Ender's Game Battles for Rule Over the Box Office this Weekend

To help you recover from a night of candy binging and Halloween partying, here is Scott's nutritious look at the new releases at the box office this weekend.


Well, I have been away for a bit due to a nasty little illness that laid me out in bed for the majority of last weekend, but I am back now to take a look at what will be happening in this, the first weekend of November. We have three wide release movies opening up, all of them hoping to have a great opening weekend before Thor arrives from Asgard next weekend to take all of the box office spoils for himself.  There is also a limited release movie that needs mentioning, so let’s throw ourselves right in.

The goal of every studio right now seems to be to find the next hot property and turn it into a billion dollar franchise. The key word is ‘franchise’ because just having one successful movie seems to be a waste of time. With Ender’s Game, that is exactly what Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate are aiming for. They are trying to find that franchise starring young talent that can follow the paths of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and this weekend will tell us if they have a success or not. The movie has a fairly decent cast with talent like Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley, but no names that are guaranteed draws at the box office. This movie is going to be heavily relying on public awareness of the source material (the books by Orson Scott Card) and the marketing campaign.  Currently, it is doing worse on both Twitter and Facebook than John Carter was just prior to its release, so it is a sign that this film may not be the billion dollar franchise they were hoping for.

Ender’s Game Opening Weekend Prediction - $25 million

For the last month, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 has had the pleasure of ruling the roost when it comes to family animations, but now it may get pushed aside by some unruly birds in Free Birds. This is the eighth movie of the year for distributor Relativity, who has had a very hard time getting traction with its films, and suffering some massive flops (Movie 43, Paranoia), so there is a lot of hope for this film to do well. The biggest positive that it has going for it is that there have been no recent animated movies released that will be detracting from it. As well, it will have until November 27th before another animated movie comes out, which should give it a huge boost. It has a very modest budget for an animation, so it does not need to shoot for the moon; it just needs a solid opening with a few semi-consistent weeks afterwards.

Free Birds Opening Weekend Prediction - $18 million

Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau proved to us that you can stick a few older actors in a comedy and they can create some very memorable magic. This is the same attempt that seems to be happening with Last Vegas, friends in their 60s who end up going to Los Vegas for a bachelor party. It stars some pretty recognizable talent in Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, and Morgan Freeman, so it does have the potential to make movie goers curious about what those four can do in an elder gent’s version of The Hangover. Back in the summer Red 2 was able to open up to $18 million, and I see Last Vegas landing somewhere in that realm as well.

Last Vegas Opening Weekend Prediction - $16 million

Opening in limited release this weekend is Dallas Buyers Club, which has Oscar nomination talk aplenty for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. It is opening in 9 theatres this weekend, and could be seeing expansion based off of how it performs. This time of year is a shark’s tank for quality dramas, so just how well this film does is an unknown.  Limited release films are very hard to predict, and I regret not posting my thoughts last weekend, because I was very close on one. When I post my predictions on limited release movies, I seem to be off by a large margin. Because of the Oscar anticipation of this film, I think it will do a lot better than Mud, McConaughey’s limited release gem back in April which opened to a theatre average of $6,000.

Dallas Buyer’s Club Opening Weekend Prediction - $30,000 per theatre