Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Holiday Box Office Projections (Final)

The holiday box office is one of the most lucrative of the year. It is a time when Hollywood is gearing up for the Oscars but at the same time releasing some of the biggest blockbusters of the year. The holiday box office truly began last week with Disney's very good animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph but I couldn't do it in time, so I'll start with the week of November 9. Here is my box office projections through December 25.

NOVEMBER 9

1. Skyfall- $84 million opening- $235 million total- Skyfall is the 23rd film in the James Bond franchise. It is riding a huge wave of buzz for being one of the best Bond films ever and that should certainly give the film an advantage. Skyfall will also benefit from pent-up demand: it has been four years since Quantum of Solace. The second chapter in the Daniel Craig Bond franchise was not well reviewed or enjoyed by the general public but enough people will just remember the first chapter, 2006's Casino Royale. The film is also the first major action blockbuster in several months. The last one was really The Expendables 2. People are ready for Skyfall and this film is going to be the biggest Bond ever.

NOVEMBER 16

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 2- $150 million opening- $325 million total- Final chapters in sagas tend to do very well and Breaking Dawn-Part 2 will be no exception. This film is going to be huge. It has all the fans and all the buzz and it is already tracking huge. The question is: how big? I think the buzz that the film is actually good should help and it has more action than the other films. Deathly Hallows Part 1 opened to $125 million. Part 2 opened to $169 million. I don't think the gap between the two will be that high but it should be higher than Part 1's $138 million.

2. Lincoln- $20 million opening- $115 million total - Lincoln is Steven Spielberg's is one of the most anticipated films for adults this year. Lincoln is getting major Oscar buzz and it's more than just awards bait (the way most people felt about last year's War Horse, even though I liked it). It's got a famed director, an all-star cast and a everything people love this time of year. However, a film like Lincoln doesn't scream "BOX OFFICE MONEY!!" but recent successes Flight and Argo have proved that there is a big adult audience that wants to see quality films and Lincoln could tap right into that.

NOVEMBER 21

1. Rise of the Guardians- $60 million 5-day opening- $180 million total- I have heard that this animated film is not all that spectacular and that could hurt word of mouth. But the fact that is the only animated film this holiday season will help it significantly. The holiday feel is also going to make it a huge success. Christmas films do well this time of year unsurprisingly and I don't think Rise of the Guardians will be any different.

2. Life of Pi- $25 million 5-day opening- $75 million total- This is a film that sounds like it's going to be too weird for the general public. Even I really don't know what the story is about beyond the fact that it is about a boy, a tiger, and other animals stuck on a boat after a shipwreck. It is rated PG which could help bring in family audiences but it is a very hard PG from the descriptions I have heard so far. The only things really going for the film are its visual effects (supposedly the best since Avatar) and the millions of people who read the book. I think that it could really take off if people like it but I'm thinking very modestly right now.

3. Silver Linings Playbook- $20 million 5-day weekend- $95 million total- I think that this is going to be a word of mouth sensation. The film is getting major Oscar buzz out of the Toronto International Film Festival and I think that it is one of those broadly appealing romantic comedies that people are going to love. The storyline follows a mentally ill man (Bradley Cooper) whose wife was cheating on him and he ends up going to a mental hospital for his bi-polar disorder. Then he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) a woman with an even worse mental illness, and they fall in love. The reviews say it is sentimental but tough and I think that it may be too emotional for people who were expecting something different. It still will be a success.

4. Red Dawn- $15 million 5-day opening- $40 million total- The film was one of the several that was put on the shelf once MGM went bankrupt. The remake of the 1980's classic is a bit less plausible and will be very unsuccessful because unlike the 1984 film, it's not timely. There is no threat of a North Korean invasion. But I think that there is no other action film that will be opening so it has an advantage. But reviews are not good and it could be a flop.

NOVEMBER 30

1. Killing Them Softly- $8 million opening- $26 million total- I've heard good things about this Brad Pitt starred action drama but the trailer was rather lackluster and I don't think that it is a broadly appealing film. On the plus side, it has Brad Pitt who is always a draw and it has a small enough budget that I would imagine it wouldn't lose any money.

DECEMBER 7

1. Playing for Keeps- $5 million opening- $14 million total- This is one of those crappy romantic comedies that studios just dump off on some random release date because they don't know what to do with it. It has Gerald Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta- Jones and Uma Thurman and it is about a former sports star who gets his life together by coaching his son's soccer team. It just screams out terrible.

DECEMBER 14

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey- $120 million opening- $510 million total- This is THE film of the holiday season and it will do big business. I think that the demand is there. People want another Lord of the Rings style film and The Hobbit is part one of a series of prequels to those films. It has big budget effects and an all-star cast and I think that nothing is going to stop The Hobbit from making at least $400 million.

DECEMBER 19

1. The Guilt Trip- $15 million 5-day opening- $60 million total- It does look like a lighthearted option to the more serious holiday fare that is coming out and unlike its competition This is 40, it looks fun and not so depressing and dark. Then again, it won't bring in the typical Seth Rogen audience. Barbra Striesand hasn't been a draw in a long time. And it does look like a typical road trip movie. But I think that the audience is out there to make this film a success.

2. Monsters Inc. 3D- $12 million 5-day opening- $30 million total- I think that there is no demand for a 3-D re-release of this film. I don't think that a lot of people have a personal connection to it (except for me, it was my first film in the movie theater) and it doesn't fit the 3D medium as much as Finding Nemo or The Lion King. Expect more results similar to Beauty and the Beast 3D than the other two films.

DECEMBER 21

1. Jack Reacher- $30 million opening- $92 million total- The first trailer for this movie sucked, but I really liked the second one. It looks a little too formulaic but I think that enough people have read the books and it is a typical Tom Cruise action flick so people looking for action may flock to it. It really is the only action film this holiday season so I think that it has the possibility of being a big success.

2. This is 40- $22 million opening- $70 million total- This is 40 has a lot of the elements of a traditional comedy smash. Big stars (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann), top-tier comedy director (Judd Apatow) and a lot of raunchy jokes. But This is 40 is about aging and the people who these raunchy comedies are typically aimed at are not gonna want to see this. So I don't know how big this will be. I think it looks a little too dark as well and I'm not sure if it is right for the holiday season. Keep an eye on this one, it could get interesting.

DECEMBER 25

1. Les Miserable- $40 million Tuesday-Sunday opening- $140 million total- The story of Jean Valjean and Fantine and Inspector Javert is finally coming to the big screen as a musical. There are a lot of fans of the beloved musical and I think that they will turn out in droves to see this. The film is also getting a lot of publicity through a five minute featurette that is playing in front of almost every movie right now. It is getting a lot of buzz because of that and a lot of Oscar buzz as well. I think that this will be a big hit this holiday season.

2. Django Unchained- $35 million Tuesday to Sunday opening- $100 million total- This is going to be front-loaded. The people who see Tarantino's movies typically go out and see it as soon as they can. I think that if it gets enough Oscar buzz than it will make more, but I think that with the controversial subject matter will be too much for the Academy. Plus, this was a supposedly out of control production, so we'll have to see how this goes.

I think that I have covered most films. Hitchcock opens in limited release on November 23, The Collection opens on November 30 Zero Dark Thirty opens in NY/LA on December 19 and Billy Crystal's Parental Guidance opens on Christmas day.We'll see how it goes. The box office begins this weekend with Skyfall.

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