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2017 Preview: November

November 1st, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

October wasn’t a good month; then again, outside of a few bright spots, the overall box office has been a disaster since early summer. I would love to say November will turn things around, but, while it should be better, in this case “better” is a relative term. There are two films on this list with a chance at $300 million, Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League, while Coco is nearly a guarantee for $200 million. By comparison, last November had a similar result with three films earning between $200 million and $300 million, but none topping that figure. This means, if Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League both get to that milestone, then 2017 could cut into 2016’s lead during the month. It will still take a minor miracle for 2017 to catch up in the end, but just cutting the lead in half by the end of December would be a reason to celebrate at this point.

Weekend of November 3rd, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

The first weekend of November is looking fantastic. Thor: Ragnarok will dominate the box office and some think it will will earn a spot in the top five biggest November weekends of all time. Meanwhile, A Bad Moms Christmas is hoping to succeed where too many other comedy sequels failed. Even low end expectations have it becoming a midlevel hit as counter-programming. They are competing with Doctor Strange, Trolls, and Hacksaw Ridge, which earned close to $150 million combined this weekend last year. I think this year’s new releases will come close to last years, but the holdovers will make sure 2017 loses in the year-over-year comparison.

A Bad Moms Christmas

A Bad Moms Christmas
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: BadMomsXmas.com/
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Release Date: November 1st, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Christmas, Dysfunctional Family, Generational Conflict, Christmas in November
Directed By: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Written By: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at between $20 million and $30 million
Box Office Potential: $70 million

The first Bad Moms movie earned over $100 million domestically and nearly $200 million worldwide. And it did so on just a $20 million budget. No one is surprised it is getting a sequel; however, historical trends strongly suggest it will struggle at the box office compared to the original. Comedy sequels rarely do as well as their predecessors did. There are numerous recent examples, like Boo! 2, Neighbors 2, and Zoolander 2, as all failed to match the first film. I could go on, and I will, Vacation, Magic Mike XXL, and Horrible Bosses 2, and those are all in the last three years. Fortunately, while I think A Bad Moms Christmas will fall nearly 40% compared to the original, it only needs about $100 million worldwide to break even during its home market run and that is a milestone it should be able to reach.

On a side note, this is the first of three or four Christmas movies opening wide out this month. Fortunately, since it is the first, it won’t be negatively effected by the competition, but by the end of the month, moviegoers could be sick of Christmas movies.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Movies.Disney.com/Thor-Ragnarok
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: November 3rd, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.
Source: Based on Comic/Graphic Novel
Genre: Action
Keywords: Marvel Comics, Norse Mythology, Gods and Goddesses, End of the World, Prophecy, Underworld, Gladiators
Directed By: Taika Waititi
Written By: Stephany Folsom, Craig Kyle, Christopher L. Yost, Stephany Folsom
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $180 million to $200 million
Box Office Potential: $275 million

Thor: Ragnarok is the third film in the Thor franchise and the 17th film in the MCU. The Thor films have widely been seen as the weakest link in the MCU, but that might change with this film. Ragnarok has been released in a number of major international markets and we have a lot of reviews to look at and so far the results are stunning. The film’s Tomatometer Score is 96% positive, while its average score is 7.7 out of 10. Granted, 7.7 isn’t award-worthy, but it is still stellar for a blockbuster. In fact, a lot of people are saying this is the best super hero movie of the year. As for its box office chances, it is topping Doctor Strange during its early international run and tracking has it opening with between $100 million and $125 million. On the downside, Justice League opens just two-weeks later and while the DCEU’s track record with critics is bad, it has had a lot of success at the box office. The direct competition is going to hurt both films at the box office. That said, I think Thor: Ragnarok will still be a massive hit at the box office and has a slim shot at $300 million domestically.

Last Minute Update: The film’s reviews have slipped a point to 7.6 out of 10, but this is still fantastic for a blockbuster. Meanwhile, it started its international run with $107.6 million. To put this into perspective, it was expected to earn between $85 million and $100 million. This is over 20% better than Doctor Strange earned in the same markets during its openings and 4% more than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. I’m tempted to bump my prediction past $300 million, but I would rather be pleasantly surprised than get suckered by hype yet again this year.

Weekend of November 10th, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

The second weekend of November has two films, both of which have a shot at $100 million. Daddy’s Home earned just a hair over $150 million domestically, so Daddy’s Home 2 would have to lose over 33% to fail to reach $100 million. Unfortunately, this seems likely. The second wide release of the week is Murder on the Orient Express, which is a remake / re-adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most famous stories. It is also a murder mystery movie that depends on a surprise twist, so I’m not sure how well it will work. If the filmmakers managed to pull it off, it could earn $100 million domestically. This week’s new releases will very likely top last year’s new releases. Sadly, last year’s holdover will very likely be better than this year’s holdovers resulting in a small loss for 2017 in the year-over-year comparison.

Daddy’s Home 2

Daddy’s Home 2
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: DaddysHomeMovie.com
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: November 10th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive material and some language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Step-Family, Dysfunctional Family, Christmas, Christmas in November
Directed By: Sean Anders
Written By: Sean Anders, John Morris
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $70 million to $90 million
Box Office Potential: $95 million

Daddy’s Home earned just over $150 million domestically during its run in 2015, so no one should be surprised the studio wanted to make a sequel. However, the film also earned terrible reviews and this could really hurt Daddy’s Home 2’s box office chances. Furthermore, as I mentioned above, comedy sequels tend to struggle at the box office. I’m not saying this film will bomb; in fact, I think it has a real shot at $100 million. It just won’t live up to its predecessor and won’t do well enough to justify a third installment in the Daddy’s Home franchise.

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/Murder-on-the-Orient-Express
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 10th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and thematic elements.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Trains, Murder Mystery, Remake, Ensemble, Surprise Twist, 1930s
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh
Written By: Michael Green, Agatha Christie
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $70 million to $90 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million

Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this adaptation of what is arguably Agatha Christie’s most popular murder mystery. The popularity of the book is both a blessing and a curse. A lot of people love this book and could be interested in seeing a great adaptation of the story. However, nearly everyone who is in the target audience knows the surprise twist in the book, even if they haven’t actually read the book. The star power in the movie and an effective trailer, should help it at the box office. Additionally, it opens just two weeks before Thanksgiving and I think it could be a film that adults will want to go see while the kids are watching Coco. I think it has a shot at $100 million domestically, but it is a long shot to get to that milestone.

Weekend of November 17th, 2017

Justice League

The third weekend of the month is technically the busiest weekend of the month. Justice League should be the fastest opening film of the month and has a good shot at being the biggest hit of November as well. Meanwhile, the other two releases, The Star and Wonder, are just hoping to not be buried by the competition. This weekend last year, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them dominated the box office with nearly $75 million. Even the very low end of expectations has Justice League crushing that. On the high end, the film could earn almost as much as the top five earned last year. 2017 will put up a solid win in the year-over-year comparison. On a side note, Roman J. Israel, Esq is opening in limited release this week with a supposed November 22nd expansion. However, its early reviews are mixed and the buzz is surprisingly quiet. I’m not convinced it will expand truly wide.

Justice League

Justice League
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: JusticeLeagueTheMovie.com
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: November 17th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Source: Based on Comic/Graphic Novel
Genre: Action
Keywords: Ensemble, D.C. Comics, Cyborg, End of the World, Secret Identity, Surprise Twist
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $200 million to $250 million
Box Office Potential: $305 million

This is the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe. So far, the previous four films have earned just over $3 billion worldwide, but only one of them, Wonder Woman, has earned good reviews. Warner Bros. is so troubled by the critical failings of the DCEU that they’ve replaced the people at the top and there’s rumors that they are planning on using the The Flash movie, now called Flashpoint movie to blow up the continuity and start again, while being able to keep all of the elements that are working now.

(In the comics, The Flash can run so fast he can jump between dimensions. We’ve seen this happen in the Arrowverse TV show a few times. Flashpoint was a run in the DC Comics where they blew up the old continuity, killed a bunch of characters, and kept fan favorites, regardless of the universe they belonged to. ... Comics are weird. There is a chance Warner Bros. will use Flashpoint to kill off / recast characters that aren’t working, while keeping the parts of the DCEU that are working. Hey, if it works, I’ll be very happy for them.)

How much they blow up depends on how well Justice League does with critics and moviegoers. It won’t need to match Wonder Woman in either regard to be a success. It will need at least overall positive reviews and a $100 million opening weekend. If it is a financial success, but a critical failure, the franchise will lose the good will Wonder Woman generated. It’s too soon to tell how well it will do with critics, but financially, it is expected to open with close to $125 million and is the November release most likely to top $300 million. This is assuming its reviews are at least mixed and not a disaster like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The Star

The Star
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheStarmovie.com
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Release Date: November 17th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements.
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Faith-Based, Animal Lead, Talking Animals, Christmas, Christmas in November, Religious
Directed By: Timothy Reckart
Written By: Carlos Kotkin, Carlos Kotkin, Simon Moore
Starring: Steven Yeun
Production Budget: $18 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million

I’m not bullish when it comes to this film’s box office chances. It is a third-tier animated movie opening just five days before the latest Pixar release. On the other hand, it is a Christmas release opening the week before Thanksgiving. If it does well enough to stay in theaters until the start of the new year, it could double my prediction above. Or it could fail to make an impact during its opening weekend, get crushed by Coco five days later, and be nearly out of theaters when The Last Jedi opens in mid-December.

Wonder

Wonder
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Wonder.movie
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: November 17th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements including bullying, and some mild language.
Source: Based on Factual Book/Article
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Family Affair, Development Hell, Birth Defects, Bullies, Home Schooled, Coming of Age
Directed By: Stephen Chbosky
Written By: Steve Conrad, R.J. Palacio
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $10 million to $20 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

This film was originally set for an April release, but was pushed back till November in February. On the one hand, November is in the heart of Awards Season, so if the film earns award-worthy reviews, then it could be a solid midlevel hit. On the other hand, the film is going up against intense competition and could be lost in the crowd. Sadly, I think the latter is more likely than the former.

Weekend of November 24th, 2017

Coco

The final weekend of the month is Thanksgiving weekend. This is one of the best weekends of the year, but it is usually smarter to open the weekend before rather than Thanksgiving weekend itself. As a result, there’s only one film I’m certain will open wide this week, Coco. There’s a chance this film will only manage second place during its opening, but will still be in wide release at the beginning of 2018. Its legs could be this long. There are a few other films that some sources say are opening wide this week. Polaroid is one of those films, but it was pushed back to December 1st and is likely only opening semi-wide. Both The Man Who Invented Christmas and Darkest Hour are both opening this week, but they appear to be opening semi-wide or nationwide, not truly wide. Perhaps if they can earn some Awards Season buzz, they will do well enough to expand, but I wouldn’t be willing to bet on that. This weekend last year, Moana earned first place with $57 million / $82 million over the weekend. I don’t think Coco will match that, but it will come close enough to be a hit.

Coco

Coco
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Movies.Disney.com/Coco
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: November 22nd, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements.
Source: Based on Folk Tale/Legend/Fairytale
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Mexico, Underworld, Supernatural, Musicians, Friendly Ghost, Hauntings, Animal Lead
Directed By: Lee Unkrich
Written By: Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated between $175 million and $200 million
Box Office Potential: $225 million

For a long time, Pixar was unstoppable, both with critics and at the box office. It wasn’t until Cars 2 that they released a film that wasn’t at least liked by most critics, but it still made money in theaters. However, two of their last three films failed to earn a profit at the box office. This film’s early reviews are great and the film earned a stunning $9.2 million in Mexico this past weekend. This is the best opening for an original IP animated film, so that’s a good sign. On the other hand, the film is set in Mexico, so that undoubtedly helped its box office in that market and we should be a little more cautious here. I don’t think it will match Moana, but it should come close.

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Coco, The Star, Justice League, Wonder, Thor: Ragnarok, Murder on the Orient Express, Darkest Hour, The Man Who Invented Christmas, A Bad Moms Christmas, Daddy’s Home 2, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor, DC Extended Universe, Daddy’s Home, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, Sean Anders, Christine Baranski, Kristen Bell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Idris Elba, Will Ferrell, Josh Gad, Gal Gadot, Jeff Goldblum, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cheryl Hines, Anthony Hopkins, Mila Kunis, John Lithgow, John Morris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Zack Snyder, Karl Urban, Owen Wilson, Tessa Thompson, Lee Unkrich, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Ezra Miller, Michael Green, Jason Momoa, Craig Kyle, Taika Waititi, Chris Terrio, Leslie Odom Jr., Stephen Chbosky, Simon Moore, Jacob Tremblay, Christopher L. Yost, Steve Conrad, Steven Yeun, Carlos Kotkin, Agatha Christie, R.J. Palacio, Daisy Ridley, Timothy Reckart, Stephany Folsom, Ray Fisher, Adrian Molina, Anthony Gonzalez
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