Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fall Box Office Predictions- Part 2

The fall season has had a few big hits so far (Gone Girl, Annabelle, Big Hero 6), but the biggest hits are yet to come. November is a rather light schedule, highlighted by the megahit that will be The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1. However, December is packed with major films like Unbroken, The Interview, Exodus and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It's an eclectic mix of commercial hits and Oscar favorites. Let's take a look at the second half of the fall box office season.

DUMB AND DUMBER TO- November 14

Opening Weekend Prediction- $25 million
Total Gross Prediction- $70 million

Dumb and Dumber To comes out today and I honestly can't see it doing very well. It's facing off against two word of mouth dynamos in Interstellar and Big Hero 6 and there's seemingly no buzz around the film. Mix that with the poor reviews (27% on Rotten Tomatoes) and there's only a very small chance that this film breaks out.

FOXCATCHER- November 14 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $500,000
Total Gross Prediction- $25.5 million

Foxcatcher is one of the premiere Oscar players this year, and with a cast that includes Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and a chillingly different Steve Carell, there's a good chance that Foxcatcher will be one of the biggest independent hits of the year. Reviews have been great, but many have discussed how deliberate this film's pacing is. That could be an issue, but with the Oscar buzz and the all-star cast, this film will do just fine.

ROSEWATER- November 14 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $900,000
Total Gross Prediction- $5 million

If the buzz for Rosewater had been stronger coming out of Telluride, this number might be a lot higher. Reviews were solid, but this seems like a very niche film and it would have needed stronger reviews to break out. It does have the benefit of being directed by comedy superstar Jon Stewart, but I doubt that this will make more that $5 million.

BEYOND THE LIGHTS- November 14

Opening Weekend Prediction- $8 million
Total Gross Prediction- $28 million

Beyond the Lights is the kind of film that doesn't usually make a lot of money, but I think that this one has a chance. The reviews are stellar (86% on Rotten Tomatoes) and there's very little competition for this film in the marketplace. It could end up being a minor hit in a season of major extravaganzas.

THE HOMESMAN- November 14 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $100,000
Total Gross Prediction- $6 million

This western is led by an all-star cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Hillary Swank, John Lithgow, Meryl Streep and Tim Blake Nelson, and is directed by Jones himself. That kind of star power will certainly get the film somewhere. I don't see this being a big hit, and it could get drowned out by other Oscar season power players, but I feel like there's still a place for this film in the market.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY- PART 1- November 21

Opening Weekend Prediction- $145 million
Total Gross Prediction- $390 million

The Hunger Games is one of the most consistent franchises in Hollywood, but I'm thinking that this one will end up making a little bit less than the other films in the series. Anyone who has read the book version of Mockingjay knows that the first half is incredibly tedious and I'm certain that the producers are packing this film with superficial action for the sole purpose of making this film longer. Early reviews have been solid, but not spectacular. This will undoubtedly be a major hit. Just not as huge as the other two films in the series.

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2- November 26

Five-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $43 million
Total Gross Prediction- $105 million

The first Horrible Bosses was a big hit and with a dearth of R-rated comedies in the marketplace, Horrible Bosses 2 should make quite a bit of money as well. The trailers have been appealing and the all-star cast has only grown with the addition of Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz. This will be a very solid hit over Thanksgiving weekend.

THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR- November 26

Five-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $70 million
Total Gross Prediction- $150 million

The Madagascar franchise still makes bank for Dreamworks after all these years and The Penguins of Madagascar will be very important for the studio. The animation house is coming off a string of misfires and they need a big hit to come back. This film could be it, but I don't see it making over $150 million.

THE IMITATION GAME- November 28 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $400,000
Total Gross Prediction- $50 million

The Imitation Game is one of the most accessible Oscar favorites, so I'm betting on a total of at least $50 million. With superstar Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role and a lot of buzz surrounding this film, there's a good chance that this breaks out. There is quite a bit of dark subject matter in this film according to many critics, but I still think that this film will be a pretty solid hit.

THE PYRAMID- December 5

Opening Weekend Prediction- $7 million
Total Gross Prediction- $17 million

There really isn't much to say about this film. It's a low budget horror film set in Egypt that will likely disappear quickly. It does look kinda creepy, but not creepy enough to break out during this extremely crowded season. It is one of the only horror films of the season, but it looks simply too low-budget to survive the torrent of Oscar movies.

WILD- December 5 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $300,000
Total Gross Prediction- $15 million

Wild is the latest film from Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallee with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role. Dallas Buyers Club made around $27 million, and with significantly less buzz surrounding Wild, I doubt that this will break out. Not to mention that the film looks flat-out depressing. Witherspoon will undoubtedly get a lot of attention for her portrayal of the recovering drug/sex addict who walks 1,000 miles, but this film still is not going to make more than $15 million.

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS- December 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $45 million
Total Gross Prediction- $160 million

Exodus: Gods and Kings is in an extremely tough position. It looks like a fantastic movie, and it has a terrific cast that includes Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley. Yet it is coming out at a very difficult time. The final installment of The Hobbit franchise opens only five days later and that might make things tough for Exodus. Awards buzz would be very helpful for the film, but I'm not sure it will come. Exodus will still be a hit, but the question of "How big?" will depend on many different factors.

TOP FIVE- December 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $15 million
Total Gross Prediction- $55 million

Top Five came out of nowhere at Tiff and was scooped up by Paramount for about $12.5 million. With stellar reviews and an all-star cast, it's now being thrust into a holiday season packed with much bigger films. However, there is still a lot of promise for Top Five. The cast is highlighted by Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart and many other superstars. Rock also directed the film, which could bring in some fans. All in all, this could end up being a huge Christmas season breakout hit.

INHERENT VICE- December 12 (limited), January 9 (wide)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $400,000
Total Gross Prediction- $35 million

Inherent Vice had one of the best trailers in recent memory and its great cast features Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin and Benecio del Toro. Not to mention that it was directed by indie superstar Paul Thomas Anderson. However, early reviews have highlighted the oddball nature of the film, and most seem to think that its tone will be off-putting for the audience. A prediction of $35 million is pretty reasonable at this point.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES- December 17

Five-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $120 million
Total Gross Prediction- $310 million

The Hobbit franchise has received a lot of hate over the last few years, mostly for the fact that it really shouldn't be a franchise at all. Yet each and every time, people show up and pay to see the new Hobbit film. The final installment in the franchise will be no different. In the end, this will most likely be the highest grossing film in the series.

MR. TURNER- December 19 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $150,000
Total Gross Prediction- $7.5 million

For a while, Timothy Spall was one of the front-runners for Best Actor for his performance in this film. Now, that buzz has kind of slipped away. If Sony Pictures Classics can find a way to thrust Spall and Mr. Turner back into the race, maybe this film makes over $10 million. But Sony Classics has bigger Oscar contenders (Foxcatcher and Whiplash) and this film will likely be drowned out by the tons of other Oscar films.

ANNIE- December 19

Opening Weekend Prediction- $26.5 million
Total Gross Prediction- $90 million

This film actually doesn't look egregiously awful. I think that it could be a lot of fun and the cast, which includes Jamie Foxx, Quvenshane Wallis, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz, is fantastic. Not to mention the fact that the marketing campaign got started very early this year. I'm low-balling this projection because of the competition, but the sky is the limit for this one.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB- December 19

Opening Weekend Prediction- $35 million
Total Gross Prediction- $115 million

Now this is a film that looks awful. The trailer was so incredibly atrocious and so frighteningly terrible that I can't even imagine watching this film. However, this franchise is powerful and I'm betting that this film manages to pull in at least $100 million. Not to mention that this is one of the final film roles for beloved comedian Robin Williams. All in all, Fox should have a hit with this one.

THE GAMBLER- December 19 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $200,000
Total Gross Prediction- $40 million

This all-star crime drama looks very good, but has an uphill battle in front of it. First off, the reviews coming out of AFI Fest were solid, yet unspectacular. The film is currently hovering at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and 58 on Metacritic. Granted, it's early, but that's still not good. Secondly, this is not an art house film, but it's getting a limited release in December and then going wide in January. Will it thrive in December? Probably not. It might pick up steam in January, but I doubt it.

AMERICAN SNIPER- December 25 (limited), January 16 (wide)

Four-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $300,000
Total Gross Prediction- $50 million

This dark, violent war drama will likely perform on par with most of director Clint Eastwood's recent efforts. American Sniper had a great first trailer and early reviews were mostly positive, but not glowing (63 on Metacritic and 86% on Rotten Tomatoes). However, this is a darker character study than say, Lone Survivor, so I doubt that it will make too much money.

BIG EYES- December 25 (limited)

Four-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $200,000
Total Gross Prediction- $35 million

Like American Sniper and The Gambler, Big Eyes also premiered at this week's AFI Fest in Hollywood. Early reviews were mixed, with the film hanging at 67% on RT and 61 on Metacritic. Not bad scores, but not nearly good enough to find a way into this tough Oscar race. As for the film's commercial prospects, they're good. Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz are stars and Burton brings in crowds. Yet I just don't see it breaking out.

SELMA- December 25 (limited), January 9 (wide)

Four-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $600,000
Total Gross Prediction- $140 million

Selma is now the front-runner for Best Picture. Crazy, right? This film barely scraped its way to a premiere on Monday night at the AFI Fest, but it received absolutely glowing reviews. Critics praised the film and it is now one of the top films to beat. That will translate to a lot of success at the box office.

INTO THE WOODS- December 25

Four-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $45 million
Total Gross Prediction- $120 million

This star-studded fantasy musical drama will likely be one of the go-to picks for families this Christmas. It's a Disney movie, it's got Oscar potential and it's based on some very famous fairy tales. Not to mention the cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine and Johnny Depp. Unless this film is awful (which it could be), there's a good chance it's a hit.

UNBROKEN- December 25

Four-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $36 million
Total Gross Prediction- $150 million

This is one of the few remaining Oscar question marks, but it is certainly going to be a major box office hit. It's directed by Angelina Jolie and has a solid cast, yet the film's biggest draw is that it's based off an incredibly popular book. Everybody I know seems to love this book and that will bring a lot of people in to see this movie.

THE INTERVIEW- December 25

Four-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $40 million
Total Gross Prediction- $110 million

James Franco and Seth Rogen have been on a roll lately, and their latest premise is just too good to pass up. A film about going to North Korea to kill Kim Jong-Un sounds like so much fun and that will bring in a lot of people over the holiday weekend. It won't be as big as Neighbors, but this will be a sizable hit.

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR- December 31 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $250,000
Total Gross Prediction- $27 million

Neither of director JC Chandor's previous films broke out at the box office, but A Most Violent Year could be different. The film stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac and is a sprawling crime drama set in New York City. That should translate to some box office success, especially if the well-reviewed film starts getting more Oscar buzz.

That's it for my fall box office predictions. It's shaping up to be a great season for movies.

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