Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Holiday 2016 Box Office Predictions (PART ONE)

Oh my God, it's actually the holiday season, huh? That means it's time for my third annual Holiday Box Office Predictions, where I attempt to guess just what movies are gonna be biggest during the lucrative holiday period this year. Sure, we all know Rogue One is gonna be making big bucks, but what about the other movies opening up in this time period? This is the column where I examine such a query over two parts. Now, just as a heads up, from December 9th to December 25th, there eight motion pictures debuting in wide release and at least three more (Nocturnal Animals, Miss Sloane and La La Land) that are limited releases that are definitely expanding into wide release over the Christmas holiday. There are other limited release movies like Jackie, Lion and Manchester By The Sea going into wide release in December, but since I don't have exact dates for their expansions I will not be predicting their exact box office totals.

OK, let's start off with next weeks release which kick things off....

Office Christmas Party
Look to spread some raunchy holiday cheer is this new comedy starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston. Bateman's got an alright box office track record with his comedies, with some hits (like Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses) paired up with some definite misses (Horrible Bosses 2 and The Change-Up) while Jennifer Aniston hasn't appeared in a movie that's grossed over $60 million since her break-out hit We're The Millers three years ago. Similarly, the recent box office track record for Christmas movies is iffy, with only two Yuletide-themed movies (The Best Man Holiday and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas) cracking $50 million at the domestic box office in the last seven years.

With all that in mind, Office Christmas Party will be third Christmas in the past 7 years to crack $50 million domestically thanks to the ensemble cast its assembled as well as the fact that there aren't many comedies out right now in a marketplace dominated by dark dramas. However, it'd be shocking if this one got much higher than the $54.4 million domestic cume of Horrible Bosses 2.

Opening Weekend: $15 million
Total Gross: $55 million

Miss Sloane
Miss Sloane is aiming to expand into wide release on December 9th, though it's doubtful it can achieve much box office success. This title's gotten solid reviews, but the marketing has been minimal and there are so many high-profile dramas opening over the Christmas holidays it's doubtful it can stick around for a while. Look for this one to debut below $5 million in its wide release opening weekend and vanish quickly after, another dud for EuropaCorp in a year that has not been kind to them.

Opening Weekend: $3 million
Total Gross $6 million

Nocturnal Animals
Having actually seen Nocturnal Animals as I write this, I can say that this is one well-made thriller with absolutely zero potential to work as a mainstream movie. The opening credits alone are gonna have people walking out. No clue why Focus Features spent $20 million to acquire this one. Anywho, this movies tricky to predict because I have no clue how many theaters Focus Features is planning to bring this film into on December 9th, but it's doubtful it makes much in the way of moolah regardless of how many theaters it plays in.

Opening Weekend: $2 million
Total Gross: $8 million

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
And now, for the big one, Rogue One, which is gonna make a run for dethroning Finding Dory as the biggest movie of 2016 domestically. Can this Star Wars spin-off do just that? Who knows, but it wouldn't be shocking to see this one make plenty of cash even if it doesn't quite knock off Dory. Advanced tickets that already went on sale nearly three weeks in advance are already selling like hotcakes and ads have been emphasizing both an atmosphere unique from past Star Wars movies as well as familiar elements like Darth Vader and the Death Star people love from the original trilogy of beloved Star Wars movies.

Because of all that, I'm actually gonna guess this new Star Wars adventure supersedes its tracking a smidge and crosses $150 million in its opening weekend. If it actually gets positive reviews prior to its release, that should boost the buzz enough to crash through that $150 million barrier. It won't hold as well as The Force Awakens (which did 3.78 times its opening weekend) thanks to a far more competitive slate of January titles, though this one's still gonna make enough cash domestically alone to fill many Death Stars.

Opening Weekend: $151 million
Total Gross: $505 million
La La Land
And now we come to La La Land, a movie whose trailers I kinda love. This one strikes me as a sleeper hit in the making, not only because it's got the kind of uber-positive reviews essential for adult dramas to thrive at the box office but also because its marketing is giving off an upbeat musical vibe that differentiates it from the other dramas in the marketplace. If this one manages to snag a couple of high-profile Oscar nods, it wouldn't be shocking to see this one stick around long after the Christmas holiday break has come and gone. For now, an opening in the high teens against Rogue One feels appropriate, and it should leg out over the Christmas holidays to get to at least $110 million domestically, maybe more if word-of-mouth and its award season chances really go to the next level.

Opening Weekend: $17 million
Total Gross: $110 million

Collateral Beauty
Will Smith had a major rebound at the box office this past summer with Suicide Squad, but Collateral Beauty will likely play more like last Christmas's Will Smith box office misfire Concussion. The marketing for it has drawn derision from the online community and it's likely not going to be able to stand out in the marketplace against a number of major dramas being released over the Christmas holidays. Don't be surprised if this becomes only the third Will Smith movie in the 21st century to make less than $50 million domestically.

Opening Weekend: $9 million
Total Gross: $45 million

Come back on Friday where I'll be discussing the box office prospects for Christmastime releases like Sing, Passengers, Assassin's Creed, Why Him? and Fences!

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