Weekend Forecast: “Everest” Could Climb Past “Hotel Transylvania 2” on Final Weekend of September

With an impressive IMAX release, Everest could be on its way to over $30M this weekend. It will face tough competition from Hotel Transylvania 2, which comes out 3 years after its well received predecessor.

Everest opened last weekend in IMAX and Large Format theaters, and blew away pretty much any expectations with over $7M just from those premium screens. While those tickets do cost nearly twice as much if not more than regular tickets, its still an incredible debut. While that will obviously take away from its debut this weekend, it was ultimately a good idea because on Wednesday, The Walk will be taking over those screens while following a similar strategy, opening in IMAX and Large Format theaters nine days before its nationwide release. It may be a bit confusing for audiences to have two somewhat similar films having the same kind of releases so close by, but Everest seems much more easily marketable. The Walk is somewhat of a harder sell with its release being so close to 9/11 (though whether or not this will actually effect its debut is yet to be seen) not to mention Joseph Gordon Levitt’s already-notorious French accent. Everest, on the other hand, is a much more clear cut concept that is much more appealing to a wide audience. If its IMAX share is similar to that of Gravity or Interstellar, it will open to around $30M this weekend.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is the latest Sony animated release in a line of mid-range budget animated feature films. These have all been fairly consistent in terms of profitability, with such releases as the original Hotel Transylvania and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, both 1 and 2. The original Hotel was a big surprise back in 2012, which was tracking for a mid $20’s debut but opened to a whopping $42M, one of the highest September debuts ever. That was surprising given its somewhat hectic and bizzarre marketing, but it turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered, and ended up making over $140M domestically and $350M worldwide on a budget of $85M. This sequel knocks the budget down a tad to $80M, and given that Fandango is reporting sales that outpace its predecessor, it should have no time being heavily profitable. However, this wouldn’t be the first time that a sequel outsells its predecessor on Fandango but has a lower debut; but most of its money will come from the next few weeks, especially with October and Halloween being a more fitting time for its spooky style. Transylvania will likely open to over $35M this weekend.

The third nationwide release is The Green Inferno, which is finally being released over a year after it was supposed to. The cannibal torture-porn flick was shelved about a week from when it was supposed to be released (the first weekend of September 2014) and went many months with no word before getting dumped into 1,500 theaters this weekend. That limited debut is probably enough given its small but reliable fanbase, who will likely get this film to around $3M this weekend. Obviously the studio doesn’t have much faith as they have given it almost zero marketing. That’s not really unreasonable given how hard of a sell it is, but its brutal nature and trailer that markets it as almost a challenge to see may attract some attention.

Finally, semi-romantic comedy The Intern sees Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro in a comedy that is set to be the biggest hit of 2007. Unfortunately, it seems to be opening a few years too late, and will have a hard time making up its surprisingly large $35M budget. It’s hard to sell its somewhat off putting relationship between a 30 year old and a 70 year old, especially since it isn’t clear whether or not its a drama or a comedy. This very much seems like something that will do much better on DVD and On Demand sales without making much of a dent in the box office. The closest comparison would likely be last years This is Where I Leave You, which opened to $11.5M despite having the name recognition of a semi popular novel. Look for The Intern to open in the $10M range this weekend.

Predictions

  1. Hotel Transylvania 2 – $38M
  2. Everest – $31M
  3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – $13.5M
  4. Black Mass – $12M
  5. The Visit – $6M

The Green Inferno – $2.6M

The Bottom Line

Everest should be doing at least $25M this weekend after its solid IMAX release, as it will be taking a hit from The Walk in just a few days.

Hotel Transylvania 2 can do a bit worse than its predecessor, and as long as it can top $35M its fine.

The Intern will probably make the majority of its money after leaving theaters, but it still needs at least $15M this weekend to get a pass.

The Green Inferno is fine at $5M.

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