Weekend Forecast for December 6-8, 2013
By Reagen Sulewski
December 6, 2013

This doesn't ring true because Batman never uses guns.

As is tradition, Hollywood essentially takes the weekend after Thanksgiving off, thinking you're all movied out from the long weekend. They're probably not all that wrong, but as self-fulfilling prophecies go, it's a doozy. There's just one kind of afterthought movie opening this weekend, which, let's face it, most of you will never see.

Out of the Furnace is the second film from director Scott Cooper, after making a superlative debut with Crazy Heart four years ago. In keeping with his apparent interest in characters on the margins of society, the film stars Christian Bale as the brother of amateur boxer Casey Affleck, who disappears after a particularly shady bout run by a backwoods mafia outfit led by Woody Harrelson, putting on his best redneck. In searching for his brother, Bale runs into law enforcement reluctant to challenge Harrelson on his own turf, and a ruthless criminal organization determined to eliminate any threats to their operation. Can Bale find his brother, if he's even alive, and can he survive with any piece of himself intact if he is?

Playing a bit like the bastard child of Winter's Bone and The Fighter, that first part of this sentence already depressed me so much that I couldn't finish it properly. The attraction to the film is undoubtedly the stellar cast, which in addition to the names already mentioned, also includes Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Forrest Whitaker and Zoe Saldana. Okay, that last name is a bit out of place. But still, it's an amazing list of actors who are not at all box office draws. This definitely proves a thing or two about exactly what appearing in a high profile super hero movie can and can't do for you, as even with his obvious ability as an actor and his impressive list of box office hits, his presence really doesn't inspire any kind of confidence in the grosses of the film. The biggest hope is that this grabs some Academy attention, but in what's suddenly turning into a really crowded year, that's looking like a big long shot. Opening on Wednesday on four screens, and expanding wide to 2,100 venues on Friday, it should earn a modest $6 million over the weekend.

This is, of course, peanuts compared to the top two returning films from last weekend, Catching Fire and Frozen, which each set Thanksgiving records. With the largest ever Thanksgiving weekend at $74 million, Catching Fire became the fourth fastest film to reach $300 million, in 12 days. The previous fastest six films to reach that mark all hit $400 million, and while this would seem like a shoe-in for the Hunger Games sequel, it's by no means assured. This is in part due to the weekend itself, which is essentially “juiced”, and results in tremendously steep drops the weekend after. Last year, for example, Breaking Dawn Part 2 made $227 million through Thanksgiving weekend and just $65 million after it. Now, the Hunger Games film is much better received than any Twilight film, but there's still the zealous early adopter fanbase to deal with. I'd look for a drop to about $34 million this weekend, which will move it pretty close to the $350 million mark.

Frozen, meanwhile, is now the largest opening film on Thanksgiving weekend, with $67 million, and $93 million after five days. This was a significant improvement over its studio cousin, Tangled, and points to a new revival of Disney animation, although it never truly went away. It should suffer a little less post Thanksgiving, thanks to being a broader appealing film, but there's no such things as legs this weekend. It should find about $32 million in the next three days.

After that, we get slim pickings, with only Thor: The Dark World likely to earn a significant figure. That will bring in about $6 million, while new films from last weekend like Homefront and Black Nativity and Oldboy will disappear rather quickly. The Christmas season starts in earnest next weekend with what's likely to be the biggest film of Christmas, but for now we're left to catch up with the handful of leftovers.