook that helped out, brainstorming similar titles for Pan.