An aspiring young actress and her ambitious young driver struggle hopefully with the absurd eccentricities of the wildly unpredictable billionaire, who they work for. It's Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey, under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes, arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her driver Frank Forbes, who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart and is a deeply religious Methodist. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes’ #1 rule: no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes’ behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.
As expected, Moana dominated the weekend box office chart with a $10 million lead over its nearest competitor earning $28.27 million. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also did well with $18.12 million. Unfortunately, those were the only two films to earn more than $10 million over the weekend and this left the overall box office down a massive 48% from last weekend to just $95 million. Worse still, this is 2.8% lower than the same weekend last year. I’m actually surprised it’s that close, because there were four films that earned more than $10 million last year, including the biggest new release, Krampus. 2016 was able to crack $10 billion before the weekend and has a very substantial lead at $10.12 billion to $9.66 billion for 2015.
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.
Disney’s domination of Thanksgiving weekend will continue in 2016, with Moana expected to post $55.5 million for the three-day weekend and $81.1 million in total, making it either the second-best or best Thanksgiving opener of all time, depending on what you consider an “opener.” Disney is claiming second place for Moana behind Frozen, which had a $67.4 million 3-day weekend, and $93.6 million 5-day weekend back in 2013. That film had already opened in a single theater the weekend before, so if we want to split hairs, it technically wasn’t opening that weekend. Either way you look at it, it’s a great start for Moana, and another handsome win for Disney. The studio can now claim the top six 5-day Thanksgiving debuts and and the top eight 3-day Thanksgiving openings of all time.
Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most lucrative weekends of the year and this time around we could have a relatively close battle between a new release, Moana, and last week’s number one film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. At least that’s what analysts thought, before we saw the preview numbers. None of the rest of the new wide releases are expected to do much. Allied could become a midlevel hit, but I would be surprised if its budget was only midlevel. Bad Santa 2 is on its way to becoming another comedy sequel that bombs. If Rules Don’t Apply’s previews are any indication, it will become one of the worst box office performers of the year. This weekend last year, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 beat The Good Dinosaur rather easily. However, Fantastic Beasts started slower than Moana, so I think we will have a new winner this week.
There are four films opening next week, but only one of them, Moana, is going to be a major factor at the box office. Allied looks like it will be a midlevel hit, but it likely cost a serious amount of money to make, so a midlevel hit won’t be enough. Finally, there are limited releases coming out that will top Bad Santa 2 or Rules Don’t Apply. Because the new releases are so lop-sided, Moana is the only serious 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 Moana.
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 or either a full-season TV on DVD release, two movies, or three single-discs kids movies, winners’ choice, from our collection or previously reviewed titles.
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 Frankenprize, as described above.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will the final Frankenprize, as described above.
Remember, while Moana opens on Wednesday, we only care about the Friday through Sunday three-day weekend.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
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.
The shaded area represents the expected performance range for a film, based on its opening weekend box office. 95% of films fall within the shaded area. If a film trends towards the top end of the shaded area, it has good legs compared to the average film; if it trends towards the bottom end of the shaded area, it has poor legs. The predictive area is based on movies from the past 5 years.
Full financial estimates for this film, including domestic and international box office, video sales, video rentals, TV and ancillary revenue
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