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Weekend Estimates: Coco Wins, Limited Releases on Fire

December 3rd, 2017


The weekend after Thanksgiving is usually when the studios take a breather before the big Christmas season, and this year is no different, with no new wide releases, and relatively minor shuffles on screen use at the theaters. It’s therefore little surprise that Coco holds on at the top of the chart, and its strong reviews and season-friendly nature help it to extend its lead over Justice League. Coco is headed towards $26.114 million this weekend, according to Disney, for $109 million or so to date. That’s down 49% from last weekend. Justice League, meanwhile, drops a more troubling 60% to $16.58 million, for $197 million after three weekends.

More exciting action lies among the limited and expanding releases, however…

First, two films have now firmly established themselves as members of the top ten. Lady Bird is projected to earn another $4.54 million this weekend for A24, taking it to $17 million in total after five weekends. It is already the distributor’s fourth-highest grossing movie, and looks likely to challenge Moonlight as their best performer—that film earned $27.85 million in the end, as well as a Best Picture Oscar, of course. We can’t rule out Lady Bird doing the same at this point.

The second limited release firmly ensconced in the upper reaches of the chart is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which officially went into wide release this weekend, and is projected to earn $4.53 million, for a total of $13.67 million by the end of the weekend. It is arguably doing slightly worse than Lady Bird at this point, but certainly has the legs and the buzz to continue its run into the heart of awards season.

In addition to the two limited-releases-become-wide-releases, there are no less than five still-limited-releases lighting up theaters this weekend with theater averages over $20,000. Three of those are producing truly standout numbers. The Disaster Artist is earning the most in total, with $1.22 million projected for the weekend from just 19 theaters, for an average of $64,254 per location. Call Me By Your Name is headed for $281,280 from four locations, for an average of $70,320 in its second weekend. And The Shape of Water is starting out with $167,000 from two theaters, for the weekend’s best average of $83,500. All three films are essentially selling out all shows in the theaters in which they’re playing. All three will clearly expand significantly. The question is whether they cross over to reach mainstream audiences.

Of the three, The Shape of Water has the clearest path to earning a significant amount at the box office. Fox Searchlight has been down this path many times before, with films like Juno and Black Swan, which opened on this weekend in 2007 and 2010 respectively, going on to earn over $100 million at the domestic box office. And, of course, Guillermo del Toro is one of the world’s leading directors, with a track record of making films like this that break out (most notably 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth). It has a long way to go.

The Disaster Artist feels like too much of an inside joke to be likely to play well across all audiences. It could play more like A24’s other acquired-taste movies Swiss Army Man and The Lobster, which topped out at $4 million and $9 million respectively. Disaster Artist might do more, but $20 million seems like a stretch, even with this monster opening.

Call My By Your Name looks like this year’s Moonlight, both in terms of its subject matter (even though it’s a very different film), its awards ambitions, and its likely release trajectory. Sony Classics has only ever had three films top $30 million at the box office so doing much more than that would be a remarkable achievement, but it is a possibility at this stage.

Two other films will earn more than $20,000 per theater this weekend. Wonder Wheel, from Amazon Studios is set for about $140,000 from five movie theaters, and Darkest Hour will make around $109,000 from four in its second weekend. On almost any other weekend of the year, those would be the hottest things on the market. Even with the other blockbusters out there, they are worth watching out for over the weeks to come. Darkest Hour in particular might start gathering momentum around Gary Oldman’s Oscar-worthy performance as Winston Churchill.

- Weekend estimates
- Biggest 3-day Thanksgiving openings
- Pixar box office history
- DC Extended Universe franchise history
- Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise history

- Coco Comparisons
- Justice League Comparisons
- Wonder Comparisons
- Thor: Ragnarok Comparisons
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- The Star Comparisons
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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Coco, Justice League, The Disaster Artist, Darkest Hour, Call Me by Your Name, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, Wonder Wheel, Lady Bird, Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Extended Universe, Gary Oldman, Guillermo del Toro