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Weekend Forecast for December 18-20, 2015

By Reagen Sulewski

December 17, 2015

I told you not to taunt the Empire!

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And now we get to the big reveal, if you've stayed with me this long and haven't started angrily penning a hate screed towards this site. While I fully expect massive numbers for this film, I also expect it to be a slightly more extended run, as the confluence of factors in its release keep it below the weekend record. With around $95 million on “opening day”, $46 million on Saturday, and $38 million on Sunday, it should come in with a $179 million three-day total – more than doubling the previous December record by the first Hobbit movie, but leaving it a little less than 15 per cent behind the record. A record is still possible, but I'm betting against it. Really, Disney could have easily assured a record weekend if they wanted it, but the smarter play is the longer view, and switching from the May release to December will likely pay off.

Expect a heavy emphasis on the international number, which could approach $500 million thanks to a wider simultaneous rollout than we've seen in the past, as well as heavy, heavy pushes into Asia as those markets grow, and which had been mostly untapped for previous theatrical releases. Of course this is all a drop in the bucket compared to merchandising, as BB-8s and the like fly off the shelf to the tune of what some are estimating at a cool $5 billion. Just this year. Go look at the second paragraph again and you'll see why this was such a great deal for Disney. There's a reason George Lucas owns a large portion of central California, and it ain't because he's such an awesome filmmaker. This weekend is pretty much an afterthought in comparison.




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And now, a couple of other movies that open this weekend and will make some money. The aforementioned Alvin sequel, this time called The Road Chip, sees the ever diminishing returns of this franchise reach new lows. With Dave (Jason Lee, probably desperately looking for some easily breakable morals clause in his contract) dating a new girlfriend with a thoroughly jackass kid and about to possibly propose to her, Alvin and company believe they're about to be tossed to the curb. Because getting rid of talking, singing, sentient rodents is a thing you would do. Anyway, it's off to the highway, and some PG-rated antics, paired with bowdlerized versions of pop songs played at 78 rpm. While the recent discovery that slowed down Chipmunk songs actually sound like brilliant pieces of sludge-rock was a bit of a revelation, this isn't anything quite so subversive. The opening weekend of the last unnecessary sequel dropped in half compared to the previous entry, and I wouldn't be shocked to see that, or even worse, with about $11 million.

With regards to Sisters, let me preface this paragraph with this information first – I think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the funniest people in Hollywood, with no qualifications on that statement. That said, Sisters looks like one of the least funny productions since, well, Baby Mama. Something about putting these two good friends together does not seem to reach the heights that it should, and this tale of two women returning to their childhood home for one last bash before it's sold hits so many anti-comedy buttons that you wonder if it's not a bit of a prank. When John Cena is the funniest part of your comedy trailer, you've got issues. While this perhaps has a chance to build over the holidays, I'm looking for a weak start of $10 million.

It's all going up against a slate of returning films that amount to not much this weekend, starting with The Hunger Games finale, which squeaked out a fourth straight win over In the Heart of the Sea. Obviously that's coming to a screeching halt, but should still be about $7 million this weekend, as will the Ron Howard whale movie. The Good Dinosaur and Creed should each grab about $6 million in the same period.


Forecast: Weekend of December 18-20, 2015
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 4,134 New 179.6
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip 3,653 New 11.4
3 Sisters 2,961 New 9.9
4 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 2,653 -998 7.3
5 In the Heart of the Sea 3,103 No change 7.0
6 The Good Dinosaur 2,755 -851 6.5
7 Creed 2,433 -1,069 6.3
8 Krampus 2,370 -549 4.3
9 The Night Before 1,235 -1,439 3.5
10 Spectre 1,225 -1,415 3.0

Continued:       1       2       3       4

     


 
 

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