The Reject ReportThis Reject Report doesn’t stand over your bed for hours on end. It swing all the doors in your kitchen open violently. It doesn’t even knock your keys onto the floor in the middle of the night. It’s a much kinder, gentler Reject Report, one that brings you flowers and chicken noodle soup and Gatorade when you’re sick. Which, hey, if that’s your thing, you might not be seeing Paranormal Activity 3 this weekend, but you’ll be in the minority. That’s what Paramount is hoping here in its third run at the established franchise that is Paranormal Activity. It’s hoping to drive people to the cinemas then scare them witless, and it’ll more than likely succeed. There isn’t much competition to prove it wrong. The 18th crack at The Three Musketeers and the second crack at Johnny English sure won’t knock the activity off its pedestal. But let’s get into just how much money Paramount is looking at.

BIG HITTERS

Finally, we’re in the horror days of October, a month that used to be ripe with weekly scarefests. This year we’ve had The Thing prequel, but that didn’t drum up much in the way of mass terror. Instead, it all falls on the head of the Paranormal Activity series, the films that have long-since taken over this time of year with their yearly entries. And it doesn’t look to be ending any time soon. Paranormal Activity 2 debuted last year to $40.6m, a impressive haul coming off the 2009 surprise phenomenon of the first Paranormal Activity.

In fact, the second entry in the Paranormal Activity franchise had a larger opening than any of the Saw films, the franchise Paramount took over for that prime October real estate. Just as the Saw films’ openings rode around that same $30-35m opening, there doesn’t seem to be any reason Paranormal Activity won’t do the same between $40-45m. That’s what we’re likely looking at this weekend, for Paranormal Activity 3 to brush just up underneath that $45m mark, not spill over it, but still have quite an impressive debut in the process. And, when next week rolls around and this film is already considered a hit, you can expect Paranormal Activity 4 to book theaters for October 19, 2012.

You know what? I don’t mind showing you the Paranormal Activity 3 trailer right here. Hell, none of it made it into the final film, anyway, so scare yourself but be safe in knowing you aren’t being spoiled on the movie:

Paul W.S. Anderson brings us a new version of The Three Musketeers this weekend, something that might bring about snickers from audiences around the globe. The guy is a real butterfingers when it comes to directing style. It’s like he’s shooting his movies from Mars. Okay, enough of that guff. Anderson, though not necessarily a talent, is capable of pulling in some decent dollars for his “fun” films. Even movies like Death Race and the first Resident Evil were able to score $12.6m and $17.7m on their respective debuts. The Three Musketeers will probably fall somewhere in between these two. There’s no reason to think Orlando Bloom won’t be some kind of a draw, and the added dollars the 3-D ticket prices bring in won’t hurt, either. Expect a middle-of-the-road opening for The Three Musketeers, and expect the next Resident Evil movie to get put on the fast track shortly after. Heath bar.

Johnny English Reborn and The Mighty Macs also open wide this weekend, wide being a relative term, as they’re both opening on around 1500 screens. Johnny English Reborn, however, will be the more likely of the two to even break into the top 10. The first Johnny English made $9.1m in 2003, not a massive debut, but respectable enough considering Rowan Atkinson isn’t exactly Kevin James when it comes to opening these wacky kids movies. Now, eight years later, Johnny English Reborn will be lucky to come in at even half that amount. Why? Because we actually have Kevin James to make these kinds of movies money, and because kids actually realize that. Also, what kids want to see Mr. Bean in 007 mode when you have giant robots and 3-D musketeers vying for your paper route dollars. Kids still have paper routes, right? Man, I’m old.

Oh, yeah, and the Mighty Macs isn’t a sequel to Mac and Me. I was kind of hoping for that when I saw the title. Alas, no luck, and that fact alone will ruin it’s chances of making any cash. It’ll be lucky to break $1m this weekend. Sorry, David Boreanaz. Back to “Bones” with you.

FAMILIARITIES

Real Steel and Footloose are still out there punching and cutting on thousands of screens. They’ll both have relatively decent drops this weekend, too, each likely to earn at or just under $10m. The big loser this weekend will probably be that other October horror release, though, the one that isn’t a found footage movie about a demon stalking a helpless family. It’s the one about the alien that can transform itself into anything in the universe except for a cash cow. I’m talking about The Thing, in case you didn’t realize, and the sizable drop it’s expected to have this weekend could push it out of the top 10 altogether. If another sequel/prequel/remake of The Thing ends up getting green lit, you can be sure it’ll have some kind of found footage angle to it. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to give Universal any ideas.

LITTLE OPENERS

Also opening in limited release are Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey opening in New York City, The Catechism Cataclysm opening in select cities, Elevate opening in New York City, The Last Ride opening in select cities, Margin Call opening in select cities, Martha Marcy May Marlene opening in select cities,  Paul Goodman Changed My Life opening in New York City, and Snowmen opening in select cities.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Paranormal Activity 3 -$44.2m NEW
  2. The Three Musketeers – $14.5m NEW
  3. Real Steel – $9.9m (-38.8%)
  4. Footloose – $9.2m (-40.2%)
  5. Johnny English Reborn – $4.6m NEW
  6. The Ides of March – $4.4m (-36.9%)
  7. Dolphin Tale – $3.9m (-35.5%)
  8. Moneyball – $3.7m (-30.3%)
  9. The Thing – $3.5m (-57.8%)
  10. 50/50 – $2.9m (-28.8%)

Ooh, $100.8m. Now that’s the kind of overall box office we expect the horror movies in October to be able to pull in. And, of course, those numbers could end up being steep. The Paranormal Activity bandwagon could already be slowing its momentum. If that comes true, if Paranormal Activity ends up tanking and there’s no discernible horror franchise to take its place, we could end up with a horror-less October in 2012. We might be stuck with Puss in Boots 2 and a movie based on Connect Four. Hey, if you want that, then by all means, skip seeing Paranormal Activity 3. If you want October to continue being a time of year when the theaters are peppered with scary offerings, make yourself heard with the purchase of a ticket. Okay, editorial over. Now I want to play a game of Connect Four.

We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend numbers.

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