Over the holidays, Ned, an overprotective but loving dad and his family visit his daughter at Stanford, where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird. The straight-laced Ned thinks Laird, who has absolutely no filter, is a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter. The one-sided rivalry-and Ned's panic level-escalate when he finds himself increasingly out of step in the glamorous high-tech hub, and learns that Laird is about to pop the question.
It’s a good week for Pick of the Week contenders, as there are seven such releases on this week’s list. Unfortunately, none of them really scream out as The Pick of the Week. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is by far the biggest, but it is only out on Video on Demand right now, while Hidden Figures is the best, but again, it is only on VOD this week. There are also a couple of busted Oscar-bait films, Archer: Season Seven is only getting a DVD release, while the previous seasons came out on Blu-ray. In the end, I went with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXVIII, partially to celebrate the return of the show.
The final weekend of the year wasn’t as potent as we had predicted, but there were still a number of reasons to celebrate. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story won the weekend and is on its way to becoming the biggest hit of the year. Sing was relatively close behind and will get to $200 million this upcoming weekend. Overall, the box office rose by 2.9% from last weekend hitting $186 million. This is 15% lower than the same weekend last year, which again was actually the first weekend of 2016. We need to switch to the Strowbrinian Calendar. I’m not kidding about this. As for the year-over-year comparison, that’s a little confusing. If you just look at the calender years, then 2016 broke the record earning $11.4 billion. However, the movie year actually begins the first Monday of the year and ends the final Sunday before the first Monday of the next year. Going by this definition of the year, 2016 actually just failed to overtake 2015, because we lost a few days of The Force Awakens and only got one extra day of Rogue One.
The weekend after Christmas Day is usually a boring weekend with no wide releases to speak of. On the other hand, we do have a monster hit to keep track of, as well as some Awards Season hopefuls that are expanding significantly and could make the top ten. Of course, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will win this weekend and it should in fact grow from last weekend, because Christmas Eve is a dead zone at the box office. Likewise, Sing should grow even better, as it is the last weekend for families to hit theaters before school starts. Some of the other films that debuted last week are not looking so good. This weekend last year was actually the first weekend of 2016, which makes it harder to compare the two weekends. Again, we need to switch to the Strowbrinian Calendar that I mentioned at the end of the December Preview. The Force Awakens earned just over $90 million and while Rogue One won’t match that, it should be closer than most were expecting.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story grew by 12% to $16.77 million on Thursday for a first-week total of $222.00 million. This shows that it was hit by new releases on Wednesday, at least a little bit. It is impossible to compare this day to The Force Awakens, because this day in its run was Christmas Eve. For the record though, The Force Awakens fell by 28% to $27.40 million on that day and had pulled in $390.86 million during the same time period.
This week is an utter mess when it comes to new releases. There are five films opening or expanding wide this week, three of them opening on Wednesday. Assassin’s Creed, Passengers, and Sing are all trying to get a head start on the weekend, while Why Him? debuts on Friday. Finally, Fences is expected to expand wide on Sunday, Christmas Day, but we’ve seen recently that “wide expansion” isn’t a meaningful term when studios use it. None of these films are expected to top Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or even come close. Comparing this weekend to the same weekend last year is nearly impossible, because Christmas Eve lands on Saturday this year and Christmas Eve is a dead zone at the box office, while last year it landed on the Thursday, which is the best day of the week for optimal box office numbers. On the other hand, Monday is Boxing Day, which is a holiday for some. It doesn’t balance out, but fortunately 2016 still has a substantial lead over 2015, so even a really bad weekend won’t put 2016 behind.
There are five films opening wide next week. Of these, Why Him? could be the smallest film of the week, but it is also the only film opening on Friday. That makes it less than an ideal target film, but the best we have this week. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Why Him?
Also... it’s Christmas time. And that means we have lumps to coal to give out, although not literally. Two of the three winners will receive either two previously reviewed movies or one TV on DVD release pulled randomly from the prize pool. The third will receive a lump of coal, a movie / TV show on HD-DVD. I doubt anyone reading this still has a working HD-DVD player hooked up.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will be one of the potential winners.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also be one of the potential winners
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will be the final potential winners
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
November was good, but not great. Fortunately, 2016 had a large enough lead going into November that the month only needed to be good. In fact, it could have been mediocre and 2016 would have still had an excellent shot to end the year above 2015. As for December, it’s a race between Star Wars and Star Wars. Almost no one thinks Rogue One is going to match The Force Awakens, but if Rogue One earns just half of what The Force Awakens managed, then 2016 will come out on top in the year-over-year comparison. There are only two other films with a better than 50/50 chance of hitting $100 million, Passengers and Sing. Either one could earn second place for the month, but Passengers will likely start faster. Last December, the only other film to earn more than $100 million was Daddy’s Home, which earned just a hair over $150 million. There’s a chance both Passengers and Sing will earn more than $150 million, which would be a boon to the box office. However, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was just too strong last year and it would take a miracle for 2016 to have a stronger December. That said, it would take a complete collapse for 2016 not to top 2015 in raw dollars. The growth might not be enough to keep pace with ticket price inflation, on the other hand.
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