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Weekend Predictions: Will The New Releases Experience Any Joy?

December 23rd, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

There are five wide releases / wide expansions this week, none of which will even come close to Star Wars: The Force Awakens' second weekend of release. The rest of the box office combined won't come close to The Force Awakens' sophomore stint. It looks like Daddy's Home has the advantage for second place, while Joy should be close behind. The Big Short expands wide on Wednesday and its five-day total should be close to the previous two films' three-day totals. On the downside, it looks like both Concussion and Point Break will open on the outside of the top five. The Force Awakens will make more than the entire top ten made this weekend last year, so 2015 will end the year on a very positive note in the year-over-year comparison.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is looking to set a number of records over the weekend, the biggest of which is Biggest Second Weekend. The film could fall exactly 57% during its sophomore stint and still top that record. Since Christmas is on a Friday this year, that is highly unlikely. The last time Christmas landed on a Friday, Avatar slipped just 2%. That's also highly unlikely, sort of. Back in 2009, Thursday night previews were really not a thing. They happened, but very rarely. Now it is rare when a film doesn't have previews. If we were to strip the Thursday previews out of The Force Awakens weekend numbers, we are left with $190 million. It is possible the film will drop only 2% from that figure, giving it $186 million over the weekend. On the low end, anything lower than $140 million will be seen as a shocking drop-off, given the time of year. I think $170 million is the best bet, but I'm also worried that irrational exuberance has taken hold of me, after nearly a week of records being crushed. Anything more than $160 million will be reason to celebrate.

Daddy's Home stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, who previously made The Other Guys. That film earned 78% positive reviews and became a $100 million hit at the box office. I was expecting this film to earn about 60% positive reviews and for it to become a solid midlevel hit. Its reviews are 26% positive. That will hurt its box office chances, at least in the long run. In the short run, it still has the best short at second place with just over $17 million.

Joy was clearly made to win Oscars. You just need to look at David O'Russell's Awards Season success to figure that out. However, the critics haven't been overly kind to this movie and its reviews are hovering at the overall positive level. The cast is good and the buzz isn't bad, so it should still become a solid midlevel hit. Look for an opening weekend of $17 million, which might be enough for second place.

The best "new" release of the week is The Big Short. It expands wide tonight and with stellar reviews and early Awards Season success, it should do well at the box office. It could compete for second place over the three-day weekend, but $15 million / $19 million three-day / five-day box office is more likely.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip should round out the top five, also with about $15 million. It is a Family Film and this is Christmas weekend, so that should help. However, its reviews certainly won't.

The next new release is Concussion, which is another busted Oscar-bait movie. Like Joy, its reviews are good, but not close to award-worthy. Unlike Joy, its buzz is a little too quiet. Even just grabbing fifth place is unlikely, while opening with under $10 million is a possibility. Look for $12 million over the weekend.

Warner Bros. has been having a bad year and it looks like the Point Break remake will add to that misery. Its early reviews are all negative and the buzz is dominated by negative comparisons to the Point Break. Add in the competition and the film will likely earn less than $10 million over the weekend. It should come close with roughly $9 million, but that's a terrible start for a film that cost $100 million to make.

Related articles:
- International Box Office: The Force Awakens Sets Global Opening Record with $529 million
- Tuesday Record Falls to The Force Awakens with $37.3 million
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens Loves Mondays to the tune of $40.1 million
- Theater Averages: Star Wars Set Another Record with $59,982
- Weekend Wrap Up Box Office Breaks $300 million Mark
- Weekend Final Numbers: Star Wars Wreaks Havoc on Record Book
- Weekend Estimates: Force Awakens with Projected All Time Best 238 Million
- International Box Office: Star Wars Adds Germany to its Record Collection
- Analysis: Preview and Friday Numbers Point to $225 Million Weekend
- Star Wars is an Unstoppable Force
- Thursday Night Previews: Star Wars is Deadly to the Competition
- Star Wars Forces Its Way to the Top in United Kingdom
- Star Wars Starts Busting Records Around the World
- Weekend Predictions: How Big of a Force Will Star Wars be at the Box Office?
- Critics go Mad for The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Path to Avatars Three Titanic Records
- Eight Records Star Wars Needs to Break
- Six Records Star Wars is Certain to Break

Related pages:
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars franchise history
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens Recent Comparisons
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens All-Time Comparisons
- Theatrical Records

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Point Break, Joy, The Big Short, Concussion, Daddy’s Home, Star Wars, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, David O. Russell