How high will The Hunger Games: Catching Fire take this weekend's box office? The first film debuted to over $150 million at the box office just over one-third of what the film would ultimately collect. It's been over a year since it premiered, but now finds itself firmly in the "holiday" season, which should enable it to perform better than its predecessor, but not by much, though if the franchise has picked up more fans since its last outing, it could become only the second film in history to open with an unadjusted total of $200 million.
Wesley Lovell: I'll be at the IMAX showing this weekend of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as will millions of others around the world. On the specialty market, Philomena promises to be an excellent choice.
Peter J. Patrick: Something for everyone this week - the second installment of the Hunger Games for the masses; Philomena for the discerning.
Tripp Burton: With the holiday season right around the corner, we get the tentpole release I am most looking forward to this week, as well as a well-received festival hit.
There's only one new wide release this weekend, but The Best Man Holiday cannot hope to overcome the second weekend of Thor: The Dark World.
Wesley Lovell: The Best Man Holiday doesn't look bad, but Nebraska is the only film any film geek should care about this week.
Peter J. Patrick: Alexander Payne's latest Oscar hopeful, Nebraska, provides the film lover's bait this week.
Tripp Burton: Nebraska is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and the only film that seems like it is worth checking out this weekend.
No other wide releases this weekend and no hold overs will be able to trump Thor: The Dark World, which will have two weeks to rule the #1 position at the box office before The Hunger Games (spoofed this week in The Starving Games sequel Catching Fire stomps the competition for three weekends until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug does the same.
Wesley Lovell: It should come as no surprise that my primary recommendation this week is Thor: The Dark World. However, I'm also interested in seeing spoof feature The Straving Games. As bad as these films are, it's somewhat fun to sit down and thoroughly let your brain go and laugh at the utter inanity.
Peter J. Patrick: Another holiday weekend, another blockbuster opening and some possibly good stuff at the art-house make it an interesting moviegoing week.
Tripp Burton: As the end begins to wrap up, some interesting films are continuing to sneak in, at least at the art houses.
Three very distinct genres with differing viewerbases. Last Vegas has the best potential to climb to the top of the chart. Well known actors in a Las Vegas comedy should attract the broadest support while many geeks will choose Ender's Game and families will go for Free Birds. Adult audiences have dominated this year's box office, so Last Vegas is likely to benefit greatly from that.
Wesley Lovell: While I might see Last Vegas for the fun of it, this week's best releases will be on the limited front with Dallas Buyers Club being tops on anyone's list.
Peter J. Patrick: A typical early Oscar season week. The films I most want to see, Dallas Buyers Club and About Time, are as usual, opening in limited release.
Tripp Burton: As we enter November, we are getting a lot of interesting films from all walks of filmmaking.
While Ridley Scott has a decent track record at the box office, the Jackass films have a better one which should push it to first place even against the strong holdover that's Gravity.
Wesley Lovell: The Counselor might be interesting, but strangely enough, Bad Grandpa doesn't look terribly bad. Blue Is the Warmest Color has great press, but the trailer doesn't look that interesting.
Peter J. Patrick: Can The Counselor stop Gravity's hold on the box office or will it be the week's go-to film for sold-out showings of the blockbuster hit?
Tripp Burton: This week brings us one Pulitzer Prize winner, one Palme d'Or winner, and Jackass.
You don't remake one of the most acclaimed horror films of all time only to expect a flop. Positioned as the only horror film on the horizon for Halloween, Carrie should easily pull in strong dollars for the next couple of weeks as date night and Halloween parties turn to their annual fright-fix. The Fifth Estate is likely to finish outside the top ten while Escape Plan hopes only to not embarrass itself.
Wesley Lovell: I don't have much of a desire to see any of the week's new releases, but 12 Years a Slave, All Is Lost and Kill Your Darlings should be worthwhile films to see.
Peter J. Patrick: Oscar, Oscar, will we have seen this year's Oscar winner by week's end?
Tripp Burton: While the multiplexes are busy getting everyone in the mood for Halloween, two of the most hailed movies of the year are starting to sneak out into limited release.
Tom Hanks starring in Captain Phillips doesn't guarantee it's success, but word of mouth and relentless marketing may. Captain Phillips was initially slated to win the weekend easily against the grindhouse niche film Machete Kills. However, after the stellar debut of Gravity, it will need to do exceedingly well to top that.
Wesley Lovell: Captain Phillips looks better in its second trailer than it did in its first, so it could be worth catching; however, for me, Escape from Tomorrow is the sole release this week I'm excited about.
Peter J. Patrick: Major fall releases continue with Captain Phillips making this the second decent movie week in a row in some time.
Tripp Burton: October is always an interesting mix of awards season and Halloween season, and this week is no difference. Overall, though, it looks to be a great weekend for moviegoing
Early tracking shows that Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller is going to open fairly strong, which should easily put it ahead of the weekend's other new release Runner Runner and the expanding Metallica: Through the Never.
Wesley Lovell: It's an easy choice this weekend: Gravity.
Peter J. Patrick: Oscar magnet Gravity should dwarf the competition. A.C.O.D. looks like it could be a sleeper. Everything else this week looks like it's headed for a quick video release.
Tripp Burton: One of the most anticipated movies of the year, Gravity is the film to see this weekend.
There hasn't been much in the way of family entertainment the last month, giving Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to make a large bit of cash. The first film is well liked and the second film could build on that reputation. The problem is critics haven't started weighing in on the movie, which could lead to trouble. Looking at the other releases, I suspect only Rush has a chance of beating Cloudy.
Wesley Lovell: Rush looks like it could be fun and Cloudy 2 looks punny, but limited release Metallica: Through the Never looks most appealing this weekend.
Peter J. Patrick: Rush to see Festival hit Rush and take your time getting around to the week's other releases.
Tripp Burton: Some interesting films are starting to creep into theatres, but none of them are drawing me in too much.
By the simple fact that Prisoners is opening on more than 3,000 screens, it should be a given that it will take the top spot at the box office. Battle of the Year is releasing more modestly, but wasn't likely to do major box office feats either way.
Wesley Lovell: After the festivals assured me that Prisoners wasn't a run-of-the-mill thriller, my interest increased dramatically.
Peter J. Patrick: Things are starting to look up with a few well received festival hits spreading out.
Tripp Burton: I think Prisoners and Enough Said are both some of the most interesting looking films of the year, so I'm excited to finally have a weekend to get excited about!
While it would be nice to say that Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer can top the box office, but the sequel to popular horror flick Insidious is the more likely victor.
Wesley Lovell: The Family might be a fun comedy starring a pair of talented actors, though Herb & Dorothy 50x50 might have its own rewards.
Peter J. Patrick: Another dismal week for new films in theaters, but take heart, the festival hits will soon start appearing.
Tripp Burton: Yet again, there are a slew of horrible looking mainstream films and a few interesting films coming out to a theatre nowhere near you.
There are no other wide releases this weekend, which should give Riddick a comfortable lead at the top of the box office.
Wesley Lovell: I have no desire to see Riddick, but Populaire looks fun.
Peter J. Patrick: Absolutely nothing new of interest this week.
Tripp Burton: Post-Labor Day must be the new dry weekend for Hollywood, so save your money for the big weeks ahead as we enter Oscar season.
Labor Day weekend is the dregs for box office tracking, meaning boy band One Direciton may well find themselves at the top of a lackluster box office with The Butler a close second. Getaway hasn't gotten much marketing, so I don't expect it to do well while Closed Circuit has had virtually none and is opening on fewer than 1,000 screens, which means a finish outside the Top Ten is likely.
Wesley Lovell: The worst weekend of the year is almost always Labor Day where most studios dump the worst of their Summer worst. Passion is the only film opening this weekend that promises to be of higher calibre than your standard Summer fare, though I Declare War might just be interesting enough to come in second.
Peter J. Patrick: The Summer doldrums continue.
Tripp Burton: I see we have entered that part of August where the movie theatres become the studio's dumping grounds.
Lee Daniels' The Butler has a pretty good shot of remaining at #1 for a second week with three seemingly unimpressive titles on the way into the marketplace. You're Next may have the best shot at beating The Butler simply because horror often has a strong opening. However, the film hasn't quite gotten the advertising it should need to be tops. The other two films are likely to do well, but not that well with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones a big question, especially considering the year's two other tween-targeted supernatural romance films have flopped.
Wesley Lovell: I can't say I'm really looking forward to any of these this week.
Peter J. Patrick: Looks like a so-so week at the Cineplex.
Tripp Burton: Nothing is tickling my fancy this weekend, but if you happen to like some of these genres then by all means check one out.
Typically, August is a dumping group for films studios originally thought would do boffo box office, but ultimately turned out to be unlikely to do so. They hope that they can claw their way to a decent total to help pay back some of the money they cost. This weekend's list has one film that doesn't quite fit that stereotype, while the others do. And that film, Lee Daniels' The Butler is likely to be the weekend's top box office performance topping Kick-Ass 2, which might not do terribly well, but will be that film's strongest competition.
Wesley Lovell: I want to be excited for Lee Daniels' The Butler, but I'm struggling to build up enthusiasm. The indie set isn't much better.
Peter J. Patrick: A mixed bag week with two promising debuts and lots of junk.
Tripp Burton: We are entering the beginning of Oscar season, but this year it is bringing in a lot of films with awards friendly premises that look like complete disasters.