By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekend 4-Day Estimates by Things Change Klady
So the controversy here yesterday was over Fences, which was clearly underestimated in its expansion. We’re already looking at an estimate on today’s box office for the film, which is $4.9 million, which could easily be high… or not. How much of an effect will Christmas Day football have? How heavy was the must-see factor yesterday? Even if the film does $15 million in its first three days, that’s soft for Denzel… but it’s not a weekend launch… but it is Christmas/New Year’s week… but but but… Let’s take a deep breath and see where this goes.
Rogue One rolls along, pacing the big Marvel movies more than Episode 7. No one is going to die from a $1.2 billion-grossing Rogue One. And because it truly is a stand-alone film that fits in a very specific niche of the Star Wars Universe, no one is sweating sequels. So… great… success… not world-beating… but fine. IP wins again.
As noted before, Sing is a complete freak when it comes to animated releases. Doing okay.
Passengers remains soft, but looking for answers outside of American airspace. I don’t think it brings down Rothman at Sony. And in fact, it probably reinforces his position on being cheap and not chasing big stars with big price tags. But not a happy Christmas in Culver City.
The hard part is that the big studio has seven weeks before their next release, the next two coming from Screen Gems. And there is some risk. Life will have a lot on its shoulders. Then a four-film summer of a Scarlett Johansson comedy (Rock That Body), Spider-Man: Homecoming, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. Spider-Man is a gimme. The other three are not, at least commercially. And if the studio goes one for four or broderline successes for the non-Marvels, there will be serious pressure.
Why Him? and Assassin’s Creed are stuck together on the box office chart like a cruel joke. The comedy isn’t burying the studio. No biggie, even if it never really picks up. Assassin’s Creed really needs help from overseas. But either way, they both go on the prior regime’s list.
The expansion party is led by Fences, which went wide, then not-quite-wide expansions for La La Land, Jackie and Lion, plus a strong limited open (25 screens) for Hidden Figures, as well as exclusives for Patriots Day, Silence and Live By Night, and A Monster Calls.
Honestly, there is a bit of self-delusion in doing a deep analysis of this group based on this weekend. Obviously, La La Land should be happy. Fences did fine, if not overwhelmingly. Manchester by the Sea is still out there, solid, and really exceptional for the kind of film it is without a major box office star. The rest? Some of these titles are seriously commercial and will get a full studio release. Others will never be as strong as they were this weekend. Next Monday will offer a clearer picture.