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Weekend Forecast for December 20-22, 2013

By Reagen Sulewski

December 20, 2013

That's *not* Catwoman?

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That snark aside, Saving Mr. Banks does appear to be a well-positioned film for the holidays, with tons of star power and name recognition of its subject galore. It may be the next best thing to a Mary Poppins sequel (which you hope no one would be ridiculous enough to try). While not strictly speaking a family movie (it's rated PG-13, a rarity for a WD-branded film), it's family-themed and pitched as heartwarming, making it a solid consensus choice.

Box office wise, it has a decent analog in Finding Neverland, although that film had a much smaller initial release and came before Johnny Depp turned into “Johnny Depp!”. But $50 million domestic, ten years ago, for a fairly dry and maudlin tale about creating Peter Pan is pretty impressive. Saving Mr. Banks promises to be a bit more peppy than that. The ads have done a good job of selling this as a culture clash comedy, and the solid reviews certainly won't hurt. I'd look for a decent opening weekend of $16 million.

For the film actually aimed at families and/or kids, we go to Fox and Walking With Dinosaurs, a big screen version of the BBC series that portrayed animated narratives about the supposed behaviors of dinosaurs. Far from a nature documentary, it actually tries to build characters and uses juvenile jokes to make its points. While tremendous work has gone into making the film look photo-realistic, it's all in service of a pop-culture heavy script that panders heavily. Adults are likely to find this interminable, and even dinosaur fanatics are likely to be disappointed. This might perform as well as some of the Disney nature documentaries, but that's probably an ceiling value. I'd give it about $6 million this weekend.

Anchorman 2 will be competing with The Hobbit Part 2 for top spot, though it ought to be an easy win for Ferrell and company, looking at how the last film in this series performed. The Desolation of Smaug opened to $74 million, about $10 million less than An Unexpected Journey, which itself fell by more than half in its second weekend. While I don't worry about Peter Jackson's financials just yet, if this pattern holds, this is likely to be the first film in his Tolkien universe that grosses under $300 million. This should earn about $33 million this weekend.




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Frozen may start to show some holiday-like behavior as soon as this weekend, as kids get out of school and parents look for something to occupy them with. It's already shown solid legs by earning $170 million over three weeks in wide release. The $200 million of Tangled will easily be surpassed by the end of Christmas week, maybe even Christmas Day, and at that point we're arguing about $250 versus $275. I'd expect about $18 million this weekend.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas wasn't quite the equal of the rest of the other Madea movies, though perhaps it's a case of people waiting for the week itself to see it. I wouldn't be shocked to see a big spike on December 25th for this, but for now it's looking to be one of the weaker earners of the series. This weekend should see about $8 million for the film.

Catching Fire is continuing its quest for 400, which is likely to remain touch and go until the end. It's running essentially even with The Hunger Games at similar points in its run, but with higher drop-offs and a lower comparable weekend. And yet: Christmas. I'd give it $7 million this weekend, enough to be significant during Christmas week.


Forecast: Weekend of December 20-22, 2013
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues 3,507 New 41.3
2 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3,928 +25 33.6
3 American Hustle 2,507 +2,501 23.9
4 Frozen 3,540 -176 18.0
5 Saving Mr. Banks 2,110 +2,095 16.2
6 Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas 2,194 0 8.5
7 Walking With Dinosaurs 3,231 New 7.4
8 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2,949 -614 6.9
9 Thor: The Dark World 1,116 -1,148 1.5
10 Philomena 738 -97 1.5

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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