Can Jack Black’s ‘Goosebumps,’ Tom Hanks’ ‘Bridge of Spies’ Bring ‘The Martian’ Back Down to Earth?

Sony’s horror comedy is a good bet to hit $25 million in first-place box office debut, with Steven Spielberg’s spy tale and Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” not far behind

Last Updated: October 14, 2015 @ 12:59 PM

The horror comedy “Goosebumps” debuts Friday and analysts say Jack Black, the star of Sony’s adaptation of the R.L. Stine kids classics, will get the last laugh over some Hollywood heavyweights at the box office this weekend.

The Oscar-winning duo of director Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks reunites for the first time in more than a decade for Dreamworks’ Cold War thriller “Bridge of Spies,” while director Guillermo del Toro checks in with the R-rated chiller “Crimson Peak” for Legendary Pictures and Universal. Both movies roll out Friday as well.

“Goosebumps” will narrowly dethrone two-time defending champ “The Martian” with a debut in the $25 million range, say the analysts. Fox’s space epic starring Matt Damon has been holding very well and could even retain the top spot, they say. It’s expected to edge out the Disney-distributed “Bridge of Spies,” which is projected to open at around $20 million, for second place, with “Crimson Peak” following in the mid-teen millions.

“The combination of Halloween and the family crowd should make the difference,” Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock told TheWrap Tuesday. “The reviews being as strong as they have been so far is going to bring in parents and help ‘Goosebumps,’ too.”

Sony’s mid-teen millions projection for “Goosebumps” is far more conservative, but the analysts are bullish based on the popularity of the book series, which launched in 1992 and now boasts more than 400 million copies in 32 languages in print worldwide.

Black reteams with “Gulliver’s Travels” director Rob Letterman on the PG-rated “Goosebumps,” which currently enjoys an 82 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its social media profile is pretty good for a family film and brings to mind another scary-funny film with a known star, 2004’s “Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events.” The Jim Carey comedy debuted to $30 million and went on to make $118 million domestically for Paramount.

“Goosebumps,” co-produced and co-financed to the tune of $58 million with Village Roadshow, is an important movie for Sony. If it delivers as expected, the studio will have launched another franchise less than a month after “Hotel Transylvania 2” solidified that series’ status with a strong opening, which it has built on the past two weeks.

Sony has done a good job of timing the release of the the two family-angled films and, if “Goosebumps” works, will have the kiddie market cornered until Fox’s “Peanuts” rolls out on Nov. 6.

“Goosebumps” will screen in roughly 3,500 theaters, with the bulk of locations being 3D-equipped.

With its power pedigree of Spielberg and Hanks, “Bridge of Spies” doesn’t really need a strong opening to work, but it appears it will get it. The audience will skew older and it is an Oscar contender, so the focus is on the big picture for DreamWorks and Disney.

The PG-rated thriller is the fourth big-screen union of Hanks and Spielberg, and the first in a decade following 2004’s “The Terminal,” 2002’s “Catch Me If You Can” and 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.”

Based on the 1962 U2 spy plane incident, “Bridge of Spies” has the potential to play steadily for months, as Hanks’ similarly fact-based “Captain Phillips” did for Sony in 2013, opening to $25 million and topping out at $107 million on its way to a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

It will be seen in roughly 2,800 screens.

Universal has had success with Jason Blum‘s low-budget horror films like ‘The Visit,” “Ouija” and “The Purge,” but Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” is another beast altogether.

The $55 million budget is large for a horror movie, and the cast includes stars Charlie Hunnam, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston.

Del Toro isn’t known as a commercial force, but his last two movies, “Pacific Rim” and “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army,” both opened over $34 million. This one appears to have too much competition — including the semi-spooky “Goosebumps” — to match that.

“Crimson Peak” will run in roughly 2,983 theaters, including IMAX, for Universal, which will also be keeping an eye on “Steve Jobs.” The studio is expanding its Oscar hopeful biopic on the Apple founder to 60 theaters in the top 25 markets in a key test of its commercial viability.

“Woodlawn,” a Christian football drama featuring “Rudy” star Sean Astin, will screen in roughly 1,500 theaters. The Pure Flix release will take in less than $5 million, the analysts say.

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