Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 10-01-12

“Argo” – In theaters October 12th

“Argo” – In theaters October 12th

“Cloud Atlas”

“Cloud Atlas”

TKN2-133R: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) employs his very special set of skills. Photo Credt: Magali Bragard ©2012 EUROCORP — M6 FILMS – GRIVE PRODUCTIONS. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

TKN2-133R: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) employs his very special set of skills. Photo Credt: Magali Bragard ©2012 EUROCORP — M6 FILMS – GRIVE PRODUCTIONS. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

October overview: September ended with a boxoffice bang – about $43 million for Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania” and about $21 million for Sony’s “Looper!” October should blast off even stronger with a hefty take this weekend for Fox’s “Taken 2.”

The PG-13 rated action sequel from “Colombiana” director Olivier Megaton is set in Istanbul. There vacationing CIA operative Frank Mills (Liam Neeson) and his wife (Famke Janssen) are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while saving his daughter’s life in the original film.

The first “Taken” opened Jan. 30, 2009 to $24.7 million and wound up grossing $145 million in domestic theatres. Its sequel is tracking in high double digits similar to how “Men in Black 3” was tracking when it opened to $54.6 million last May. While “MIB 3’s” gross was for three days of the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, “Taken 2” is opening on a normal early October weekend so the numbers may not be quite as big. Nonetheless, it’s a safe bet that Fox and theatre owners will all be celebrating.

Oct. 5 will also see Disney’s 3D release of its animated PG horror comedy “Frankenweenie” from director Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland”). Its voice talents include Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short.

“Frankenweenie” is tracking best with women under-25 and over-25 and nearly as well with 25-plus men.

Universal and Gold Circle Films’ PG-13 comedy with music “Pitch Perfect” goes into wide release Oct. 5, after its very encouraging limited opening last weekend to about $5.2 million at only 335 theatres.

Directed by first time feature director Jason Moore, “Pitch” stars Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson in a story that pits an all-girls college singing group competing against male rivals.

“Pitch” is tracking best with women under-25, for whom it is a double-digits first choice.

Warner Bros.’ “Argo,” a political thriller set during 1979’s Iran hostage crisis, opens Oct. 12. It’s directed by Ben Affleck, who stars with Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

“Argo” world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to great reviews and word of mouth. Affleck was a Toronto nominee for best first feature in 2007 for “Gone Baby Gone” and an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee in 1998 for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon. Post-Toronto, there’s an Oscar buzz already building for “Argo,” including a possible supporting actor nod for Arkin.

“Argo’s” tracking best and equally well with men and women over-25.

Also opening Oct. 12 is Columbia and Happy Madison Productions’ family action comedy “Here Comes the Boom.” Directed by Frank Coraci (“Zookeeper”), it stars Kevin James, Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler. The story: A high school biology teacher (James) tries to become a martial arts fighter to help fund his school’s extracurricular activities.

“Boom” is tracking best with under-25 males.

CBS Films’ R rated crime comedy “Seven Psychopaths” also hits theatre Oct. 12. Directed by Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”), it stars Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. It’s a story about a struggling screenwriter in L.A. who gets in trouble after his friends kidnap a mobster’s dog.

“Seven” is tracking best and doing equally well with men under and over 25 and women over 25.

Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment’s R rated horror thriller “Sinister” is Oct. 12’s fourth wide release. Directed by Scott Derrickson (“The Day the Earth Stood Still”), it stars Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance and James Ransone. Its supernatural storyline centers on a true-crime novelist who finds video footage explaining why a family was murdered in the house he’s moved into.

“Sinister” is tracking best and doing equally well with men under and over 25 and women under 25.

Paramount’s highly anticipated horror franchise episode “Paranormal Activity 4” opens Oct. 19. Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, it stars Katie Featherston, Bradley Allen and Matt Shivley. Joost and Schulman previously directed “Paranormal Activity 3.” Reportedly made for $5 million, it opened Oct. 21, 2011 to $52.6 million and did $104 million domestically.

“Paranormal Activity 2,” made for an estimated $3 million, opened Oct. 22, 2010 to $40.7 million and did $84.8 million domestically. The original “Paranormal Activity,” said to have cost only $15,000 to make, was acquired by Paramount for a few hundred thousand dollars. It opened Sept. 25, 2009 in limited release to $77,873 and then went wide Oct. 16, 2009 with $19.6 million. It ended up grossing $107.9 million domestically.

Katie Featherston, who starred in the 2007 original and both sequels, returns in this one with a teen girl alone in a big house and an ominous child lurking outside in the darkness.

“Paranormal 4’s” already tracking in high single digits as an overall first choice. It’s a double digits first choice for men and women under 25.

Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment’s PG-13 crime thriller “Alex Cross” also opens Oct. 19. Directed by Rob Cohen (“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”), it stars Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox and Rachel Nichols. Its story, loosely based on James Patterson’s novel “Cross,” involves Washington, D.C. detective Alex Cross (Perry), who’s tracking down a family member’s killer and finding things aren’t what they seem to be.

“Cross” is tracking best with over-25 females and next best with under-25 males.

Warner Bros.’ R rated sci-fi mystery “Cloud Atlas,” directed by Tom Twyker (“Run Lola Run”) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix” franchise), opens wide Oct. 26. Starring are Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant.

The story: How individual lives impact on one another in the past, present and future and how one act of kindness over the course of centuries inspires a revolution.

Also arriving Oct. 26 is Open Road Films R rated thriller “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.” Directed by Michael J. Bassett (“Solomon Kane”), it stars Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell and Carrie-Ann Moss.

It’s the sequel to the R rated “Silent Hill,” which opened via Columbia Pictures Apr. 21, 2006 to $20.2 million and went on to gross $47 million domestically.

In the new film, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) turns 18 while suffering terrible nightmares after her father’s sudden disappearance. Discovering she’s not who she thinks she is plunges her into a demonic world from which there may be no escape.

Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies’ comedy “Fun Size” also arrives in theatres Oct. 26. Directed by first time feature director Josh Schwartz, it stars Victoria Justice, Johnny Knoxville and Chelsea Handler.

Justice plays Wren, who’s eager to attend a big Halloween party but unexpectedly has to watch her little brother – who somehow wanders away.

Also on deck for Oct. 26: Fox and Walden Media’s PG rated drama “Chasing Mavericks,” directed by Michael Apted (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”) and Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”), it stars Johnny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elisabeth Shue.

This is the true life story of 15 year old surfer Jay Moriarity (Weston), who discovers the mythic Mavericks surf break is actually near his home in Santa Cruz, Calif. and starts training to be able to survive it.

Bottom line: Liam Neeson’s “Taken 2” is tracking huge and should supersize this weekend’s boxoffice.