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November 2015 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

November 5, 2015

I think that dinosaur just picked up a stray.

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5. The Peanuts Movie (November 6th)

The Peanuts Movie is technically the fifth in the series of big-screen Charles M. Schulz adaptations, and barring unforeseen terrors, it will most assuredly become the highest-grossing Snoopy movie ever made (the biggest of the previous four films, 1969's A Boy Named Charlie Brown, grossed roughly $12 million in that year's dollars; don't ask me to adjust it - it's probably something like three billion now).

Needless to say, The Peanuts Movie is that rare type of franchise reboot that would not raise the ire of long-time fans (Peanuts fans are just kinder people, I think). The film cost a lot of money. It has been much advertised, has received positive reviews, and opens on a weekend known for breaking out animated films to big numbers, but I can't help and express some reservations about its box office prospects, anyway. Snoopy and the gang are universally beloved, but are they that well-known to today's children? Is there a market hungry to see their relatively tame misadventures projected on the movie screen? Can they headline a big blockbuster film, and just how many older audiences will attend out of deeply-felt nostalgia? The Peanuts Movie will probably do pretty well with smaller children, but its appeal likely won't extend to older, more sophisticated young audiences seeking something resembling complex, high-tech, thrills, something this nice beagle doesn't promise them.

Opening weekend: $20 million / Total gross: $59 million

6. Victor Frankenstein (November 25th)

The month's token horror film has been slotted amongst the smorgasbord of Thanksgiving weekend, the better to scare the stuffing out of you (...). This latest re-telling of the Frankenstein tale is headlined by James McAvoy, still probably best known for X-Men, and here playing the title doctor, and Daniel Radcliffe, as the somewhat ambiguously hunchbacked assistant, Igor. Radcliffe has acclimated himself nicely since the end of yet another book series, Harry Potter (curiously, his one other big studio film since was another period horror, The Woman in Black; has he found his niche?). Victor Frankenstein, which seems purposefully light and wry in tone, was originally scheduled for early October, but switched seats with the same studio's The Martian, which itself had been slated for Thanksgiving. That scheduling decision has worked out very well for at least one of the two, and whether Victor Frankenstein also has some box office luck is hard to say. I'm not sure there's a lot of demand for another re-working of the Frankenstein tale (Aaron Eckhart's I, Frankenstein was released last year), but good reviews can lift it beyond its title, though maybe not much beyond.

Opening weekend: $14 million (5-day) / Total gross: $31 million




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7. Secret in Their Eyes (November 20th)

This mid-month thriller pairs '90s A-list stars Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman with the always-good Chiwetel Ejiofor, in a remake of a highly-acclaimed, Oscar-winning 2009 Chilean film of the same name (well, almost; that film title was preceded by a "The"). It's always nice to see Roberts and Kidman (she was quite good as the villain in Paddington earlier this year, really!), and Ejiofor's presence is usually a mark of quality. The film is helmed by Billy Ray, who's written many noted screenplays and directed two, Shattered Glass and Breach, both good.

Whether even all this talent can stand out in a market populated with pre-sold brand names is difficult to say, but November isn't nearly as full of high-caliber adult-themed pictures as October was. Still, as I write this, echoes of recent big-star dramas ignored at the box office - Sandra Bullock's Our Brand is Crisis and Bradley Cooper's Burnt, for starters, which were thoroughly ignored by audiences who could pay them no heed - run sharply through my mind. Good reviews will help boost this one. Pray that it gets them.

Opening weekend: $11 million / Total gross: $35 million


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