THIS WEEK’S TOP PICK
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
As the domestic box office tries to pull itself out of its nose dive last month which saw the lowest theater attendance this century, hopes will be pinned on this adaptation of Rachel Dawkins’ best-selling novel, The Girl on the Train. The film’s marketing has identified this as a spiritual successor to 20th Century Fox’s sleeper hit, Gone Girl, thanks to its similar premise (suburban housewife goes missing in mysterious circumstances) and a strong female focus. However, Gone Girl was greeted with near-universal praise, while Universal’s The Girl on the Train is struggling with 45% on rottentomatoes.com (we weren’t too keen either, see our full review here) and such supposedly sophisticated fare does tend to rely on having the critics on its side.
That said, the book’s success and the praise rightfully lauded on Emily Blunt’s performance should see The Girl on the Train hit the top spot this weekend with a revenue of around $30 million expected but this will be some $7 million short of Gone Girl’s opening almost exactly 2 year’s ago.
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS
A hurricane on the scale of destruction that ‘Matthew’ is currently wreaking is unwelcome at the best of times and it’s likely to have an adverse effect on the Atlantic coast’s box office this weekend that couldn’t have come at a worse time for the US box office. Expectations are low overall this weekend with only The Girl on the Train expected to finish over $20 million; however, the hugely controversial Birth of a Nation could be a surprise package.
Fox Searchlight’s Birth of a Nation is currently mired in ignominy due to a historical criminal case against its director, Nate Parker. That’s on top of its deliberate attempts to usurp D.W. Griffiths’ massively important but also undoubtedly racist 1915 film of the same name as it tells the tale of a real life slave rebellion in the 1830’s. Parker’s film is entering into the most politically charged atmosphere in America since the story’s setting and there’s little telling how it will fare: if it seizes the African-American market and its glowing reviews then it could easily surpass $20 million with its wide release but the revelation of its directors past will most likely to stop it reaching its full potential. If it breaks the top 5, Birth of a Nation will have done well given its circumstances.
This week’s other new wide release is Lionsgate’s Middle School: The Worst Year’s of My Life, which is some possibly welcome family fare amid the far more adult tone of this week’s new releases. It’s currently at 62% on RT and may well tempt families and tweens to theaters this weekend but it’s unlikely to exceed a $10 million take and will mostly likely have to settle for a place just south of the top five.
Elsewhere, it’s all about the performance of last week’s releases, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Deepwater Horizon. Both had slightly disappointing openings and are looking at around a 50% drop off in revenue each and will probably be vying for second place behind The Girl on the Train with Miss Peregrine’s looking the likely favorite at the moment. Sony’s The Magnificent Seven is looking to finish comfortably in fourth place with just under $10 million to complete the top 5.