UPDATED: Weekend Estimates: 'Where the Wild Things Are,' 'Law Abiding Citizen' and 'The Stepfather'

Featured Stories - on October 18, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Where the Wild Things, Law Abiding Citizen and The Stepfather all had very successful debuts.

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Sunday Morning Update (10:14 a.m. PT): Where the Wild Things Are trailed off a little bit after a successful debut on Friday, but it still easily finished in first place. Law Abiding Citizen defied expectation by finishing in second, and Paranormal Activity landed in third. Click here for the full report.

Saturday Morning Update (8:40 a.m. PT): As expected, Where the Wild Things Are will finish in first place. Paranormal Activity continues to deliver strong results, while Law Abiding Citizen and The Stepfather both debuted in the top five. Click here for the full report.

Thursday Afternoon Update (4:38 p.m. PT): As of 3:30 p.m. PT, Where the Wild Things Are is responsible for an impressive 42 percent of daily sales on Fandango.com and 32 percent on MovieTickets.com. As for Paranormal Activity, it's responsible for 21 percent of daily sales on Fandango.com and 16 percent on MovieTickets.com.

While Paranormal Activity seems guaranteed to walk out of the weekend with a considerable amount of positive buzz, Where the Wild Things Are may fall quickly as a result of its polarizing nature.

Check out our final predictions in the table below.

Weekend Predictions: October 16 to October 18, 2009
Title Gross (M) Cume (M) Locations Inc./Dec.
1 Where the Wild Things Are $30.0 $30.0 3,735 New
2 Paranormal Activity $19.0 $32.5 760 +600
3 Couples Retreat $18.2 $63.4 3,009 +9
4 Law Abiding Citizen $10.0 $10.0 2,889 New
5 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $7.8 $107.8 3,037 +45
6 Zombieland $7.5 $60.5 3,171 +133
7 The Stepfather $7.0 $7.0 2,734 New
8 Toy Story/Toy Story 2 in 3D $4.1 $29.5 1,467 -285
9 Surrogates $2.0 $36.4 2,326 -666
10 Capitalism: A Love Story $1.7 $11.9 991 -4


Wednesday Afternoon Update: This weekend, Where the Wild Things Are, Law Abiding Citizen and The Stepfather are all debuting in wide release. Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity should do some serious damage as it expands its location count from 160 to around 800.

Where the Wild Things Are is the favorite to finish in first place this weekend. Even though the film has been plagued by bad buzz as well as some release date changes, the fact that it is based on an incredibly popular children's novel gives it a built-in audience to work with.

The Warner Bros. release is a hit with critics, but most reviews acknowledge the fact that film may not play well with younger moviegoers. As a result, box office receipts could suffer a bit on Saturday and Sunday after word gets out that co-writer/director Spike Jonze took a less-commercial approach to the adaptation process.

As of 1:30 p.m. PT, Where the Wild Things Are is responsible for 20 percent of sales on Fandango.com and 16 percent on MovieTickets.com.

Expect Where the Wild Things Are to grab a debut haul of around $26 million from more than 3,500 locations.

Paramount has a genuine word-of-mouth hit on their hands with Paranormal Activity. By utilizing a series of expansions instead of going wide at the start, the studio has created a palpable sense of curiosity. The smart maneuver is bound to pay off again this weekend.

As of 1:30 p.m. PT, Paranormal Activity is responsible for 12 percent of sales on MovieTickets.com and nine percent on Fandango.com. The thriller boasts an impressive 79 percent recommendation level on Flixster.

"Male audiences are just a little more interested than women, but overall Flixster activity for the movie was up another 200% this week," says John Singh, a spokesperson for Flixster.

Paranormal Activity should move one step closer to living up to its reputation as the new Blair Witch Project this weekend, and it could gross as much as $19 million.

Law Abiding Citizen will try to entice the same moviegoers that flocked to Taken earlier this year. There is always a market for revenge thrillers, and Taken star Liam Neeson proved that you don't have to be an action star to make one a success. While Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx aren't well-established box office draws in their own right, Law Abiding Citizen should find a respectable audience. Expect the Overture release to rake in about $10 million this weekend from approximately 2,700 locations.

The Stepfather will have to struggle to find its niche during a very crowded weekend. It also doesn't bode well that similar suspense flicks such as Jennifer's Body and Sorority Row recently died quick deaths at the box office. The Stepfather may manage $7 million from about 2,700 locations.

Check back tomorrow for our Top 10 predictions as well as official location counts.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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