The Hunger Games‘ reign is about to come to an end as Ridley Scott’s Bible epic Exodus: Gods and Kings competes for box office dollars. The film’s success depends entirely on attendance from church groups as I don’t think it’s going to be too big of a cross-demographic hit.
Wesley Lovell: Inherent Vice is the only new film this weekend that I’m very interested in seeing. Exodus might be ok, but it also has disaster written all over it.
Peter J. Patrick: Magician: The Astonishing Work of Orson Welles, opening in limited release, is the only film I’d venture out to see this week. Six Dace Lessons in Six Weeks might be amusing enough to catch on DVD, as might Top Five and Inherent Vice, but the week’s only wide release, in which Ridley Scott mimics Cecil B. DeMille, thrills me not.
Tripp Burton: A lot of big awards contenders are coming out this week, although some look better than others.
Thomas LaTourrette: Inherent Vice sounds like the most interesting of the releases, though it has gotten rather uneven reviews. Hopefully, Exodus will be better than Noah, but I am not sure about that.
There are no new major wide releases this weekend, so Katniss Everdeen will continue to have the odds in her favor.
Wesley Lovell: The post-Thanksgiving Weekend weekend tends to be a dumping ground for non-serious awards contenders, so it’s a bit surprising that Reese Witherspoon’s potential Best Actress nomination for Wild is releasing this weekend along with all the other detritus.
Peter J. Patrick: If it weren’t for its Oscar buzz, Wild is probably a film I wouldn’t be in any rush to see, but given that buzz, it’s on my must-see list.
Tripp Burton: There are no wide releases this weekend, but the limited releases run the gamut of cinema. I’ll go with the Oscar contender and the foreign film myself.
Thomas LaTourrette: Wild sounds like the most interesting film of the week. Reese Witherspoon has gotten great word of mouth about it.
Although the first film was a surprise hit, Horrible Bosses 2 is sure to share the same fate as a lot of comedy sequels. Penguins of Madgascar has plenty of funny for families over the Thanksgiving weekend, so it should come out on top.
Wesley Lovell: There’s a lot of good things to see this weekend and I’d honestly recommend all of them.
Peter J. Patrick: Oscar season takes a major leap forward with the release of The Imitation Game.
Tripp Burton: Thanksgiving isn’t the high point of the studio season it used to be, but there’s at least one Oscar front-runner sneaking out to limited cities this weekend.
Thomas LaTourrette: I am really looking forward to The Imitation Game. It could be not only a good movie, but a strong Oscar competitor.
Box office records won’t be annihilated, but they won’t be held too far at bay. The third of four Hunger Games films opens this weekend and it’s sure to be huge.
Wesley Lovell: The book series is fantastic and the movies have been terrific so far. Can they make it three-for-three? In limited release, the prospects are much more grim.
Peter J. Patrick: Unless you’re a big Hunger Games fan or haven’t gotten enough of the Penn State scandal, it’s a good week for catching up on whatever you may have missed
Tripp Burton: Not much to pick from, but Mockingjay looks like a worthy follow-up to the first two Hunger Games films.
Thomas LaTourrette: The Hunger Games movies have been consistently enjoyable, so Mockingjay will be worth seeing. The previous films have not proved major Oscar bait, so I doubt this one will either, but it should still be fun.
While it isn’t much Dumb and Dumber To may be the weekend’s top new release, but if it’s as bad as it looks and performs as poorly as its predecessor, it could fall to Beyond the Lights.
Wesley Lovell: All the best options are in limited release with Foxcatcher easily topping the list.
Peter J. Patrick: The limited releases are the class acts this week.
Tripp Burton: Some festival favorites, and heavy Oscar contenders, are sneaking out into theaters this weekend, and I am really looking forward to catching up on them.
Thomas LaTourrette: Am waiting for Foxcatcher, which has sounded like a good movie with excellent performances, for over a year. Hopefully, it will live up to its hype. Both Rosewater and Beyond the Lights could prove worthwhile, but someone else will have to go see Dumb and Dumber To, it won’t be me.
It will be a glorious battle this weekend as Disney’s big gun, the animated adventure Big Hero 6 takes on regular box office behemoth Christopher Nolan. Ultimately, I think both will do incredibly well. I give the edge to Interstellar since its previews have been compelling and nicely targeted to Nolan fans.
Wesley Lovell: I’m for sure seeing Big Hero 6 and may also see Interstellar. On the indie front, there are also two very strong possibilities in Brazilian blind gay coming of age story The Way He Looks and what’s sure to be one of the top contenders for Best Actor, The Theory of Everything.
Peter J. Patrick: And the Oscar nominations go to…quite possibly all four of this week’s major openings.
Tripp Burton: There are a lot of films this week vying for year-end awards, although none of them are calling me too hard.
Thomas LaTourrette: At last the Oscar films are starting to appear! Interstellar sounds interesting, if a bit flawed. Big Hero 6 sounds like a good animated film from Disney. However, The Theory of Everything with Eddie Redmayne’s starring performance sounds like the film to see.
I have a hard time seeing any of the new wide releases really scoring big this coming weekend. Nostalgia could put Saw at number one, but Nightcarwler has the widest release and could appeal to the broadest demographic.
Wesley Lovell: Nightcrawler looks the most interesting of the wide releases while Horns will probably be the most fun of the specialty cases.
Peter J. Patrick: Oh, what a week! If you must see a horror film on Halloween there are enough such films available via DVD and streaming that you don’t have to subject yourself to this week’s bottom of the barrel new releases.
Tripp Burton: For Halloween weekend, all we are getting are thrillers and horror films; if you’re a fan of the genres, pick the most interesting premise and go for it!
Thomas LaTourrette: All four of these films have interesting concepts, but the one that really appeals is Nightcrawler, due to Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance. Once again, there does not seem to be an Oscar nominee out this week.
Halloween weekend demands a horror film at the top of the box office and that’s precisely what we’re probably going to get.
Wesley Lovell: Surprisingly, 23 Blast doesn’t look half bad, especially compared to the other two releases. On the specialty side, Laggies would probably be my choice.
Peter J. Patrick: Where are all the Oscar films? This week’s wide releases include three directorial debuts, one from a respected character actor, one from a couple of stuntmen and one from a Special Effects coordinator, none of which seem like anything worth going out of your way for.
Tripp Burton: The wide releases are fairly typical genre fare this weekend, but there are some neat things in limited release this weekend!
Thomas LaTourrette: None of the releases sound exciting to me. A good weekend to catch up on films one has missed from last week or earlier in the year.
It’s going to be stiff competition when your three wide releases are all targeting different demographics. Romantics will be heading out to The Best of Me, men will be heading to Fury and families will be off to see The Book of Life. In the end, the film most on Oscar’s radar will probably be the one to triumph.
Wesley Lovell: It’s hard to pick just one or two titles this week as there are a number of prominent possibilities.
Peter J. Patrick: Birdman and Fury arrive, no doubt adding to their Oscar buzz. The Book of Life could be an animation sleeper.
Tripp Burton: Birdman is one of the most anticipated films of the year, and comes out in a weekend where nothing else looks too decent, so it should be an easy choice if it’s playing anywhere near you.
Thomas LaTourrette: I am intrigued to see the much talked about Birdman, though somehow I can’t imagine it living up to its hype. Other than that, there is surprisingly something for everyone.
I’ll admit I’m completely stymied about which of the four new releases will top the box office. Each have their positive qualities and each have drawbacks. In the end, family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day may have a slight edge over Dracula Untold, which could also easily be a bomb.
Wesley Lovell: The wide release offerings don’t look so hot, but St. Vincent might be the most enjoyable of the limited releases.
Peter J. Patrick: Several lesser players in this year’s Oscar race open, most notably J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.
Tripp Burton: The wide releases this week are dismal looking, but there is some really exciting stuff hitting the art houses.
Thomas LaTourrette: This week has a few films with strong performances that may be remembered at Oscar time. The Judge (Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr.), Kill the Messenger (Jeremy Renner), and St. Vincent (Bill Murray) all sound decent, but J.K. Simmons’ performance in Whiplash makes it sound like the film to see.
Of the Oscar-friendly directors working today, David Fincher is one of the few who command attention at the box office. Gone Girl should be the latest in a recent string of strong openers at the box office, though horror flick Annabelle may build on pre-Halloween anticipation and come close. Christian adaptation Left Behind will open strong with religious groups, but will not be able to top David Fincher.
Wesley Lovell: Fincher’s latest looks excellent and, though others aren’t as optimistic, Men, Women & Children looks engaging.
Peter J. Patrick: The Fall Film-going Season AKA Oscar Season begins with the opening of the first major Oscar contender, Gone Girl, along with a couple of minor contenders.
Tripp Burton: We could have our first major Oscar contender of the year out this week, so the season is upon us!
Thomas LaTourrette: Finally some movies worth seeing. Both The Good Lie and Men, Women & Children sound interesting, if flawed. The best should be David Fincher’s Gone Girl, which should boast good performances and taut direction, and may well prove to be a major Oscar contender.
Last week, the site I use to pull data hadn’t updated to reflect the new release date of The Maze Runner and, as a result, it didn’t appear in our coverage. Regardless, it’s not likely to top the box office a second weekend. The BoxTrolls is the first kid-targeted film in some time, which could give it a boost at the box office.
Wesley Lovell: After two superb outings, Laika brings us another stop-motion picture that looks like it will be quite something. Lilting‘s a good choice for the specialty auds.
Peter J. Patrick: There seems to be a little something for everyone this week.
Tripp Burton: A lot of genre films this week, so pick what you like and check it out!
Thomas LaTourrette: While The Boxtrolls does not sound like Studio Laika’s best film, they usually turn out a product worth seeing. Lilting sounds like a winner of a foreign film.
It’s going to be a tough competition this week between comedy This Is Where I Leave You and Liam Neeson’s A Walk Among the Tombstones. I suspect it will go down to the wire, but I’m giving a slight edge to the family comedy since there are so few comedies in the marketplace at present and Neeson can be hit-or-miss.
Wesley Lovell: Kevin Smith is trying way too hard to stay relevant, Neeson’s film doesn’t look that great and This Is Where I Leave You has potential. On the limited side, there are a couple of films that could be good, but none that make me want to run out and see them.
Peter J. Patrick: Tusk looks reasonably interesting among the week’s new releases; the rest not so much.
Tripp Burton: A lot of interesting looking films this weekend, but I could also see them all being duds.
Thomas LaTourrette: (Editor’s Note: Thomas is out of town this week, so he will not be submitting data for today’s chart)
There’s not much else out there, so a sequel to a popular family film should do quite well, but No Good Deed is building some buzz that might put it on top.
Wesley Lovell: I’d rather see the original split version of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby than the combined one, but if this is all there is, I guess I’ll have to take it.
Peter J. Patrick: Finally a couple of possible Oscar contenders: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and My Old Lady, both in limited release.
Tripp Burton: More mediocre sounding titles this week…when will all the great films we are reading about at Toronto start sneaking out to us?
Thomas LaTourrette: Eleanor Rigby sounds like the best of this week’s films, and hopefully it lives up to its hype. I really like Jessica Chastain, who may get a nomination for this or perhaps one of her other two big releases due later this year.
There’s nothing else original releasing this coming weekend, so it wins by default.
Wesley Lovell: September’s best films typically release at the specialty box office. While this week’s offerings might be slight, I’m sure they’ll be better than the week’s only wide release.
Peter J. Patrick: The end of Summer doldrums continue. There’s nothing happening at the multiplex this week.
Tripp Burton: Oh man is this a bad week of movies…I’ll be home with my On Demand.
Thomas LaTourrette: Another lackluster week. Here’s hoping that the rest of September offers better fare.