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Weekend Predictions: Will Any New Release Arrive on Top?

November 10th, 2016


There are a trio of new releases coming out this week, but none of them are expected to challenge for top spot. Arrival is earning stellar reviews, but it is also being released by Paramount and they’ve had a terrible year. Almost Christmas is a Christmas movie aimed at African-Americans. It should do well enough to become a financial success, but it won’t be a major player at the box office. Then there’s Shut In, which is barely opening wide and will very likely miss the top five. It might miss the Mendoza Line. This will leave Doctor Strange with an easy first place, while Trolls should remain in second. This weekend last year, the new releases were pitiful. The best earned less than $10 million. If 2016 doesn’t win in the year-over-year comparison, then we are in serious trouble.

Despite earning 90% positive reviews, Doctor Strange is expected to suffer a steep decline this weekend. It’s the Fanboy effect and not even the Marvel Cinematic Universe is immune to that. A 50% drop-off is the best the film can hope for, while falling 60% isn’t out of the question. I think the lack of prime competition will help, but I still think it will dip to just under $40 million during its sophomore stint.

Trolls should hold up better, because it is a family film and those tend to have better legs. Best case scenario has the film earning $28 million over the weekend, but $26 million is more likely. That still puts it on pace to cross $100 million domestically. In fact, it should top its $125 million production budget. As long as it can merely match this internationally, it will break even sooner rather than later.

Arrival is the best-reviewed new release of the week, but that sadly won’t mean much at the box office. Paramount is having a terrible year and that trend will likely continue, as the film is opening in barely more than 2,200 theaters. It might be able to top $10,000 on the theater average chart. It certainly has the reviews to do that. However, its buzz is much quieter than it should be, so $19 million is more likely.

Almost Christmas could earn third place, or it could bomb and fail to make the top five. Christmas films aimed at African-Americans can be as unpredictable as faith-based films. The early reviews have fallen to just 36% positive, which is bad, there’s no denying that. However, these films tend to be critic-proof. It is the widest release of the week, but it is still opening in just 2,372 theaters. I’m going with $15 million, but it could open below $10 million, or above $20 million. There is a lot of uncertainty here.

This is the weekend that makes or breaks Hacksaw Ridge. It is aimed at a more mature target audience and its reviews are 86% positive. Both of those factors should help it at the box office. On the high end, it drops less than 40% to just over $9 million, but I think just under $9 million is the safer bet. If I’m underestimating the film’s legs, then it could be a very profitable film.

The final wide release of the week is Shut In. At the beginning of the month, I said I wasn’t 100% sure it was going to open truly wide. It is, but barely, with a theater count of just 2,050. There’s only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is negative. The buzz is so quiet that is it widely expected to miss the top five with under $5 million. If is stumbles even a little bit from that, it will open below the Mendoza Line of $2,000 per theater.

- Arrival Comparisons
- Almost Christmas Comparisons
- Shut In Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Trolls, Doctor Strange, Shut In, Hacksaw Ridge, Arrival, Almost Christmas, Marvel Cinematic Universe