Newcomers "Cloud Atlas," "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D," "Fun Size" and "Chasing Mavericks" will battle with the tightening hold of Ben Affleck's "Argo" for the top spot at the box office this weekend. If all of the new films fail to connect, the Oscar-buzzed "Argo" could be #1 in its third weekend.
"Paranormal Activity 4" was box-office king last weekend, though the fourth entry in the found-footage horror franchise didn't do the business of its predecessor. "With a budget of $5 million, I'd bet the farm — or the pet cemetery — that Paramount returns next year with 'Paranormal Activity 5,' " Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. IMDB's Keith Simanton predicted a $13.5 million second weekend.
"Cloud Atlas" has a lot of clout in terms of star power (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving), but its 2 hour and 45 minute runtime, complex story and R-rating could all be obstacles in its quest to open at #1. "In a little over 2,000 locations, 'Cloud Atlas' will likely be one of the year's cautionary tales. A bulky, unwieldy and rather magnificent beast, at 164 minutes, 'Cloud' will be lucky to get to $9 million," Simanton said.
"A 90-minute movie will have twice of many showings," pointed out MovieFanatic.com's Joel Amos. "As has been said in the presidential campaign many times, 'It's arithmetic.' But those of us in the film community are ever hopeful that audiences will still find their way to 'Cloud Atlas.'"
"Those that take the chance on the epic journey will be rewarded with love, mystery and grand adventure, but unfortunately, this isn't a film for the multiplex masses, it's a film for cinephiles, vegans and those who meditate while harnessing the power of crystals," Bock said.
Open Road took over distribution from Sony on the "Silent Hill" franchise for the latest entry. Bock predicted a $13 million to $14 million opening.
"The gore hounds, who don't get much love from the 'Paranormal' franchise, can get their goop on with 'Hill,' likely to the tune of $10 million," Simanton said. "I hate saying that but after watching 'Resident Evil: Yet Again' open to $21 million, you have to realize that some folks will go to anything if the title's familiar."
"Fun Size" isn't an R-Rated movie but its PG-13 is new territory for Nickelodeon Pictures. "It's not a good sign that 'Fun Size,' supposedly a movie about kids around Halloween, is only released merely days before the big holiday it is trying to celebrate," warned Amos.
"Victoria Justice has been the resident sparkplug/tween-heartbreaker on Nickleodeon for the last six years and seems to perennially be perched on stardom," Simanton explained. " 'Fun Size' is very unlikely to be the vehicle that pushes her into the national limelight, however."
Both Simanton and Bock put the debut for "Fun Size" around $9 million, which is a few million more than Gerard Butler's "Chasing Mavericks" will likely do. "'Chasing Mavericks' feels more like a Hallmark movie than the big screen surfing epic that it paints itself to be," said Amos. "That could be why the buzz on the film is next to nil. Will surfing aficionados turn out? Perhaps, but that is not enough to catapult the film to the top five."
As for "Argo"? If it ends up in the #1 spot during weekend #3? Plenty of movies open at #1, but few climb their way to that spot after already being in theaters for a few weeks. As Bock noted, "That's about as rare as Ben Affleck being mentioned in the same breath as 'Gigli' these days."