‘If I Stay’ should top ‘Sin City’

ScreenerBlog

Two adaptations of two popular genres will go head-to-head at the box office this weekend, though the ultimate winner isn’t much in doubt.

 If I Stay, based on the Gayle Forman young adult novel, will likely pull out ahead of Sin City sequel and graphic-novel adaptation Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. If the latter had opened several years ago, before similar Frank Miller titles 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire, not to mention their many copycat productions, had debuted, it’s likely the film would be in a much better position. The first Sin City was well-reviewed, well-liked and featured innovative graphics. But that was nine years ago, and what was once singular is now simply much of the same. Critics aren’t too hot on a Dame to Kill For (the film is currently 39 percent rotten on Rotten Tomatoes) and that decade-long wait between films has likely dampened fan enthusiasm. Pundits are predicting an opening weekend gross in the mid-teens.

 If I Stay shouldn’t open significantly higher, but certainly enough to land the film at No. 1. It targets the same crowd of teen girls that made a hit of The Fault in Our Stars earlier this summer, although it’s unlikely Stay will approach Stars’ $48 million opening. Forman’s book isn’t nearly as popular as John Green’s bestseller, and Chloe Grace Moretz isn’t (yet) as large a star as Shailene Woodley. The weeper also lacks The Fault in Our Stars’ positive reviews (Stay is tracking 40 percent rotten to Stars’ 80 percent fresh). But as there's little competition, If I Stay’s predicted $20 million haul should nonetheless be the largest of the weekend.

When the Game Stands Tall is the third and final new major release bowing today. Pundits believe the film will land at No. 5, behind If I Stay, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and holdovers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy. Marketing for the inspirational sports flick, based on the true story of a high-school football team with a record-setting winning streak, has done little to make the film stand out. Tall does have a faith-based angle (the high school in question is a Catholic one, and the coach is seemingly a religious man), but unlike recent hits God’s Not Dead and Heaven Is for Real, the characters’ faith is not front-and-center. More comparable titles would be Million Dollar Arm and Draft Day, which both opened around $10 million. Look for When the Game Stands Tall to do similarly muted business.