Weekend Forecast: “Sinister 2” To Top Weak Late-Summer Newcomers

Hell hath no fury like the late August release schedule.

Two films about genetically engineered Hitmen and a critically panned horror sequel hit theaters in the second to last weekend of August, none of which will likely top $15M this weekend. Sinister 2 is the sequel to the well received 2012 horror hit Sinister, which grossed an excellent $77M worldwide on a budget of just $3M. Normally, horror sequels make more in their openings or at least open on par, so why will Sinister 2 open so low? Well, primarily, it has a hilariously bad 5% on Rotten Tomatoes, less than one tenth of the solid-yet-unspectacular 63% the first film got. Not to mention the release date: paranormal horror films thrive in October, whereas late August is a slow season for basically any genre. Sinister was actually able to buck the trend of being overly front loaded, with a second weekend drop of only 51%, despite direct competition that weekend from Paranormal Activity 4, showing how strongly it was received. Speaking of Paranormal Activity 4, that film dropped 71% in its second weekend, showing just how drastically different the two films were. Late August is typically a dumping ground for films that wouldn’t have a chance any other time of the year, but that isn’t really the case for Sinister 2. This October has only one major horror film (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension) and it would easily be able to top that (that is, if reviews were decent). The fact that it is getting such a poor release date shows how little faith the studio has in it, and will likely disappear from theaters in no time.

American Ultra is a film about a genetically engineered hitman, trained to kill by a secret organization but ends up turning against them and wreaking havoc. Hitman Agent 47 is a film about a genetically engineered hitman, trained to kill by a secret organization but ends up turning against them and wreaking havoc. Bizzarely, these are both getting the exact same release date. Ultra seems to have a bit more marketability with the comedy aspect, whereas Hitman is basically exclusively marketing to fans of the game, even though it’s hardly the most popular game series and hasn’t gotten a major new installment in several years. Hitman Agent 47 seems as though it will be this years Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and will likely open in the similar $5-$6M range.

American Ultra stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg as a pair of stoners in love who suddenly find themselves in the midst of a secret organization trying to take them down. It seems to be a clever twist on the Bourne series of films, with the masculine well trained super-killer being replaced by a scrawny, drug fueled convenience store clerk. Still, this seems like something that would do better in on demand sales, but not make much of anything in theaters, especially given how niche the audience is already. Look for American Ultra to take in under $10M this weekend.

Last weekends Straight Outta Compton will easily take first place again with around $20M-$25M in its second weekend, possibly topping the $100M mark domestically. So far, the film has taken in just $32K from overseas grosses, meaning its likely only in a very select number of small markets, but whether or not it will actually get a full overseas release has yet to be seen.

Predictions

  1. Straight Outta Compton – $25M
  2. Sinister II – $13.2M
  3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – $11.2M
  4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E – $7.1M
  5. American Ultra – $6.5M
  6. Hitman Agent 47 – $4.0M

The Bottom Line

Sinister opened to $18M back in 2012, so Sinister 2 should do at least $15M this weekend to get a pass. American Ultra  cost only $12M to make and is a bit of a niche comedy, so $10M is a solid result. Hitman Agent 47 has a solid $35M budget, so it needs to make at least $15M this weekend, which seems like an unlikely result.

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