As we bid a fond GTFO to the worst year in modern history (what me, hyperbole?), the box office carries along with what amounts to a bonus opening weekend for most films. While it's the rock bottom calendar configuration for the holidays, it's one of the better ones for the last weekend of the year in comparison to Christmas weekend.
Weekend Forecast for
December 30, 2016-January 1, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
December 29, 2016
All of this boils down to one major fact – with Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve on Saturdays, the best day of the weekend is taken twice by days with natural anti-box office behavior. However, New Year's Eve is slightly less bad than Christmas Eve and by comparison, most films will see significant bumps with a particular benefit to family films – which missed out a lot on Christmas Eve screenings being taken away. Still, no new films get a release on this off-weekend, with all the marketers taking a week off. Therefore, if your film got a good result last weekend, you're sitting quite pretty, and if not, well, you blew one of the prime release weekends of the year.
That means we'll see Star Wars Rogue One at the top of the charts yet again after its $64 million Christmas weekend take. Disney's “Star Wars Christmas special - no not that one, no singing Bea Arthur - strategy” is looking rather savvy after two outings, with over $350 million in the bank domestically for Rogue One. Using the Christmas week like a speed bag, it earned as much in the three weekdays following Christmas as it did the entire weekend – which in the magnified territory that Star Wars is dealing with here is some serious change. Not quite a family film, but not *not* a family film, it should get a medium-sized boost and for this weekend, it should see a take in the area of about $75 million, putting it at about $450 million by the end of New Year's Day.
Definitely in the family film category is Sing, which earned $55 million over its first five days of release and blazed its way to over $100 million in just 8 days. Singing animals, man. This should become the fifth highest grossing animated movie of the year after this weekend, blowing past Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trolls. I don't think it has the legs to get past Moana in the final totals, especially when family films drop off a cliff when the holidays are over, but it's undeniably a big triumph and should earn about $45 million this weekend.
Passengers was one of the high profile, well, maybe let's not say flops, exactly, but not-living-up-to-its-expectations, to coin a phrase that's going to be everywhere soon just you wait and see. The Jennifer Lawrence/Chris Pratt sci-fi anti-romance (to put it lightly) took in $15 million over Christmas Weekend amid terrible reviews, and while it should see a boost over this weekend, it'll be of the milder variety, earning about $17 million.
Also in this group are Why Him?, the James Franco/Bryan Cranston comedy, which opened up to $11 million, and the video game adaptation Assassin's Creed, with $10 million, the latter doubly so with a steep fall off from its mid-week opening performance. I'd look for about $13 and $11 million for these two this weekend, which is a very troubling figure for Creed given its likely $200 million production costs.
More family business is taken care of with Moana, which will probably see the overall biggest boost of the weekend thanks to its lower dollar figure and its weeks into release. Something close to a 50% boost is possible, and I'd expect $11 million, moving it well over the $200 million mark.
A couple of Oscar contenders round out the significant films of the weekend, in Fences and La La Land. One, a very personal drama, the other a lavish throw-back musical, each expanded on Christmas Weekend to about $6 million apiece. Box office being an important portion of Oscar voting, these crucial upcoming weekends will help establish bonafides for these two, and about $8 million each is in the cards.