February 13th, 2017
It is an interesting week with four top-notch releases. Unfortunately, two of those releases, Doctor Strange and Moonlight, are VOD only. This leaves just two contenders for Pick of the Week: Arrival and The Edge of Seventeen. Both are absolute must haves, but Arrival’s Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack have far more extras and it is the Pick of the Week.
January 31st, 2017
It’s a slow week at the top, as there are no new releases that were hits in theaters. That doesn’t mean we have no contenders for Pick of the Week, just that they are smaller films or ones that struggled in theaters. Queen of Katwe is the best of this list and the Blu-ray is the Pick of the Week.
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 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 18th, 2016
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them pulled in $8.75 million during its midnight shows last night. That’s good, but a little lower than expected and not even the best of the fall so far. It was beaten by Doctor Strange, which earned $9.4 million just two weeks ago. Worse still, Fantastic Beasts' reviews have fallen to 74% positive. That’s still good for a blockbuster release, but it is the lowest in the Harry Potter franchise and will likely hurt the film’s box office performance over the weekend. It should still make over $80 million this weekend, but it will be close. We might have to revise that prediction lower tomorrow when we have Friday’s estimates.
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 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.