January 15th, 2017
A pile-up at the box office this weekend will leave a crush of new releases behind Hidden Figures and La La Land, which remain the top two films at the box office. Hidden Figures will be down just 10% (in part thanks to expanded distribution) to $20.45 million, for $54.8 million in total, as of Sunday evening. Fox is projecting a $25.3 million 4-day weekend for the film. La La Land is even more impressive, growing its box office by 43% and moving from fifth to second on the chart with $14.5 million, and $74.1 million to date. It’s record-breaking performance at the Golden Globes has clearly lifted it to another level with audiences.
January 13th, 2017
Patriots Day earned $560,000 from 2,000 theaters during its Thursday previews. This is less than half of what Hidden Figures made last week. Worse still, Patriots Day’s target audience should be more likely to go see a film’s previews than Hidden Figures’ target audience would be. That said, it is still a holiday weekend and it should bounce back over the next few days. I think it will miss our predictions, but it should come close with about $19 million.
January 12th, 2017
Six films are opening or expanding this weekend, which have a shot at the top ten. However, only one of them, Patriots Day, has a real shot at first place. In fact, it might be the only “new” film in the top five. The biggest wide release of the week is Monster Trucks, which is opening in 2,800 theaters. I didn’t see that coming. [Ed.: The final announced theater count for Monster Trucks is an even more impressive 3,119] Meanwhile, Sleepless is only opening in 1,800 theaters, while Silence is expanding into 750 theaters. We still haven’t mentioned all of the new films. As for holdovers, Hidden Figures has a real shot at first place, while La La Land should get a boost from its Awards Season success. This weekend last year, Ride Along 2 opened with just over $35 million over the three-day weekend. There’s no film that will match that figure during the four-day weekend. On the positive side, there were only four films that earned more than $10 million during the three-day weekend and this year we should have five. That’s not enough to win in the year-over-year competition. It likely won’t even be close.
January 5th, 2017
Next weekend, six films are opening or expanding wide, sort of. Six films opening or expanding wide is far too many for one weekend and it looks like two of the three expansions will only be semi-wide, while two of the three wide releases will open barely wide. This leaves Patriots Day and Sleepless as the only two real contenders for the target film in this week’s box office prediction contest. I’m going with Patriots Day even though it is technically expanding wide, because it has the clear advantage at the box office. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Patriots Day.
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 The Ultimate Legacy on DVD.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film’s opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will 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!
January 1st, 2017
December box office numbers helped 2016 end on ... a note. The good news and the bad news almost exactly balance out. On the one hand, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will finish the year with more than $400 million after just 16 days of release. That’s a stunning amount of money that helped 2016 earn a record box office at the domestic market. However, Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $650 million during December of 2015, so the month lost a lot of its lead over 2015, so much so that ticket sales fell behind last year’s total. The weakness at the end of the year will spill over into 2017, which is terrible news. A slow start could result in the dominant box office story being 2017 struggles compared to 2016. Bad news like this can sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sadly, 2017 is also going to get off to a slow start when it comes to wide releases / expansions. There are 16 films scheduled to open or expand wide this month and none of them are expected to get to $100 million. It is likely none of them will even get very close. xXx: Return of Xander Cage is expected to be the best of a weak bunch, but I could see it getting beat by one of the five Oscar contenders opening wide this month, if it gets off to a slow start and one of the Oscar contenders starts picking up steam. Hidden Figures got off to a great start on Christmas Day and should it continue to earn Awards Season recognition, including some Oscar nominations, it could be in wide release well into February. Last January wasn’t as busy with 13 films opening or expanding wide over five weeks. Of these, two of them, The Revenant and Kung Fu Panda 3, topped $100 million domestically, while another, Ride Along 2, came close. 2017 is going to get destroyed in the year-over-year comparison.