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Weekend Predictions: Will Rogue Awaken the Box Office?

December 15th, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

It is a deceptively busy weekend, as there are two wide releases, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Collateral Beauty, and two films that are “expanding wide”, Manchester by the Sea and La La Land. However, while that looks like a lot, in reality Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the only film most people are talking about. In fact, it is going to dominate the box office to such a degree that its only real competition is The Force Awakens, which opened this weekend last year. Unfortunately for Rogue One, there’s almost no chance it will match The Force Awakens. In fact, there’s almost no chance the entire box office will match the $247.97 million The Force Awakens opened with. 2016 is going to get crushed in the year-over-year comparison. That said, 2016 has a nearly $460 million lead over 2015, so has long as Rogue One tops $100 million over the weekend, it should be enough to keep 2016 ahead in terms of raw box office numbers.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, but the first that doesn’t directly tie in with the overall plot of the main franchise. Obviously the plots are connected and Darth Vader, Mon Mothma, and others are in the movie, but we don’t directly follow the three leads from A New Hope. Because of this, the film is a bit of a risk. Audiences could have been turned off by this. That appears to not be the case, as Fandango is reporting this film has the best pre-orders of the year and the second best of all time, behind The Force Awakens. Furthermore, the film’s reviews are among the best for a wide releases this year and are currently 84% positive. This isn’t as good as Doctor Strange, for example, but better than Fantastic Beasts. As for its box office chances, anything less than $120 million will be seen as a surprise. On the other, I don’t think it will come close to Civil War’s opening, or even BvS. I think it will earn just over $140 million during its opening weekend. Let’s go with $143 million to be more precise.

Moana should earn second place over the weekend. Its reviews will help it hold on in the face of Rogue One and the start of the winter break means families will be seeing it throughout the next two weeks. During this weekend in its run, Frozen managed $19.64 million, while Tangled pulled in $8.78 million. I think the lower end is more likely and I’m going with $11 million over the weekend and just over $160 million in total.

Collateral Beauty is a film about loss and love that tries to be uplifting. Instead, it is being described as unintentionally funny by some critics. I was never expecting this to be an award-worthy film, but I was expecting overall positive reviews. Right now it is battling to get to 20% positive. It could also be in a fight to top $10 million over the weekend. I think it will get there, but barely.

Office Christmas Party won’t be quite as lucky, earning just under $10 million over the weekend. It’s the only true comedy in the top ten, so there’s not a lot of direct competition. On the other hand, its reviews are only 43% positive. It is on pace to be a solid midlevel hit and will break even sometime during its home market run. It depends on how well it does internationally. Comedy rarely translates well, it is it expected to earn less internationally than domestically. Anything above $100 million worldwide will result in breaking even during its initial push into the home market run. Anything less and it will have to hope to become Christmas tradition for some and be streamed or rented on VOD Christmas after Christmas.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will round out the top five with between $5 million and $6 million.

Manchester by the Sea is “expanding wide” this weekend. The reason for the scare quotes is simple. In this case, “wide” means barely more than 1,200 theaters. The film’s recent Awards Season Success should help it at the box office, perhaps enough to grab fifth place with just over $5 million. I think sixth place with just under $5 million is more likely.

The final “wide” expansion is La La Land, but in this case, “wide” means just 200 theaters. That’s not even semi-wide. That’s barely select cities. On the other hand, the film’s reviews are 95% positive and it is picking up a lot of major nominations so far this Awards Season. Assuming it manages to remain in the $10,000 club on the theater average chart, then it will grab tenth place with $2 million. It could theoretically double that, but I think just over $3 million is more likely. This is still a fantastic result and will allow it to expand significantly over the coming weeks.

- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Comparisons
- Collateral Beauty Comparisons
- Manchester by the Sea Comparisons
- La La Land Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Moana, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Doctor Strange, Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Collateral Beauty, Office Christmas Party, Star Wars, James Earl Jones, Genevieve O'Reilly
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