February 15th, 2016
There's no major release this week. I was tempted to give Spectre the Pick of the Week honor, but the screener arrived too late to get the review done over the weekend. None of the big releases are worth the Pick of the Week title. There are a number of smaller releases that are worth considering for Pick of the Week, including The Kid, which tops the list.
On a side note, this week's list is a little shorter than I would have liked, because the people who run Amazon are morons. They've changed the New Releases page, again, making it even harder to find a list of new releases for the week. Additionally, there are some films, like Black Mass, that weren't on the list of releases for this week before the changes were made. I understand why physical stores reorganize every once and a while, because if people have to walk to the store to find something, they are more likely to buy something else on a whim. However, these people physically walked to the store, so if they don't buy what they came for, it will be a wasted effort. On the other hand, people go to Amazon by clicking a button. Making it harder to find new releases for that week won't make it more likely they will buy something else. It means they are more likely to not buy anything at all.
November 24th, 2015
The Curse of the High Expectations strikes again. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 became the fifth film of the year to open with more than $100 million. This should be a reason to celebrate, but it marks a very steep decline from previous films in the Hunger Games franchise. The other two wide releases, The Night Before and Secret in Their Eyes, both failed to meet expectations, leaving the overall box office softer than anticipated. Granted, it still grew 60% from last weekend to $173 million, but this is 10% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2015 is still ahead of 2014 by a comfortable margin of 3.6% or $320 million. It would take a sizable collapse for 2015 to not come out on top in terms of raw box office dollars. On the other hand, it wouldn't take too much for it to slip below ticket price inflation, which is about 2% this year.
November 17th, 2015
There's not much in the way of good news to talk about, which is something that is becoming sadly common. Two of the three new releases missed expectations and expectations were low to begin with. Love the Coopers led the new releases, but it is hardly what you would call a box office hit. Even calling it a middling hit is overstating things. The 33 barely managed a spot in the top five and will quickly leave theaters. My All-American missed the Mendoza Line* by a mile and missed the top ten in the process. This meant Spectre and The Peanuts Movie remained on top of the charts, but they could only help the box office avoid becoming a disaster. As it is, the overall box office fell 33% from last weekend to just $108 million. This was 23% less than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2015's lead over 2015 took a real hit and its down to 3.9% at $9.06 billion to $8.72 billion. However, as we've seen recently, the overall box office is weaker than the these numbers look, as we've seen few major hits and many, many bombs.
November 15th, 2015
Sony are predicting a decline of just 50% for Spectre in its second weekend in theaters, putting James Bond’s latest incarnation on track for a final domestic box office in the neighborhood of $200 million. While well short of Skyfall’s $304 million, it welcome news for a film that’s probably right on the bubble as far as profitability is concerned.
November 11th, 2015
Last week the box office bounced back in an impressive fashion. However, this week it will very likely slump back down again. There are only two truly wide releases coming out this week, The 33 and Love the Coopers, neither of which are expected to be hits. In fact, there's a good chance neither of them will top $10 million over the weekend. This will leave Spectre and The Peanuts Movie on top of the charts once again, while we will have a one or two other holdovers in the top five, depending on how well the new wide releases match low expectations. This weekend last year Dumb and Dumber To opened with $36.11 million. This is more than either new release will earn this weekend, or in total. This might be more than both new releases will finish with combined. Unless the holdovers hold on really well, 2015 will lose in the year-over-year comparison, but it should be close.
November 6th, 2015
It is a bit of a messed up week as far as the contest is concerned. I ended the Halloween trick or treat contests a week early, because I got the release date of Mr. Holmes wrong. I had already set aside the two sets of horror or the one set of bad movies, so I might as well give them away this week. Also, the contest is a mess, because the wide releases next week are a mess. By the Sea was dropped to limited release, while My All-American is opening semi-wide, so that's a reversal of expectations. This leaves The 33 and Love the Coopers as the only true wide releases, neither of which is expected to be a even a midlevel hit. Combined they are not expected to be a midlevel hit. Worse for me, neither is expected to be a significantly bigger hit than the other making it harder to choose which film will be the target film. I'm literally going to have to flip a coin. Love the Coopers is the target film for this week's Box Office Prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Love the Coopers.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a Frankenprize consisting of two previously reviewed DVDs or Blu-rays.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will win a Frankenprize consisting of two previously reviewed DVDs or Blu-rays.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will also win a Frankenprize consisting of two previously reviewed DVDs or Blu-rays.
There is a difference this time. Two people will earn Frankenprizes consisting of two horror movies. The other winner will earn a Frankprize consisting of two "horror" movies, that is to say movies so bad that it will fill you with horror.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
November 1st, 2015
October has come to an end and everyone should be happy about that. Except for The Martian, there were no serious hits that opened last month. There were more outright bombs than even midlevel hits. Fortunately, October of last year wasn't spectacular either, so 2015 maintains a healthy lead over 2014. Even more fortunately, November looks fantastic. There are four films that have the potential to earn $200 million or more. The biggest of these is the final Hunger Games movie, which should reach $400 million. Spectre has a real shot at $300 million and could be the biggest hit in the franchise. Meanwhile, nearly every November there's an animated kids movie that becomes a monster hit. This year, The Peanuts Movie and The Good Dinosaur are both aiming for that box office milestone. The last time we didn't have a family film that earned at least $100 million in November was 2011 and that's because there were four family films that opened in the final two weeks of the month and that much competition meant they cannibalized each other. Both of these has a shot at $200 million and if neither of them reached $200 million, I would be shocked. Meanwhile, last November was a good month at the top with three monster hits: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar. However, after those three films, there were not much positive to talk about. It really looks like 2015 will match 2014 at the top, plus it could have better depth. I might be a little too optimistic, but I think November is going to be a great month at the box office.