Part 2 of our Christmas Holiday preview continues with the second round of staggered release films, eager to get their piece of the box office pie (mmm, box office pie) as well as awards consideration.
Weekend Forecast for December 23-25, 2016: Part 2
By Reagen Sulewski
December 22, 2016
Another rowdy comedy hits theaters in the form of Why Him?, starring James Franco as a Silicon Valley billionaire with severe arrested development syndrome who clashes with the father (Bryan Cranston) of his girlfriend (Zoey Deutch) after he proposes. Wildly out of control and with no bounds on his behavior thanks to his ridiculous wealth, he's a total mismatch for the straitlaced family of Cranston and his wife (Megan Mullally), leading to your typical comedy snob vs slob culture clash. It's in essence Meet the Parents, but if Robert De Niro was actually totally justified.
This is likely an all or nothing film for people this Christmas, with fans of Franco and this kind of humor eating it up, while everyone else gives it a wide, wide berth. That demographic has narrowed as time has gone on, as this summer's Neighbors 2 showed - Franco, Rogen, et. al. are growing out of their audience just as Adam Sandler did before him, outside of a few stunt premises. Reviews are as abysmal as it gets and it's likely to get a bit lost in the holiday slate -- I'd look for a weekend total of just $13 million.
Expanding from limited release is Fences, a heavy awards contender starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play, it's about an inner-city African-American family in the 1950s struggling with what it means to raise a family in trying conditions. Washington plays the paterfamilias, a Negro League baseball star with a promising son who wants to follow in his footsteps, but to the recently desegregated major leagues. The complex emotions and jealousies in this family lead to powerful drama with some Capital A Acting, very evident in the trailer and almost certain to garner Washington and Davis nominations come Oscar time. The commerciality of this is still up for debate as it's very obviously stagey and wordy, but the message is a powerful one and the cast certainly able to attract an audience. Having debuted last weekend in just four venues, it still earned $129,000. Its expansion to 2,200 venues should bring it to about $7 million over its debut weekend.
With Wednesday's box office in the books, the Christmas weekend picture becomes a little clearer. Star Wars: Rogue One continued its first place run with almost $15 million, which points to around $65 million for the holiday weekend, and close to $300 million by the time Christmas Day rolls around (certainly by December 27th). Sing showed a very strong start with $11 million, and this will likely translate into about $45 million for its first proper weekend.
Assassin's Creed had a mild surprise opening day with $4.6 million, which keeps it from outright bomb status but really only adds up to about $18 million - a tough start against a $125 million budget. Overseas markets to the rescue! That's probably the hope at this point for Passengers as well, which has squandered its cast of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence with a $4.1 million opening day and about $16 million for its first weekend.
Disney's Moana took a bit of a hit against Sing's start, but should benefit from the family audiences over Christmas and has about $10 million in store for it this weekend. Oscar front-runner La La Land gets a national expansion from its 200 screens and should see about $7 million this frame. Office Christmas Party sneaks in at about $6 million for Christmas weekend, while Collateral Beauty appears DOA in just its second weekend at under $5 million.