November 24th, 2015
This weekend is Thanksgiving weekend, which means Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the sales usually mean a massive increase in units sold, the sales also tend to scare away new releases. This is certainly the case here and this week's list is very short as a result. That's not to say there are no releases worth picking up. In fact, there are several Pick of the Week contenders, led by Shaun the Sheep on Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray Combo Pack. Meanwhile, for the second week in a row, we have a Puck of the Week, for best Canadian release, Guidance on DVD.
September 9th, 2015
While first trying to come up with picture / title ideas for the weekend columns, I saw the image above and was reminded of "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer. Ever since then, the song has been stuck in my head. It's been there for more than 48 hours now and I'm starting to think I will need medical help getting rid of it. The overall box office was more or less in line with Friday's expectations. A Walk in the Woods matched predictions (nearly) perfectly, while The Transporter Refueled was on the low end of expectations. Fortunately, War Room showed off strong legs leaping into first place. It was able to help the overall box office grow 3.5% to $90 million over the three-day weekend. This was 38% higher than the same weekend last year; however, this is due to a misalignment of holidays. Compared to last labor day, the box office was 18% lower. With that, the summer of 2015 is officially over and while records were broken, the overall box office was actually the second best on record, falling just short of 2013 at $4.48 billion to $4.75 billion. Year-to-date, 2015 has a 5.3% lead over 2014 at $7.53 billion to $7.15 billion.
September 5th, 2015
As expected, The Transporter Refueled earned first place on Friday with $2.4 million. However, bad reviews will lead to a front-loaded weekend, so it won’t last there long. I think the best comparison is The Transporter 2, which was also released on Labor Day long weekend. That film opened with $5.57 million on the Friday, and earned $16.54 million / $20.10 million after three and four days respectively. If The Transporter Refueled had the same internal multiplier, it would make $7.1 million / $8.7 million. However, The Transporter 2 also earned better reviews, so it would be best to shave a few points off, to give The Transporter Refueled just under $7 million over the three day weekend and just over $8 million including Monday. That’s a disappointing start, even for a film that wasn’t expected to do well at the box office.
September 4th, 2015
It's Labor Day long weekend, the weakest long weekend of the year. There are two films looking to grab spots in the top five, The Transporter Refueled and A Walk in the Woods. They will have to contend with Straight Outta Compton, but more importantly, they will have to compete with last chance outdoor activities. This weekend last year, the best new release was The Identical, which is one of the biggest bombs of all time. We won't have a repeat of that this year, so hopefully fall can start on a winning note.
August 31st, 2015
August is over and the number one film over the full month remained in first place for the third weekend in a row. Only one of the three new releases did well, War Room, as it topped the high end of exceptions. The other two wide releases bombed, in the case of No Escape, and bombed hard, in the case of We Are Your Friends. The overall box office plummeted 17% to just $88 million over the weekend. That's so low that I double-checked the numbers. Granted, there are likely a few limited releases that we don't have weekend numbers for yet, so this number isn't final. However, even the final number won't be that much higher than this, certainly not high enough to make a real difference. This was also 21% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2015 is still ahead of 2014 by nearly $400 million at $7.39 billion to 7.00 billion, so this slump isn't terrible news. However, I would really like it to end sooner rather than later.
August 30th, 2015
Straight Outta Compton will win a third weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates released on Sunday, but it won’t be without a struggle. The biopic lost on Friday to War Room, a faith-based film that opened in just 1,135 theaters, and the weekend race will finish with just a couple of million dollars between the two films, with Compton’s $13.2 million edging out War Room’s $11 million. Compton now has $134 million in the bank, making it the fifth-highest-grossing biographical film after American Sniper ($350 million), Lincoln ($182 million), A Beautiful Mind ($170 million), and Catch Me if You Can ($165 million). If you’re playing the Oscars game at home already, it’s worth noting that three of the four films above it received Best Picture nominations (Catch Me if You Can being the odd-one-out).
August 29th, 2015
Only one of the three new releases did well on Friday, and it was a film that many analysts thought would bomb. Despite earning the worst reviews and having the smallest theater count of the three new releases, War Room earned first place on Friday with $3.875 million. Faith-based films tend to have a higher internal multiplier than most films, because their target audience tends to show up at theaters on Sunday after church. Because of this, the film might open with a theater average above $10,000, which would give it an opening weekend of over $11 million. That’s probably a little too optimistic, but second place with $10 million is within reach.
August 27th, 2015
It's the last weekend of August and there are three films being dumped into theaters this week. None are expected to earn even $10 million, but there might be a bit of a race to see which of these movies will be the best of the bad group. No Escape already opened on Wednesday, but it didn't have a great start, despite playing in just over 3,000 theaters. We Are Your Friends opens on Friday in about 2,300 theaters, but it has a shot at second place. The final wide release is War Room, which is debuting in just over 1,000 theaters. However, it is a faith-based film, so it could be a surprise hit earning close to $10 million, or it might miss the Mendoza Line. Unless one or more of these films completely blows away analysts, Straight Outta Compton will remain in first place for the third weekend in a row. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases and a limited release that nearly made the top ten. That's very similar to what it is this weekend. I think it will be relatively close, but 2015 will likely fall just shy of 2014 in the year-over-year comparison.
August 21st, 2015
Next weekend is the last weekend in August and it isn't hard to tell looking at the releases. There are three wide releases, sort of. War Room is only opening in just over 1,000 theaters, so it likely won't make an impact at the box office. No Escape is opening in just over 3,000 theaters, but it is opening on Wednesday. That leaves We Are Your Friends as the only real choice for 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 We Are Your Friends.
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, comprised of Bottoms Up on DVD and one previously reviewed DVD / Blu-ray.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will win a second Frankenprize, comprised of Knifed Up on DVD and one previously reviewed DVD / Blu-ray.
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 third Frankenprize, comprised of Father Forgive HIm on DVD and one previously reviewed DVD / Blu-ray.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
August 1st, 2015
It is still a little too soon to tell how July will finish, as we don't have any numbers for the final weekend at the time of writing. We know Minions was a monster hit and that Ant-man will be a financial success. However, until we see how Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation does, it will be impossible to call the month a true success. If Rogue Nation bombed this weekend, then the month is only a partial success. It would also mean the summer of 2015 could be coming to an abrupt end. As for August, only Fantastic Four has a better than 50/50 chance of reaching $100 million; although some people think Straight Outta Compton also has a shot at that milestone. Besides those two, only a couple of other films even have a realistic shot at becoming midlevel hits. Worse still, last August was amazing with Guardians of the Galaxy breaking records. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also did better than expected with a domestic haul of nearly $200 million. No release this August is going to match that figure. There's a good chance the top two releases combined won't do so. Fortunately, 2015 has a sizable lead over 2014, so even a soft month will keep 2015 ahead in the year-over-year comparison.