What's New in Theaters This Weekend: October 19, 2012

(20th Century Fox | Paramount | Summit)
A very slow weekend for new movies sees the opening of Paranormal Activity 4 and little else. Our senior analyst, Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations, thinks the latest found footage scarefest will easily win the box office, saying it's "still the hottest horror franchise around. Expect Paranormal Activity 4 to throw a frightful fit at the box office and record up to $43 million."

Bock expects another new movie, Alex Cross, to finish second, but well behind Paranormal 4, at around $16 million with holdovers Argo ($12M), Taken 2 ($11.5M), and Hotel Transylvania ($11M), rounding out the top five.

Alex Cross
Directed by Rob Cohen
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols, Edward Burns

Perry takes over Morgan Freeman's role as the eponymous detective/psychologist and the drop off couldn't be greater. As hard as it is to buy Perry as an actor of any sort, it's even harder knowing this role was once headed to Idris Elba. In this latest screen adaptation of the James Patterson character, Cross battles a veiny Matthew Fox as a sadistic serial killer. Early reviews are unanimously negative.
See it? No.
Box office projection: $16M

Paranormal Activity 4
Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively

The yearly Paranormal Activity movie is here in time for Halloween and they will continue to get made as long as audiences keep paying (these films have turned a profit of over $550 million thus far). The Paranormal films are a prototype for how to edit "found footage" horror films, but all that really means is a lot of waiting. They all follow the same formula: Wait around and put something scary in the corner of the screen. I'm much more interested in a film with an actual plot. Check out this real-life footage for a true scare.
See it? No.
Box office projection: $43M

The Sessions
Directed by Ben Lewin
Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood

This Sundance hit gets a major theater release in time for awards season and will hopefully find an audience. The subject matter might scare people off despite the film's casual tone. A man in an iron lung (Hawkes) hires a professional sex surrogate (Hunt) in order to lose his virginity. Both lead actors have been lauded for their brave performances but only time will tell if Oscar comes calling.
See it? Yes.
Our Q&A with Helen Hunt
Our Q&A with John Hawkes

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktavists [Limited]
Directed by Brian Knappenberger

A documentary offering an in-depth look at the "The Final Boss of the Internet," the Anonymous collective and the dawn of a new age of cyber activism. Anyone with a real knowledge of the internet has come across stories involving Anonymous at some point or seen their Guy Fawkes masks, but very little is known. Considering the topical subject matter and the lack of information about the subject matter, this is one documentary that could get some Oscar love.
See it? Yes.

The Flat [Limited]
Directed by Arnon Goldfinger

A documentarian cleans out his grandparents' apartment and discovers clues pointing to a shocking story involving Nazis. Family secrets and Nazis? Sign me up... documentaries like this are always the most riveting: The story would never see the light of day were it not for a filmmaking family member.
See it? Yes.

The First Time [Limited]
Directed by Jon Kasdan
Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Britt Robertson, Victoria Justice

Every year some film dips into the well of teens trying to lose their virginity. Some succeed (Superbad), most don't (Project X). The trailer displays the film's frequent sarcasm and awkward teen humor, but don't be fooled or charmed, this is one to miss.
See it? No.

That's What She Said [Limited]
Directed by Carrie Preston
Starring: Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis, Alia Shawkat, Miriam Shor

Two best friends with relationship problems set off on a New York adventure! We need more comedies starring funny women, but not like this. First, it loses points for its awful title, and the trailer shows a group of not very likable women yelling and freaking out over issues of little consequence. After a great 2011, Shawkat's had a terrible 2012 (The Oranges and now this). As one of my favorite comedic actresses, she deserves better.
See it? No.

Senior Editor at Zimbio. I'll take Johnny Clay, the Rev. Harry Powell, and Annie Savoy. You can have the rest.