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Weekend Predictions: Will Xander’s Return Result in Box Office Dominance?

January 19th, 2017

Split

It is a deceptively busy week with five films opening or expanding wide. At least that’s what the dsitributors are saying. In reality, there are only two truly wide releases, xXx: Return of Xander Cage and Split. There is also one semi-wide release, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, as well as two semi-wide expansions, The Founder and 20th Century Women. Return of Xander Cage and Split are the only two of the films that have a shot at the top ten and they could be in a close race for first place. This weekend last year, there were three wide releases, but none of them made significantly more than $10 million at the box office. The biggest film of the weekend, The Revenant, earned just $16.01 million. 2017 could finally win in the year-over-year comparison.

Split is looking like it will come out on top at the box office this week. Its presales on Fandango are the best of the week, just ahead of xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Additionally, its reviews are overwhelmingly positive. It’s not on par with the myriad of Oscar contenders in theaters, but it is certainly good enough to please mainstream audiences. On the other hand, M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t had a monster hit in 15 years. It could open as well The Visit did in 2015, but the competition wasn’t as deep when that film opened. I’m expecting a $22 million opening weekend, which is still a great start for this time of year.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage should be close behind, but its box office chances are not as potent as they were at the beginning of the month. Firstly, there are a lot more films in theaters to deal with. Secondly, its buzz hasn’t grown like I anticipated. These two issues are related. On the positive side, the film’s reviews are in the overall positive level, so that should be a selling point. Granted, it is close and we are still early, so it wouldn’t take many negative reviews to change its score. There’s almost no chance this film will live up to the original; in fact, I don’t think it will get halfway there. Look for a second place opening with $21 million over the weekend. I expect it to be a bigger hit internationally.

Hidden Figures is continuing its run for $100 million. The film will add about $13 million this weekend, pushing its running tally to just over $80 million. It will take a couple of more weeks to get to the century mark, but it will get there.

La La Land will also get to the century mark and will do so a little faster. This weekend, it will earn about $11 million for a total of $92 million. Assuming it picks up more than a few Oscar nods on the 24th, it will get to $100 million the following weekend.

Sing and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be in a relatively close race for fifth place with Sing earning just over $8 million and Rogue One earning just under $8 million.

None of the rest of the “new” films have a real shot at the top ten, but we should probably mention them. The Founder could potentially earn a spot in the top five with $5 million or so. Its reviews are 83% positive and its buzz isn’t bad. However, there are two factors holding it back. Firstly, it was clearly made to win Oscars and it hasn’t made a peep during Awards Season. Secondly, it is being released by Weinstein Co. and the distributor is on a year-long losing streak. This film could open below the Mendoza Line. I’m choosing to be more optimistic than that, but I still think it will miss the top ten with $4 million.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is only opening in approximately 900 and with almost no reviews. It is also a faith-based film and as long-time readers will know, faith-based films are notoriously difficult to predict. The distributor is just hoping for $3 million, but that doesn’t seem likely. In fact, missing the Mendoza Line might be more likely and that would leave the film with about $1.5 million over the weekend.

Finally, there’s 20th Century Women, which is expanding wide, at least according to the distributor. However, it looks like their definition of “wide” is closer to what Silence managed last weekend. This should still give it about $2 million over the weekend. This isn’t bad for a limited release, but it deserves better.

- xXx: Return of Xander Cage Comparisons
- Split Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Silence, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Founder, Sing, La La Land, 20th Century Women, Split, Hidden Figures, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, M. Night Shyamalan