Welcome to afterthought weekend.
Weekend Forecast for December 2-4, 2016
By Reagen Sulewski
December 1, 2016
Once again, Hollywood has left the weekend after Thanksgiving to fend for itself, with really just a token wide release film to repopulate it. The theory, so it goes, is that everyone's so movied out from Thanksgiving weekend that all the marketing air has been sucked out of the room. Of course, holdovers still do well, and movies like The Last Samurai have done reasonably well in this spot. So much for that theory, but we play the hand we're dealt.
The lone new contender is Incarnate, entry number 378 in the exorcism genre after its revival in the last decade and change. This one takes a strangely atheistic take on the idea, with Aaron Eckhart playing a paranormal investigator who uses an Inception technique to rid his patients of their demons – literally entering their consciousness to chase out the devil, openly mocking the idea of religious exorcism. This leads to all sorts of hopefully terrifying scenes where anything can happen, since we're dealing with dream logic – especially so since the main subject of the film is an 11-year-old boy, and the weird things that could crop up in his imagination.
The problem here is that when anything can happen, the idea of jump scares (which seems to make up the majority of this film's horror) become pretty old, and this idea has been done better (if not well) and more colorfully in The Cell. I also don't put a lot of stock in Brad Peyton's (of San Andreas) gothic horror artistry. Also starring Carice Van Houten (of Game of Thrones), it's a poor looking, little marketed, unreviewed horror film released on the worst exhibitor weekend of the year. Don't spend it all in one place, fellas! An optimistic take on this film, releasing on about 1,700 venues, would have it at $3 million this weekend.
Everything then belongs to the returning films, led by Disney's latest animated opus, Moana. The Hawaiian-themed adventure film opened to $56 million over the holiday weekend, with $82 million over five days, running about ten per cent behind Frozen's similarly timed debut. It should naturally take a bit of a hit because of the relatively lack of family audiences this weekend, winding up with about $27 million.
Second place should belong to Fantastic Beasts, the Harry Potter spinoff that's grossed over $150 million to date and still somehow seems like a letdown. However, it's made it to the holidays, more or less, and has a chance to run through Christmas strongly. Give it about $22 million in this frame.
Doctor Strange crossed the $200 million mark last weekend, making it the highest grossing single character debut film (can we slice that thinner?) for the MCU movies since Iron Man. That's a record that's probably safe until The Invincible Squirrel Girl comes along (oh, it's gonna happen). Look for about $8 million this weekend.
Meanwhile, Arrival finally had its leggy weekend, albeit a little too late. It has a ghost of a chance at $100 million, but probably falls a bit short of that. Around $7 million should be in the cards here.
Allied, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, was a bit of a dud with just $12 million opening weekend for its WWII spy film. There's little hope coming for it from awards, and it should fall quickly out of relevance to about $6 million.
Finally, we have Trolls, but as the third family option in a crowded marketplace, it should have little impact or chance at legs, and should fall to about $5 million.