Some things in life, box office fans, are a given. The sun rises each day. Nobody ever watches Adult Swim sober. Michigan beats Penn State and goes to a bowl game every year. And the latest installment in the Saw franchise opens shortly before Halloween and makes a killing at the box office. Yep, it’s that time of year again. So, hey, howaboutcha read on to see why I love Saw Week more than any other, and then click on over to EW.com’s Fall Box Office Challenge to make your picks for the weekend.
THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE
Lionsgate · R · 3,183 theaters · NEW
To quote Andy Williams, ”It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” No, not ye olde yuletide. I’m talking about the week when more blood is shed and more shrieks are shruked than any other — in multiplexes at least. (And this one’s conveniently titled Saw IV, to boot! Get it? I.V.) Man, I love the annual rollout of the latest entry in this horror-flick franchise. It makes my job of picking a winner frighteningly easy. I mean, the math is simple: Saw opened with $18.3 mil in 2004; Saw II bowed to $31.7 mil in 2005; and Saw III debuted at $33.6 mil last year. Don’t expect this upward trend to end anytime soon.
Weekend prediction: $35 million
Dan in Real Life
Touchstone · PG-13 · 1,921 theaters · NEW
Critics are digging this dramedy from Pieces of April director Peter Hedges, in which Steve Carell plays an advice columnist who struggles with the trials and tribulations of life. These days, however, critical praise is no guarantee of box office success (see, oh: Michael Clayton, Into the Wild, Eastern Promises, and so on). What’s more, the jury’s still out on Carell’s drawing power. The 40-Year-Old Virgin was a $109.4 mil hit and Little Miss Sunshine was a $59.9 mil success, but the ultra-expensive Evan Almighty underperformed with just $100.3 mil this past summer. And it’s not like The Office is a major ratings leader on TV. So how will Dan in Real Life do at the real box office? Best to view it as a something akin to last year’s well-reviewed dramedy Stranger Than Fiction, which opened with a slightly disappointing $13.4 mil — and that one had bona fide star Will Ferrell in the lead.
Weekend prediction: $10 million
Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?
Lionsgate · PG-13 · 1,897 theaters · 3rd weekend
By this time next week, Perry’s fourth theatrical feature (which, thanks to light competition and strong word of mouth, has banked more than $41 mil to date) should have passed his first, the $50 mil-topping Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Weekend prediction: $8 million
30 Days of Night
Columbia · R · 2,859 theaters · 2nd weekend
Josh Hartnett’s vampire saga has held strong during the week, scaring up more than a mil per day. But fellow horror movie Saw IV will slice and stab and cut into its revenues this time around, making for a likely drop of close to 60 percent from 30 Days of Night‘s decent $16 mil opening.
Weekend prediction: $7 million
The Game Plan
Walt Disney · PG · 3,342 theaters · 5th weekend
Like a Big 12 football team in the fourth quarter of a game against a cream puff, The Rock’s family flick (which has earned more than $70 mil so far) continues to run up the score on the competition.
Weekend prediction: $6 million