January 4th, 2016
We are getting back to normal for the home market releases. There are no major first run releases, but one of the biggest limited releases of 2015 hits the home market. Sicario earned nearly $50 million after starting in limited release and the Blu-ray Combo Pack is the Pick of the Week. It wasn't the only contender for that honor, as Deathgasm (DVD or Blu-ray) and Infinitely Polar Bear (DVD or Blu-ray) were also in contention.
November 9th, 2015
It was a good weekend at the box office, but not a great weekend. Both Spectre and The Peanuts Movie opened well enough to be considered hits, but didn't quite reach the high marks I had expected. Call it irrational exuberance. Even though Spectre didn't break the record for the Bond franchise, it still did almost as well as all of the box office did last weekend. Additionally, The Peanuts Movie opened with more than $40 million, which is a great start, while its target audience should help its legs. The overall box office was $162 million, which is 115% more than last weekend. It was also 3.0% more than the same weekend last week, so the slump we've been in is officially over. Year-to-date, 2015 is now ahead of 2014 by a 4.9% margin at $8.89 billion to $8.48 billion. A $415 million lead with less than two months to go seems really safe, especially with a few more potential monster hits on the way.
November 2nd, 2015
Most people expected the box office to be really weak this past weekend, but I don't think anyone anticipated this. How bad was this past weekend? All three new releases missed the Mendoza line* and there were no new releases in the top five. The overall box office was just $75 million, which was the lowest for the year and the fourth worst weekend in the past decade. This represents a 28% drop-off from last week and a 21% drop-off from the same weekend last year. 2015's overall lead over 2014 shrunk from 5.2% to 4.7%. The overall lead fell by $40 million at $8.69 billion to $8.31 billion. This is reason to panic, or it would be if Spectre wasn't opening on Friday. The film is breaking records in the U.K. and should be an explosive hit here. Hopefully it will do well enough that we can pretend the past two weeks never happened.
November 1st, 2015
Halloween is a horror show for new releases, with none of them able to break a $2,000 theater average and The Martian enjoying a fourth weekend at the top of the chart. The sci-fi movie will earn about $11.4 million this weekend, for a total of $182.8 million, per Fox’s Sunday morning projection—down 28% from last weekend. The adult-skewing audience for the film meant it wasn’t badly affected by Halloween on Saturday, with its daily gross up 32% from Friday. In comparison, Goosebumps was up just 9% on Saturday, which leaves it too much to do to steal top spot. Sony projects the family adventure-horror film will end the weekend with $10.25 million over three days and $57.1 million in total. The new wide releases, meanwhile, will barely earn $10 million between them.
October 31st, 2015
Because Halloween is a dead zone for the box office when it lands during the weekend, it has a major effect on the box office. Therefore, it is important for box office analysts to compare weekends where the holiday lands on the same day. This is a problem, because the last time Halloween landed on a Saturday was 2009. The only film to open wide that weekend was Michael Jackson's This is It, which is in no way similar to any of the movies that opened wide this weekend. The previous similar weekend was in 1998, but while Vampires is a closer match to Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, the box office has changed too much to compare the films. We're flying blind this weekend. Fortunately, even flying blind, it is easy to make one declaration: All three wide releases bombed.
October 30th, 2015
Two of the three wide releases had Thursday previews, with Burnt having the bigger of the two films' launches. Bigger is a relative term. It only managed $250,000 during its previews, which is bad news. Its bad news for the studio, as this doesn't bode well for its box office chances. It is also bad new for me, because this is so low it is hard to find other films to compare it with. It is about 10% lower than The Green Inferno, which is about as close a match as I could find, but those two films share almost none of their respective audiences. The Intern is a closer match as far as audiences are concerned. That film earned $650,000 during its previews on its way to a $24.90 million opening weekend. Burnt has worse reviews, so it likely won't have the same internal multiplier. Even so, it should make between $7 million and $9 million, which is a little higher than predicted, but not enough to keep the studio happy.
October 29th, 2015
Halloween is a dead zone for the box office, for the most part, and this year it lands on Saturday. Unless we are dealing with a horror film, it's going to be a bad weekend. There are two truly wide openings this weekend, Burnt and Our Brand is Crisis, neither of which are horror films. There is also one semi-wide release, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, which is a horror movie, but the buzz is so quiet I don't think it will matter. All three movies are earning bad reviews and it looks like the top three this weekend will be the same as they were last weekend. (There's a chance Goosebumps gets a big enough Halloween boost to climb into first place.) This weekend last year, there was only one new release in the top ten, Nightcrawler, which earned second place with just over $10 million. That's better than any one of the new releases will do this year; however, there's better depth this year, so I think 2015 will come out on top on the year-over-year comparison.
October 23rd, 2015
Next weekend three films are opening wide, maybe, sort of? Halloween is on Saturday, which is a dead zone for the box office, so I don't think the studios are too concerned about the movies they are releases. Burnt might be opening in limited release this week and expanding wide next weekend, or it might be opening wide next weekend. (I just read a source that had it opening wide this week. Confusion like that can't help the film.) Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is opening at least semi-wide, but it is also coming out on VOD just a few weeks later, so a lot of theater owners are balking at the film. That leaves Our Brand is Crisis. I doubt it will be a hit, but I think it has the best shot at earning number one out of these three films. As such, it is the only 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 Our Brand is Crisis.
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. This is the last time we will be doing this for Halloween, but we're doing it again for Christmas, with two presents and a lump of coal.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
October 1st, 2015
September ended on a record note with the debut of Hotel Transylvania 2. Additionally, there was great depth and 2015's lead over 2014 grew to nearly $500 million. How do things look going forward? The month starts out with The Martian, which should have no trouble becoming the biggest hit of the month and might even top $200 million. On the other hand, no other film is expected to get to $100 million. There's only one or two that will even come close. Fortunately, last October was very similar with one $100 million hit, Gone Girl, while two other films came close, Annabelle and Fury. It looks like it will be up to the depth films from both years to determine which year comes out on top.