December 1st, 2016
December usually starts on a really soft note, because the weekend after Thanksgiving is usually a terrible weekend. This time around, the wide release of the week is Incarnate, which is opening in 1,737 theaters and is expected to struggle to reach the top ten. That leaves Moana with an easy route to first place. This weekend last year, Krampus opened in second place with $16.29 million. Incarnate will only earn a fraction of that. On the other hand, the number one film was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, which earned $18.86 million during the weekend and Moana should easily beat that. I don’t think 2016 will come out ahead, but it also shouldn’t be a disaster either.
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 15th, 2016
The weekend box office was better than anticipated, thanks mostly to Remembrance Day. Doctor Strange fell less than 50%, which is stunning for a big blockbuster like this. Trolls held on even better and Arrival had a surprisingly strong opening weekend. Granted, the overall box office still dropped by 18% to $158 million, but some drop-off is unavoidable the weekend after a blockbuster release. This was 46% higher than the same weekend last year and that is a lot more important. Year-to-date, 2016 has earned $9.49 billion, putting it 5.7% or $510 million ahead of last year’s pace.
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
Arrival earned an impressive $1.45 million during its previews last night. This is a little more than the $1.4 million Gravity earned this time in 2013. Granted, midnight shows were not as ubiquitous as they are now, but I still think this is a positive sign. Its reviews should help its legs and while our prediction was a little more bullish than most, I’m a little more confident now.
November 10th, 2016
There are a trio of new releases coming out this week, but none of them are expected to challenge for top spot. Arrival is earning stellar reviews, but it is also being released by Paramount and they’ve had a terrible year. Almost Christmas is a Christmas movie aimed at African-Americans. It should do well enough to become a financial success, but it won’t be a major player at the box office. Then there’s Shut In, which is barely opening wide and will very likely miss the top five. It might miss the Mendoza Line. This will leave Doctor Strange with an easy first place, while Trolls should remain in second. This weekend last year, the new releases were pitiful. The best earned less than $10 million. If 2016 doesn’t win in the year-over-year comparison, then we are in serious trouble.
November 4th, 2016
There are three widish releases next week, but none of them are opening at a saturation level theater count. In fact, none of them are coming close. Arrival will very likely be the biggest of the three new releases, but it will fall behind Doctor Strange’s sophomore stint. Its estimated theater count is so small it might even open below Trolls. Almost Christmas is looking to become a solid midlevel hit, while Shut In is just praying for a spot in the top five. Because Arrival is expected to do the best, it is 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 Arrival.
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 a previously reviewed full-season TV on DVD release, two previously reviewed movies, or three single-disc kids DVDs.
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 consisting of a previously reviewed full-season TV on DVD release, two previously reviewed movies, or three single-disc kids DVDs.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will win the final Frankenprize, as described above.
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.