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Rumor has it, anyone who doesn’t play Box Office Wizard is shunned and deemed a “slut.” So, are you going to take that hit to your reputation or predict which five movies will place in the top five of this weekend's U.S. domestic box office chart? Easy choice, ay? I will make my own predictions here and explain them to you each week to give you some sort of reference point. It's then your job to enter a comment with your top five.
This is Week #19. The first week you predict is the first week you enter the Box Office Wizard competition. For every correct prediction each week, you earn a point. Points are cumulative. The game keeps going on and on forever and ever except we will reset everyone back to zero -- let's say -- once a year. Each week there will be at least two winners: a weekend wizard for the users who guessed the most correct and a box office wizard for the user with the most points to date. The goal is to be Box Office Wizard for as long as you can. I'll pick an end date for the year at some point and then whoever has the most becomes the year's box office wizard. Maybe by the time that happens, Player Affinity will be so wildly popular that we'll have some cool free stuff to give the Box Office Wizard of the Year. Regardless, it's worth giving a try. What do you have to lose?
Last Week's Top Five
Week #18 Wizard(s): SimonSays - 3 pts
Current Box Office Wizard: Steven C - 53 Pts
Simon continues to win the weeks, but by slim margins as it’s been a rough fall so far. Takers leapfrogging The American and Machete hurt most people.
Steven C - 53
TheGamerGeek - 49
SimonSays - 45
Sallas - 29
Olly H - 14
Dustin C - 10
OracleofGame - 6
Dementious - 5
Matthew D – 3
Julian – 2
Max A – 2
Dinah – 2
Kieran - 2
Lydia – 2
Joseph – 1
Remember, only submissions in the comment section count and they must be made by 12:00 PM SATURDAY. Check our weekly recap posting late afternoon every Monday for the box office figures of the weekend. Remember, we count the WEEKEND ACTUALS, not the ESTIMATES announced on Sundays. On 4-day weekends, only the 3-day total matters.
Here are this week's new contenders followed by my predictions.
New Contenders this Weekend
Directed by Ben Affleck
Written by Ben Affleck, Adam Stockard and Peter Craig, Chuck Hogan (novel)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, John Hamm
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release: 2,861 theaters
Directed by Drew and John Erick Dowdle
Written by Brian Nelson, M. Night Shyamalan (story)
Starring: Chris Messina, Geoffrey Arend, Caroline Dhavernas
Release: 2,810 theaters
Directed by Will Gluck
Written by Burt V. Royal
Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Stanley Tucci, Patrcia Clarkson
Distributor: Sony/Screen Gems
Release: 2,856 theaters
Alpha and Omega
Directed by Anthony Bell, Ben Gluck
Written by Chris Denk, Steve Moore
Starring: (voices) Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover
Release: 2,625 theaters
My Top Five Predictions
So, who to pick first? All these films are getting releases in about 2,800 theaters, so that’s not a factor. Comps (similar films and how they performed at the box office) is the way to go. Of course movies that come out in the fall are an entirely different animal. At the same time, most fall films have fairly predictable patterns that favor new releases.
My pick for first is The Town. I’m generally wary of picking the film I’m looking forward to most when there are a lot of choices, but it makes sense. The basement for crime thrillers in the fall like these is usually $10 million, whereas the ceiling is about $25 million (Martin Scorsese’s The Departed). I think the hype could have “Town” finishing on the upper end at around $20 million. It’s optimistic for the genre, but good reviews and buzz has me confident.
Second, I think, will be Devil. Horror films do well this time of year and I think the Shyamalan buzz will help this one along. I think $15 million, maybe a bit more, is in order. As far as positive buzz goes, I’m going to take a chance on the good reviews for Easy A. Normally you look at the lack of star power and cringe at the box-office chances of this kind of teen comedy, but I think $10 million is doable and enough to fend off the last two films in the top five.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is in for a huge drop, especially given how many films are new this week. Expect $8-10 million. Call me cruel, but I think Alpha and Omega will still finish below that with around $6-8 million. I think the advertising has been poor and Lionsgate is new at the animation thing. Then again, I could be underestimating talking animals a great deal.