When Ben Affleck turned to directing his first feature film wasn’t a box office sensation, but it did make critics stand up and take notice. Affleck was no dummy, and he proved gifted behind the camera. Then came The Town, and with it commercial and critical success. Now he’s got Argo, which is hitting a busy season of the year, and looks to be an adult action movie. Does Affleck have the juice to take the top spot?

What Argo is facing is Taken 2 coming off a near $50 Million dollar opening weekend, Sinister – a horror movie that could do $30-$40 Million if the horror audience shows up – and Here Comes the Boom, which feels like it could have made a hundred million dollars at some point in Earth’s history (but not right now). There’s also Seven Psychopaths and Atlas Shrugged Part II. So it’s a busy weekend for October.

Argo probably can’t stop Taken 2, which should hold on with a 50% drop or less. Audiences are going to get what they came for with the picture, and though numbers may get closer, Taken would have to drop off considerably and Argo interest would have to spike for that to happen. All things considered, doing $20 Million isn’t a bad take for Argo, and it could play long. Unfortunately a $20-ish opening would put it under The Town‘s $23 Million dollar opening (The Town did $92 Million domestically). But Argo is also getting a lot of Oscar heat, so it’s possible that it will get a long play, and once four-star reviews, and if Oscar front-runner status becomes cemented, it’s possible that even with a $20 Million dollar opening, the film could do over $100 Million.

Here Comes the Boom is such a weird picture because it feels like Sony doesn’t love the film, and – on paper – it should be a huge, huge hit. You’ve got the mixture of a popular comedy star with a sports picture, which allows for the come from behind victory and this is normally the sort of thing that audiences eat up. But no. And it’s weird because the picture is opening right around the same time as Real Steel did last year, which also underperformed. I’m shocked that they never figured out how to sell this.

Sinister isn’t tracking like a breakthrough, but it used to be a strange horror movie with a mostly no-name cast could still do $20-$30 opening weekend. Though reviews are mostly positive, it’s something of a non-starter. If the film was done on a budget, it might net a nifty profit, but it seems like the ceiling here is $30 Million.

So let’s cook up some meth… er numbers:

  1. Taken 2 – $24.5 Million
  2. Argo – $22 Million
  3. Hotel Transylvania - $18.5 Million
  4. Sinister – $14.7 Million
  5. Here Comes the Boom – $13 Million

I’m going slightly higher on Sinister and Argo just because, and a little low on Taken. I’m betting on word of mouth helping and hurting all three.

What are you going to watch this weekend?