And now let's never speak of that last month again. After one of the worst Octobers in recent history at the box office, like sink-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean bad, there are no chances being taken for the first weekend of November (but, wait for it...). Two properties that are each 50-years-plus old hit the screen, but one for the 26th time, and the other for the first time in over 30 years.
Weekend Forecast for November 6-8, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
November 6, 2015
Spectre represents the last appearance of Daniel Craig as James Bond in his grittier, thuggier, more emotionally conflicted version. Since replacing Pierce Brosnan after his unceremonious dumping in the wake of the critically disastrous Die Another Day, Craig's Bond has been present as the franchise lifted itself to new heights – even if it's simply wrapping itself in the cloak of modern spy thrillers. But hey, a 50-year-old franchise has to change somewhat if it wants to survive, right?
Spectre is in a way a turn to older Bond, as the titular organization was last a thing in the movies in Diamonds Are Forever. A global terrorist group, it purports to be behind everything that's gone wrong in the last three films (oh, so they wrote the screenplay to Quantum of Solace? Bastards!) for Bond, specifically in the person of a man who they swear up and down isn't Blofield then run away giggling, played by Christoph Waltz. One wonders how far they take this bit (that time your eggs were a little overdone? That was *meeee*), but with MI6 still in disarray after the events of Skyfall, it's a natural outgrowth of the plot arc they've been working on to essentially break Bond.
The movie features the usual exotic locales (and keeps to the tradition of every visit to Mexico City in the movies being on November 1st) and exotic femmes fatale, this time with Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux (most famous recently from Blue is the Warmest Color). One can't help but feel a bit of a letdown in the promotion of this film compared to the last one in most aspects, though. Perhaps it's the negative vibes given off from Craig, who is clearly just done with all this, or the lack of really spectacular set pieces (nothing comparing to the brilliant cuff adjust train jump), or even the theme song, which is a bit of a boring dirge compared to the at worst Top 3 effort of Skyfall. Sam Mendes still directs, but it also loses one of its key weapons as cinematographer Roger Deakins (give him an Oscar, already) exits, so it's not going to look quite as pretty as Skyfall did. It's a bunch of little things that add up to a lot.
Bear in mind though, that Skyfall was an order of magnitude more successful than the last few Bond films, in large part due to huge international business (joining the billion dollar club), so it has some room to fall even if it's a disappointment. Skyfall opened to $88 million, and then of all things had legs through Thanksgiving, letting it get over the $300 million mark, almost twice any previous Bond film. It's already set some UK box office records, but those are a little less relevant here, and I do expect some regression to the mean to around $74 million.
This week in “Please Don't Ruin My Childhood” brings us The Peanuts Movie, the first feature based on the classic comic strip since 1980, and the first to use computer animation. When the project was first announced, there were the typical sigh of exasperation and asking why this would be needed – a cynical attitude that wasn't without some justification. The film comes from Fox and Blue Sky, responsible for the barely tolerable and inexplicably popular Ice Age films, plus there's the “everything modern sucks” movement, which is at times hard to argue with.
It's satisfying, then, to see the finished product (or at least parts of it), and to see that it pretty much looks like the Peanuts of old, with the typical low-stakes story involving Charlie Brown and the gang of neighborhood kids, with manic episodes (and elaborate fantasy sequences) interjected by Snoopy still in place. It's unambitious, other than to bring a Peanuts story to modern audiences, and that's probably the best possible thing that could be done here.
That lack of ambition probably keeps it from having a huge start, though of course there's also the fact that Peanuts hasn't been a comic strip for over 15 years and the TV specials aren't quite the event that they used to be. Boomer and Gen X nostalgia will probably push this more than any kid interest. That's not exactly a bad thing, as that's who buys the tickets. Kids are going to react to it on its own terms, and that's had some success in the past, with the Muppets reboot and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which likely had no context for most kids yet still did well. I'd look for this to outshoot both of those films, opening to around $42 million.
This means that The Martian's non-consecutive reign at the top of the box office finally ends in its sixth week, though it's after a very solid run that has seen it show some real, legit legs. With around $8 million this weekend, it'll push close to $200 million domestic and should probably end up with $225 million total.
Goosebumps, another kid-friendly adaptation, has performed quite solidly itself, and should hit about $6 million this weekend as it weaves its way to around $80 million domestic. Serving a very different demographic, Bridge of Spies should earn about $6 million itself, moving over the $50 million mark.