January 1st, 2017
December box office numbers helped 2016 end on ... a note. The good news and the bad news almost exactly balance out. On the one hand, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will finish the year with more than $400 million after just 16 days of release. That’s a stunning amount of money that helped 2016 earn a record box office at the domestic market. However, Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $650 million during December of 2015, so the month lost a lot of its lead over 2015, so much so that ticket sales fell behind last year’s total. The weakness at the end of the year will spill over into 2017, which is terrible news. A slow start could result in the dominant box office story being 2017 struggles compared to 2016. Bad news like this can sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sadly, 2017 is also going to get off to a slow start when it comes to wide releases / expansions. There are 16 films scheduled to open or expand wide this month and none of them are expected to get to $100 million. It is likely none of them will even get very close. xXx: Return of Xander Cage is expected to be the best of a weak bunch, but I could see it getting beat by one of the five Oscar contenders opening wide this month, if it gets off to a slow start and one of the Oscar contenders starts picking up steam. Hidden Figures got off to a great start on Christmas Day and should it continue to earn Awards Season recognition, including some Oscar nominations, it could be in wide release well into February. Last January wasn’t as busy with 13 films opening or expanding wide over five weeks. Of these, two of them, The Revenant and Kung Fu Panda 3, topped $100 million domestically, while another, Ride Along 2, came close. 2017 is going to get destroyed in the year-over-year comparison.
March 1st, 2016
It's March 1st, which is not only the beginning of the month, but also Super Tuesday. If you are not American and don't pay attention to American politics, Super Tuesday is sort of like the Oscar night of the primary season. I was going to write about my predictions, but it looks like the race is about to be over. On the Republicans side, if Trump gets more than 50% of the delegates, then he has won. It will be too late to stop him. If he gets less than 40%, then it becomes a real race again. If the polling is correct, then he will get closer to 50% than 40%. On the Democratic side, Sanders needs at least 45% of the delegates, or it is over for him. Anything less than that and Hillary Clinton will have too big a lead to overcome. If the South Carolina result is an indicator, Hillary Clinton could get two-thirds of the delegates awarded tonight.
As for the box office, February was amazing, thanks to Deadpool's record-breaking opening and better than expected legs. The month ended with 2016 being nearly 4% higher than 2015's pace. Additionally, there are some big releases coming out this month with both Zootopia and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looking to get more than $200 million, while Allegiant should hit $100 million. Last March, there were also three films that earned more than $100 million, but only one $200 million hit, Cinderella. It should be a really close race between 2016 and 2015.