November 29th, 2016
As expected, Moana earned first place over the Thanksgiving weekend and became the biggest true opener in the holiday’s history. (Technically Frozen opened in limited release the week before and as we learned from Futurama, technically correct is the best kind of correct.) The film was a little more front-loaded than expected and nearly matched our predictions. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them held on better than predicted and that one-two punch helped the overall box office grow 17% from last weekend to $184 million, over the three-day portion of the weekend. This is nearly identical to the same weekend last year; in fact, it was up by less than 1%. Year-to-date, 2016 has pulled in $9.99 billion. 2016 will soon become the eighth year in a row to reach the $10 billion milestone. This is 5.0% / $470 million above last year’s pace. I’ve been saying for a while that we needed to enter December with a $300 million advantage over 2015 in order to come out ahead at the end of the year, so this is great news.
November 23rd, 2016
Manchester by the Sea led the way on the theater average chart with an average of $64,125 in four theaters. That isn’t the best average we’ve seen this year, but it is fourth place for a 2016 release. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned first place on the overall chart and second place with $17,954 on this chart. Nocturnal Animals earned an average of $13,315 in 37 theaters. That’s an impressive average considering how wide it was playing. Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened earned an average of $11,745 in two theaters. Meanwhile, the re-release of Daughters of the Dust was the final film in the $10,000 club earning $10,842 in its lone theater.
November 22nd, 2016
As expected, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them dominated the box office earning nearly as much as the rest of the films combined. However, it was unexpectedly weak earning just $74.40 million. In fact, every film we talked about on Thursday’s predictions underperformed and the overall box office was down to $158 million. Granted, “down” in this case is only off by 0.1%, but considering we were expecting significant growth, even a little drop is distressing. Worse still, the box office is off by 8.9% from this weekend last year. Again, we were expecting growth in the year-over-year comparison, so a drop this big really hurts. Year-to-date, 2016 has pulled in $9.49 billion, which is 5.9% or $540 million better than last year’s pace. That said, I wouldn’t panic, as Moana should help the box office bounce back this weekend.
November 20th, 2016
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is doing everything Warner Bros. could have wished for this weekend, posting a lively $75 million opening in the US, hitting $143.3 million internationally for a global opening over $200 million, and getting a A CinemaScore that should give it positive word of mouth going into Thanksgiving. For a franchise reboot, that’s a lot of reasons to be happy, although its opening is well below the openings enjoyed by the original Harry Potter franchise. The worst of those, Chamber of Secrets, opened with $88 million over three days (Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince both technically had slower weekends than Chamber of Secrets, but both of them opened on Wednesday, and they still did over $75 million Friday–Sunday).
November 17th, 2016
At the beginning of the month, we thought there would be four wide releases / expansions this week. However, it turns out there will be just one, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The lack of wide releases should help it at the box office and there is a small chance it could top $100 million over the next three days. While there are no other wide releases, there are a few films opening or expanding semi-wide. Of these, The Edge of Seventeen is the only one with a realistic shot at the top five. It is earning the best reviews of the week and did earn a lot of film festival buzz, so that should help. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk had an amazing opening in limited release last weekend, but it will likely struggle as it expands into just over 1,000 theaters this weekend. Finally there’s Bleed for This, which is expected to barely make the top ten. This weekend last year, the final installment of the Hunger Games franchise opened with just over $100 million. There’s a slim chance Fantastic Beasts will do the same. Even if it doesn’t, the depth this year is much better than last year and that should help 2016 win in the year-over-year comparison.
November 16th, 2016
Doctor Strange remained in first place with $60.2 million in 53 markets over the weekend for totals of $339.6 million internationally and $492.6 million worldwide. This puts the film ahead of the lifetime total of Thor and into 11th place in the MCU. It will be at least a couple of spots higher by this time next week. The film had a stronger than expected hold in China down $22.54 million over the weekend for a two-week total of $83.22 million. It also remained in first place in South Korea with $4.35 million on 951 screens over the weekend for a total of $36.22 million after three weeks of release. Up next for the film is Argentina on the 24th, while it doesn’t end its run until next year when it opens in Japan.
November 16th, 2016
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk earned first place on the theater average chart over the weekend earning an average of $57,065 in two theaters. That’s the good news. The bad news is its reviews suggest poor word of mouth and difficulty expanding wide this coming weekend. Elle opened in second place with an average of $25,467, also in two theaters. Loving remained in the $10,000 club for the second weekend with an average of $11,149 in 46 theaters. It still has room to grow. Doctor Strange was right behind with an average of $11,069. The final film in the $10,000 was the biggest new release of the week, Arrival, which earned an average of $10,390.
November 13th, 2016
While Doctor Strange and Trolls aren’t really being threatened at the top of the chart this weekend, a few healthy new releases are giving Veterans Day weekend a timely boost at the box office. Arrival is the stand-out performer in wide release, with $24 million from 2,317 theaters and an average over $10,000. The sci-fi drama is a critical darling, but is having a harder time with general audiences who might be expecting something with a few more explosions and laser battles, and its CinemaScore is a B. Its potential long-term performance is a therefore a little hard to gauge at this point, but it would be very surprising for it not to pick up a few more theaters, and it might be decent counter-programming to the explosions and laser battles promised by several other films coming up in the next few weeks.
November 11th, 2016
One of the more difficult aspects of this job is keeping track of release dates. For instance, we thought The Love Witch came out two weeks ago, but its release date changed at the last minute. The official site says it’s coming out this week, so if it gets changed again, it is not my fault. It arguably has the best reviews on this week’s list and it is the one I’m most interested in seeing. That said, it is too out there to expect it to find mainstream success.
November 10th, 2016
There are four films opening or expanding wide next week, at least that’s what we thought would happen at the beginning of the month. Now we learn The Edge of Seventeen is opening semi-wide, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is only expanding semi-wide, while we still don’t know what is happening with Bleed for This. This is great news for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as it will have even less competition that anticipated. It is also the only reasonable choice for the target film in this week’s Box Office Prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a copy of Kubo and the Two Strings on Blu-ray Combo Pack.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a previously reviewed movie.
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 previously reviewed movie.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
November 1st, 2016
October turned out to be a mixed month. On the one hand, not one movie earned $100 million, or even came close. However, it was also a more steady month than last October and the last two weeks really helped 2016 in the year-over-year comparisons. In November, we have five films with at least a shot at $100 million, three of which should have no trouble getting to at least $200 million. A little while ago, I thought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be the biggest hit of the month, but the buzz took a hit recently. More on that below. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange’s reviews are currently 90% positive and that should help it out at the box office. The third very likely $200 million hit is Moana. There is certainly precedent for an animated movie to be a monster hit at this time of year, but there is also a lot of competition. Last November was similar in strength, with five films that earned more than $100 million and two films that earned more than $200 million. None earned more than $300 million, so that’s the goal for this November. If we can get one $300 million and / or three $200 million movies over the month, then it will be seen as a victory.