Box Office Forecast: Frozen to lead the pack, but still fall short of Catching Fire; Black Nativity, Oldboy and Homefront open; Book Thief, Philomena expand

UPDATE 2: NUMBERS HAVE BEEN UPDATED SLIGHTLY. CHECK BELOW FOR THE UPDATED NUMBERS.
Hunger Games: Catching Fire, one of this year’s most anticipated movie, has already went global, which gives us one more big film to look out for- Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which isn’t going to be in your theaters till close to a month later. Meanwhile, this weekend, as we enter the quieter period before the Christmas season again, quite a number of films will enter the marketplace, in which only one of the films will prove to be a bit of a threat- Frozen, which will be released in an estimated 3600 theaters. Homefront will open in 2500 theaters, Black Nativity will open in 1500, The Book Thief will expand into 1000, while Oldboy and Philomena will be in 500 theaters (the latter is expanding). As it’s Thanksgiving, the numbers reflected below are for the full 5-day weekend, which starts on the 27th November, which is also a Wednesday.

This weekend last year saw Killing Them Softly opening to $6.8 million, being the only new offering for the weekend. First went to the final Twilight film, which continued having drops of 60% even in it’s third weekend, bringing it’s weekend gross to $17.4 million. This weekend will definitely earn back that figure like a piece of cake. However, that wouldn’t be quite a good comparison, considering last year’s Thanksgiving weekend fell a week earlier.

First place will definitely be heading for Hunger Games: Catching Fire this weekend, though it is likely to lose a large portion of it’s audience this weekend due to last week’s front-loadedness. Expect a drop somewhere in the 60-65%*65-70% range (we are talking about the 3 days from Friday to Sunday here).
*Numbers changed due to film holding up similarly to the first film.

frozen
FROZEN
FACEBOOK: 513,897 likes
TWITTER: NIL
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 92% SCORE FROM 39 REVIEWS
ROTTEN TOMATOES ANTICIPATION LEVEL: 975 FROM 28,513 VOTES
OPENING WEEKEND BET: $50 MILLION FOR THREE-DAYS, $73 MILLION FOR FIVE-DAYS

Frozen is the only film in this list that even has a chance to beat or come close to the Hunger Games second weekend figures. The animated market has been quite empty, save Cloudy 2 and Free Birds. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 has already been in theaters for over 2 months (or close to), while Free Birds is already quickly fading, giving this film a chance to shine, unlike back in summer, where every film competed with one another, resulting in only Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University escaping the bloodbath. Last weekend’s limited engagement for the film in 1 theater has been really good- the film managed to earn over $243,390 in just El Capitan theater. That definitely isn’t anywhere near the biggest for Disney, but it bodes well for it’s nationwide expansion into well over 3600 theaters. There have been many comparisons with Disney’s other film, Tangled, which managed to earn $48.8 million on opening weekend en-route to a final gross in the ballpark of $200 million domestically. This film’s marketing has been successful to say the least, even managing to regularly put in ‘from the creators of Tangled’ or something like that. This will be children’s first choice this weekend, and will likely stay as such for the next few weeks.

Though animated films are usually review-proof, it is worth noting that the film is now holding onto a spectacular 92% rating from 39 reviewers. I currently expect this film to take in $50 million during the 3-day period, and $73 million over the 5-days.

homefront
HOMEFRONT
FACEBOOK: 142,969 likes
TWITTER: NIL
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 29% FROM 17 REVIEWS
ROTTEN TOMATOES ANTICIPATION LEVEL: 95% FROM 7,999 VOTES
OPENING WEEKEND BET: $8 MILLION FOR 3-DAYS, $13 MILLION FOR 5-DAYS

Homefront has two major stars in it- Jason Statham and James Franco. Both of them are having a really different track record- Statham has had no $10+ million openings since The Mechanic back in January 2011 (spare The Expendables 2 and all animated films). Those films were also all in his wheelhouse, which bodes badly for his current star power. James Franco, meanwhile, has had a great year, from films like Spring Breaker to Oz The Great and Powerful to This is the End, all which have turned out to be hits in their own genres. However, this seems to be more of a film dedicated to Statham, and him bringing in Franco definitely weren’t help. The rotten tomatoes score weren’t help- it currently has a bad 29% rating from 17 reviews. The fan base of Statham will definitely turn out, and perhaps Franco’s role will help push this film past $10 million, but not by much. I am currently staying at $8 million for the three-day period, and $13 million for the full 5-day holiday.

black nativity
BLACK NATIVITY
FACEBOOK: 65,749 likes
TWITTER: 307 FOLLOWERS
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 56% FROM 16 REVIEWS
ROTTEN TOMATOES ANTICIPATION LEVEL: 74% FROM 2,666 VOTES
OPENING WEEKEND BET: $11 MILLION 3-DAYS, $15 MILLION 5-DAYS

Black Nativity doesn’t have many odds in it’s favor this weekend- apart from the fact that The Best Man Holiday is still making a heavy presence in theaters, the film is only releasing in 1500 theaters, which is really limited. Another thing attributing to The Best Man Holiday’s success also comes from the fact that it was a sequel, had a weekend to itself, relates heavily to the Christmas season coming up, and had much more theaters. Black Nativity, meanwhile, will have to face off against the boatload of new openings, along with the existing holdovers. This film will also have trouble standing out for African-Americans- the main demographics who are going to watch this will think they have enough in the theaters for the time being. Reviews are mixed- 56% from 16 reviews, and the fact that this is a musical doesn’t help either (less appealing than comedies). However, this film might turn out to be a surprise hit, so I am currently predicting around $11 million during the 3-day weekend, and $15 million for the full 5-days.

Oldboy, sadly, is only opening in 500 theaters. The South Korean adaptation was viewed as a cult classic to several, and this film definitely isn’t pursuing the same status, and isn’t trying to beef up the marketing either. I am currently expecting around $3.5 million for the 3-day period, and $4.7 million for the full 5-days.

The other two films mentioned at the start are both expanding- Philomena is expanding into 500, while The Book Thief will expand into 1000. The former is currently heading into the awards run, while the latter isn’t likely to be. Here are my current top 10 estimates. Please note that the numbers reflected below are for the 3-day weekend.

1)The Hunger Games: Catching Fire- $58.7 million
2)Frozen- $50 million
3)Black Nativity- $11 million

4)Homefront- $8 million
5)Thor: The Dark World- $7.6 million
6)The Best Man Holiday- $7.1 million
7)Delivery Man- $4.0 million
8)Free Birds- $3.6 million
9)Oldboy- $3.5 million
10)Philomena- $3.4 million
Top 10: $156.9 million

That’s all for this weekend! Remember to check back next week for the box office predictions for Out of the Furnace. See ya for now!

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