runner runner

There are two films opening this weekend, and both star Batman. In this case, the star of Batman and Robin has the advantage, while the upcoming star of Batman Vs. Superman (or whatever they call it) is in the turkey. Gravity should handily win the weekend over Runner Runner.

Gravity stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a tale of astronauts fighting to stay alive, and this was considered a difficult sell of a film, so it took years to get made. Perhaps it’s because initially the lead had no backstory or dramatic arc, so it took a while to net a A-list leading lady. Now they have Sandra Bullock — whose character not only has to face a race to stay alive, but also has a dead relative — and though she’s the face of the film, it’s more about her going through the actions than emoting, so it’s easy to see why it took a while to convince someone to take the part. Space is the star of the film. Her role is as avatar, made obvious when the film takes on her point of view.

But with a strong advertising campaign, the spectrum of appeal the project has, and the fact that the film is the best reason to watch something in 3D and Imax means this could be a monster. Or at least a monster for October. The highest opening weekend ever in October is $52 Million for Paranormal Activity 3, and this could beat that.

Realistically, the film is expected to do around $35-$40 Million, which doesn’t signal a win for the film. Gravity is relatively cheap with a supposed $80 Million budget, international has never been crazy about outer space movies, and it’s domestic total will likely be less than $200 Million. Oscar buzz could help it, but you can see how the math is such that Warner Brothers may not make a profit on this one. It all depends if isn’t too cold for the mainstream. Will they be turned on en masse like critics have been? We shall see.

Runner Runner will disappear quickly, even with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. They never cracked the advertising, and people don’t follow movie stars to the theater any more. On top of which it looks like the film was already released in some markets internationally, and word is the film just doesn’t deliver. Bottom line: It’s no Rounders.

Let’s do this predicting thing:

  1. Gravity - $47 Million
  2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2- $19.5 Million
  3. Runner Runner - $8.5 Million
  4. Prisoners – $7.2 Million
  5. Rush – $6.5 Million

I’m going high on Gravity, but if anything could exceed expectations, it’s that film. And I’m going low on Runner Runner. But that looks bound to disappoint.

What are you going to watch this weekend?